Hurricane Ian: Preparing for evacuation and keeping pets safe and healthy when returning home

For more information Phone: 847-285-6687 Cell: 847-732-6194
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(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) September 27, 2022—Millions of people in Florida are under evacuation orders today as Hurricane Ian bears down on the U.S. mainland, and many of them will be evacuating with their pets.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has disaster preparedness and recovery resources available for pet owners, including tips on assembling a pet evacuation kit, what to do if your pet is lost, and what to do after a disaster. 

Pet evacuation kits

The AVMA advises pet owners include the following in their pet evacuation kits:

  • Food and medicine
    • 3-7 days' worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
    • Two-week supply of medicine*
    • At least 7 days' supply of water
    • Feeding dish and water bowl
    • Liquid dish soap
  • First aid kit
    • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Bandage tape and scissors
    • Cotton bandage rolls
    • Flea and tick prevention (if needed in your area)
    • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
    • Latex gloves
    • Saline solution
    • Towel and washcloth
    • Tweezers
  • Sanitation
    • Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
    • Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
    • Household chlorine beach or disinfectant
  • Important documents
  • Travel supplies
    • Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
    • Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
    • Flashlight, extra batteries
    • Muzzle
  • Comfort items
    • Favorite toys and treats
    • Extra blanket or familiar bedding
Keep pets safe when returning home

After the storm passes and people prepare to return to their homes, the AVMA encourages pet owners to take steps to ensure the health and well-being of their pets, in what could be potentially dangerous or stressful environments.

When returning home with pets following a disaster, the AVMA recommends the following:

  • Survey the area inside and outside your home to identify sharp objects, dangerous materials, dangerous wildlife, contaminated water, downed power lines or other hazards.
  • Do not allow pets to roam free outdoors until the area is safe for them to do so. They could encounter dangerous wildlife and debris if allowed outside unsupervised and unrestrained. In addition, familiar scents and landmarks may have changed, and this can confuse your pets.
  • Allow uninterrupted rest and sleep to give your pets time to recover from the trauma and stress of the evacuation and disaster.
  • The disruption of routine activities can be the biggest cause of stress for your pets, so try to re-establish a normal schedule as quickly as you can.
  • Comfort each other. The simple act of petting and snuggling can reduce anxiety for both people and pets.
  • If you notice any signs of stress, discomfort, or illness in your pets, contact your veterinarian to schedule a checkup.

For more information on pets and disasters, visit the AVMA website at

To speak with an AVMA expert about keeping pets safe and healthy before, during, and after a disaster, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text) or msanfilippoatavma [dot] org (msanfilippo[at]avma[dot]org).

About the AVMA

Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.