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Pet Disasters: Are you ready?

Nature has fury days: Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, blizzards, terrorism… Devastating natural and man-made disasters can ravage our lives. No one is exempt from the possibility of being affected personally. You need to prepare for yourself and for your animals in case of disaster.

Many times, people don’t plan for what to do with their pets and other animals during emergencies and disasters. In most cases, health regulations prohibit having animals in shelters, so when a family must relocate from their home temporarily during a flood, for example, they cannot stay in a public shelter with their pet. For more detailed information, download and print the GSKC Pet Disaster Preparedness Informational Booklet here.

For small animals, maintain an emergency travel kit that includes:

  • Carrying cage or crate
  • A minimum of 5 days of food and water
  • medical supplies
  • health papers, especially vaccination information
  • permanent identification
  • muzzle and leash

For large animals:

  • Large animals should be turned loose in open areas where they have access to a minimum of 7 days of food and water
  • Owners should make prior evacuation arrangements, especially if they live in a flood zone, and should activate those plans at the first warning of an impending disaster
  • Owners should properly and permanently identify animals in case of an escape or transportation accident.
  • Do not release large animals to roam freely or leave them inside a small enclosure. Both of these situations significantly increase the likelihood of serious injury or death to the animal.

Use the links below to learn more about dealing with your pets and other animals during disasters.


Organization Website
The American Kennel Club http://www.akc.org/news/disaster_preparedness/
American Veterinary Medical Association http://avma.org/disaster/default.asp
Pets Welcome www.petswelcome.com
Pets on the Go www.petsonthego.com
FEMA Training Courses – Animals in Disaster – A & B www.fema.gov/emi/ishome.htm
American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_604_,00.html
United Animal Nations http://www.uan.org
List for dogs: http://www.uan.org/index.cfm?navId=41
Tennessee Emergency Management Agencys http://www.tnema.org/EP/Pet-Tips.htm