Taking Care of Pets During a Disaster

Make sure your hurricane disaster plan includes family pets. Read how to take care of your cats and dogs during severe weather.

Have a Disaster Plan 

  • Plan in advance where you will go and how you will get there. 
  • Map out your primary route and a backup route in case roads are blocked or impassable. 
  • Research and identify pet-friendly shelters in advance. Many emergency shelters do not accept household pets for public health reasons. Your county's Emergency Management Web page will provide you with a list of shelters and, in most cases, will identify shelters that accept pets. 
  • Talk to your vet, the humane society or the local emergency management agency for information regarding community evacuation plans that include pets. 
  • Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and newspapers or trash bags for clean-up. 
  • Make advance arrangements to have a friend or neighbor pick up your pets if you are not at home when a disaster strikes. Plan where you will meet or how you will reach each other. 

Returning Home After The Storm

  • Once you return home, do not allow your pets to roam loose right away. While you assess the damage, keep dogs on a leash and other animals in their carriers. 
  • Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet may become disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations, so give them time to get used to their surroundings. 
  • After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.