Emergency Preparedness for Dog and Cat Parents 

Find out how planning ahead for emergency scenarios can save your dog or cat’s life 

Emergency preparedness, including an evacuation plan, can help ensure your dog or cat stays safe in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise. Emergencies can strike at any time, and being prepared makes all the difference when it comes to the well-being and survival of your four-legged family member.

Hurricanes: A Unique Challenge

Hurricanes present a unique set of challenges for dog and cat parents, as the combination of high winds, heavy rain, and potential flooding can pose significant threats to both you and your animal. When a hurricane is forecast, it’s crucial to closely monitor weather advisories and heed any evacuation orders promptly. Be prepared to take your dog or cat to an animal-friendly shelter, or the home of a trusted friend or family member outside the affected area.

Anticipate the Unexpected

Emergencies can take many forms, from severe weather events and natural disasters to man-made crises. By carefully considering the potential risks in your local area, and creating a comprehensive emergency plan, you can ensure your animal companion’s safety and minimize the stress and chaos that often accompanies such situations.

Build a Disaster Kit

The foundation of any effective emergency plan is a well-stocked disaster kit. It should include essential items such as food, water, medication, first aid supplies, identification documents, and any other necessities your dog or cat may require. Keeping this kit easily accessible, and regularly updating it, can save precious time when seconds count.

Establish an Evacuation Route

In the event of an emergency, having a clear evacuation plan in place can be lifesaving. Identify multiple safe routes, including alternative options in case your primary route is compromised. Practice these evacuation drills with your dog or cat, ensuring they are comfortable with the process and that you can efficiently transport them to a secure location.

Identify Safe Havens

As part of your emergency plan, research and identify animal-friendly hotels, kennels or shelters in your region and beyond. This will ensure you have pre-vetted options available should you need to evacuate with your dog or cat. In addition, consider registering your dog or cat with a national database to increase your chances of being reunited in the event of separation.

Maintain Identification and Medical Records

Proper identification and up-to-date medical records are essential for your animal’s safety during an emergency. Ensure their ID info is current, and keep a copy of their vaccination records and any other important medical information in your disaster kit. This will facilitate a seamless reunion with your dog or cat, and provide critical information to emergency responders or caregivers.

By embracing emergency preparedness and creating a comprehensive evacuation plan for your animal companion, you are taking a proactive step to safeguarding their well-being and ensuring their safety in the face of unpredictable circumstances. 


Animal Wellness is North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.

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