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How to Keep Your Furry Friends Safe in an Emergency



Author: McKenzie Parrott.


Approximately 44% of American households have dogs and 35% have cats according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Our pets love us so much and we love them right back with all that we are … This February, I think it’s appropriate to talk about that special connection many of us have with our furry – or maybe some of them not so furry – friends and how to give them a special kind of love by keeping them safe in emergency situations.


Emergencies come in many forms, shapes, and sizes and may require a brief absence from your home or even a permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster entails different measures for keeping your family, including your pets, safe. Many people question, what would happen to their furry friend(s) if a disaster did strike. In 2006 the PETS Act made it mandatory for Local and State government disaster plans to include plans for pets within emergency procedures. Making pets a part of disaster plans is a start but preparing beforehand and independently will leave you and your pets in a better more resilient situation.


Before an emergency strikes, there are multiple steps you can take to ensure that your pet will be safer in an emergency. Initiate by preparing an Emergency Kit. Make sure that this kit is readily available and includes but is not limited to the following items specific to your pet’s needs:


  • 3 days minimum food and water supply (think about utilizing wet food so your companion requires less water)
  • Medicines, medical records (vaccinations) and first aid kit
  • Collar with updated tags and leash
  • Crate or pet carrier
  • A recent picture of your pet


(More on Emergency Kits can be found here-


As you are preparing your emergency pet kit, make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date as well as their tags and microchips. After you have prepared your emergency kit it’s equally as essential to create an emergency plan. You never want to leave your pet behind in an emergency — there is no way to ensure their security. Find a friend, neighbor or pet sitter who can get to your pet if you cannot. As your organizing, make sure that if required to evacuate, your destination is pet-friendly, even consider a friend’s or relative’s home out of the evacuation areas.


During an emergency immediately bring your pet inside and create a haven so stress is to a minimum. Have your emergency kit organized and contacts readily available. If the government advises you to leave your pet behind, in this discouraging and terrifying situation make sure to purchase a rescue alert sticker. This sticker can be placed on your front window to alert rescue staff that there is an animal inside. This marker should include information for the rescuers detailing the number and type of pets you have and the name and number of your veterinarian. Make sure before you get safely out the door that you leave adequate amounts of food and water. A ten-day supply is recommended for your companion in this situation.


Being stuck amid a disaster is very traumatic, accounting for your pet can also cause additional worry. Formulating a plan before disaster strikes is key to survival for you and your companions. Many people caught in a disaster would risk their own life(s) to stay with their pets, having emergency plans and kits in place can make these kinds of situations safer and far less overwhelming. Make sure to keep ASPCA information on hand before and during a disaster. ASPCA can help you access critical advice, build emergency kits, create a lost pet digital flyer and will keep you up to date with news about pet and animal welfare. Please feel free to reach out to me at for more information on preparedness for your family including your furry friends.


I encourage you to download our “Key to Recovery” guide to prepare for, mitigate against, respond to and recover from any disaster. Pets are included in over 100 million Americans homes, preparedness is a simple and smart step in safeguarding your family and your pets.