Pets and disasters

Two men sit on a gym floor with their dogs in a disaster evacuation situation

Disasters can vary widely in scale, severity, and impact. No matter where you live, disasters and emergencies can and will occur. By being prepared with a disaster plan, you are helping advance your safety, the safety of your animals, and that of first responders.
Being prepared means:

  • Making a disaster plan for your family and pets
  • Preparing everything you need to execute that plan—such as putting together an evacuation kit for every member of your household (including all pets)
  • Staying informed about local animal disaster plans

Preparing for disaster

Considerations when making your disaster plan:
  • Locate and pre-arrange an evacuation site that would be outside the impacted area.
  • Know how you plan to transport your pets during an evacuation event, and practice evacuating with all pets and their supplies.
  • Assemble an animal evacuation kit. Keep animal equipment where rescue personnel, neighbors, and friends can easily find it.
  • Collect records to help care for your pet during a disaster, such as vaccination records, medical records, and proof of ownership, and know how to access them.
  • Consider including a signed veterinary medical treatment authorization with your evacuation kit. This will help your veterinarian provide care if your pet must be treated during your absence.
  • Designate a friend or neighbor to care for your pets in the event a disaster occurs when you are not at home.
  • Provide your friend or neighbor a letter signed by you that will release them from responsibility if a pet is injured during an evacuation and that tells them the location of your evacuation kit.
  • Be ready to reunite in case you are separated from your pet. Ensure your pet has proper identification and that microchip and other ID information is up to date.

Remember: Bring all pets indoors at the first sign of a potential disaster situation so all pets are accounted for if you need to evacuate.

Find all these tips and more in AVMA's Save the Whole Family disaster preparedness guide (also in Spanish: Salvar a Toda la Familia).

Save the whole family

Make your plan

Get the full disaster preparedness guide for households with pets: Save the Whole Family.


Also in Spanish: Salvar a Toda la Familia