Helping Pets Before, During, and After Emergencies or Disasters


RedCrossAppsarc pet first aid app


It is a disturbing thought that we may some day be faced with an emergency or disaster so preparedness will help alleviate some of the stress, panic, and anxiety. Humans have options and resources in an emergency but our pets have to rely entirely on us to help them. Even if you have emergency plans for you and your family, consider a few other issues when helping your pets.

There are 2 possible disaster scenarios- the one that affects only you and your home/area such as floods, fires, power outages, etc…and the wide- spread community disasters due to wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc…. Both require planning with some considerations.
If the disaster is close to home, you will need someplace to go if you cannot stay in your home. NEVER leave your pet alone even if you have left food and water out since there is no way to know for sure if you will be able to return home in a day or two. Katrina was a sad example of what can happen to our pets when we cannot get back into our homes right away. You cannot know what may happen to the house structurally or if other animals or predators will be able to find their way in.

Contact sources now to see if pets can be boarded or kenneled in an emergency- do not just assume that your veterinarian, the humane society, or boarding facilities will be able to help since they are generally already to capacity without any emergencies to deal with. They may not have room or may not have a fully functioning facility. Think instead about friends, neighbors, family, or pet- friendly hotels. Get this contact information in to your phone AND in your emergency evacuation kit. Look for sources outside of your immediate area in case the disaster is more wide- spread.

There are lots of sites out there for advice on what to put into your pet’s emergency evacuation kit: try ASPCA, HSUS,,, etc…. The supplies you will need will vary based on your pet but in a nutshell, you will need everything your pet uses on a daily basis but remember to include:

A Pet First Aid Kit, Pet’s medications, copy of important veterinary records, your pet’s favorite blanket and toy, a muzzle, a recent photo of your pet showing any unique markings and try to get one with you in it as well in case proof of ownership is in question, your microchip company’s contact information, your pet insurance policy number, etc…. Store all of this in a plastic bin near leashes, collars, and carriers so that everything is in one spot. Don’t forget provisions for your pet’s waste. Create a “pet corner” in your coat closet for example- an emergency is no time to be running around trying to gather everything up!

Some medications like insulin need to be refrigerated so invest in a small thermal container and some ice packs.

The American Red Cross has a Pet First Aid app available that you can download to your phone for 99 cents and is very helpful. They also provide several free apps for a variety of emergence and disaster preparedness so be sure to download these too!

If you must leave your area due to a wide- spread disaster, you should always take your pets with you. The Pet Evacuations and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 required that states seeking federal assistance (FEMA) include emergency provisions for companion and service animals. Each state will have different provision so find out now what your state has in place. In Ohio, the Red Cross plans on creating temporary shelter housing for pets adjacent to the human shelters and will have these shelters manned by animal care professional such as veterinarians, organizations such as United Animal Nation, and trained volunteers. Be sure to watch and listen to news broadcasts about the instructions for your area.

This is one of those things that all of us know we should do but just never seem to get around to doing it- please, do this: set aside 2 or 3 hours and pull all of your necessities together. None of this preparation is difficult and it will alleviate so much of the stress and panic if the time ever comes that you must evacuate. I hope you never need it. Keep it in a convenient location and be sure to check regularly for any expired items. Make sure to let me know when yours is done so we can continue to motivate everyone to make a plan, make a kit, and get informed!!

About DogBlogCatChat

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It has taken me a long time to start blogging. Not because I have trouble coming up with things to say, but because the internet is simply inundated with information about animals. I know because I have spent years researching and learning about animals and I can tell you, it is mind boggling.

I will even concede that there is an awful lot of really, really good information out there already if you know how to find it in all the mess. I actually love digging through all of the websites, articles, videos, and blogs and finding new information. The problem is, that it take time- a lot of time, not to mention patience and not many other share my love of digging and researching so I am hoping to parse out some good stuff for you and to share it.

I am not the end- all expert on animals. I am, however, one of those people that has taken much time and care to learn the most accurate and helpful information about them through academic study, independent research, seminars, trainings, and direct animal care. I am a licensed veterinary technician as well as a licensed training provider in pet first aid through the American Red Cross. I have been working with, learning about, and taking care of animals for the past 10 years and currently have my own pet care and training business. I have come to know so much about animals that I frequently find myself saying “I wish I knew this back then!”. I hope the readers can benefit from what I share but since I love researching I am also happy to go find some information if there seems to be a need for it.

My efforts here are simple- to share with like -minded animal lovers and pet owners all of the information I have been able to learn in  a straight forward and easy to digest forum. I like to keep it simple and easy to understand. People search out these types of resources because they are looking for information and want to learn. I am hopeful that I will be able to provide some help here but I also love hearing others weigh in on issues so this seems to be a good platform to jump off from. I hope you will join me:-)