Preparing pets for severe weather and emergencies

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

It’s important to prepare pets for emergencies such as severe weather and other disasters.


Always make sure your pet’s identification tags are up to date. If you have a designated evacuation site, the Department of Homeland Security suggests including a tag with that address as well. Also, keep a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

Read more: Tips for dealing with storm-induced dog anxiety

Pets should also have their own emergency kit. The kit should include food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter and a litter pan, a can opener, food dishes and a first aid kit.

Be sure to know which hotels and motels in your area allow animals. Also, have a leash and harness or carrier that you can use if you need to evacuate your home.

It’s important to know what pet boarding facilities are in your area in case you can’t return home immediately and must board your animal.

Consider designating a friend or family member who can care for your pet for a while you are unable.

During an emergency at home 

When you are home during an emergency, keep your pet indoors with newspapers if they need to go to the bathroom. Also, feed them wet food so they will need to drink less water.

Cats and dogs should be separated because anxiety from severe weather can cause the animals to act irrationally, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Evacuating your home

If you must leave your home, the Department of Homeland Security said that your pets should not be left behind.

If there are no other options, however, leave the pet loose in the home. Make sure there is plenty of food and water. Also, take the lid off the toilet tank so the animal will have more water if necessary.

Additionally, leave a notice outside the home that says what pets are in the home, where they are located, your contact information and your veterinarian’s contact information.

If you are taking birds with you, be sure the cage is covered with a thin sheet that allows filtered light in. You should also speak with your veterinarian or pet store about food dispensers that regulate how much food a bird gets.

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