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Pet Preparedness

June is Pet Preparedness Month for the United States
Pet Preparedness text with photos of dogs and a cat in background

Disasters impact every household member, including pets. The Indiana Board of Animal Health reports that about 5 percent of people don’t evacuate during disasters because they cannot leave with their pets. Whether taking pets along during an evacuation or choosing to leave them at home, have a disaster kit tailored for pets to help keep everyone safe in an emergency.

Pet Preparedness Tips

  • Before a Disaster
    Dog collar with ID tags
    • Confirm potential evacuation locations that allow animals.
    • Maintain reliable identification and current photos on each pet.
    • Practice the evacuation plan with each pet for a better understanding of how they will react.
    • Create a disaster kit with pet supplies.
  • Evacuating With a Pet
    Cat looking out grate of a cat carrying case

    During times of a disaster, it may or may not be possible to evacuate with a pet. If evacuating with a pet is possible, follow these steps to be prepared:

    • If possible, evacuate pets early.
    • Call ahead to make a reservation at the chosen evacuation spot.
    • Keep areas clean and sterilized to prevent the potential spread of illness.
    • Keep pets separated from unknown animals and people to prevent stress-related aggression.
  • Keeping Pets Safe at Home
    Self-feeding pet food and water dishes

    When evacuating with a pet is not possible, follow these steps to keep animals safer when they must stay behind:

    • Create a buddy system and ask neighbors to check on the animals.
    • Do not leave vitamin treats, which can be fatal if overeaten.
    • In case of a lost pet, contact the area kennels, boarding shelters, humane shelters and veterinary hospitals.
    • Leave animals in rooms without windows.
    • Leave enough dry food and fresh water to last at least three days.
    • Maintain reliable identification on each pet.
    • Never leave animals outdoors where they are vulnerable to the weather and can escape.
  • Disaster Kit Items
    Dog food, poop bags, water dish, leash

    Family disaster kits should contain items for pets, or a kit should be made specifically for them. Here are a few items to include in either kit:

    • Bedding
    • Cat litter and litter pan
    • Cleaning supplies for accidents (paper towels, disinfectant)
    • Collar, leash and harness
    • Current photos
    • Dry food and water for at least three days
    • Food and water bowls
    • List of veterinarian clinic, veterinary hospitals and kennel phone numbers
    • Medications, including flea/tick and heartworm preventatives
    • Pet carrier
    • Plastic bags for waste
    • Vaccination records

Resources

Disaster Preparedness Overview (Indiana State Board of Animal Health)
Pet Safety in Emergencies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Pets and Animals (Ready.gov)