Pet Preparedness: Making a Disaster Plan for your Pets

chihuahua-624924_1920Do you have a plan for your furry, four-legged friend?
This is one area that is often over-looked in families’ disaster plans…

And unfortunately, humans are not the only species to be impacted by disasters, as was seen in the 2011 tsunami when many pet owners had to tragically leave their beloved pets behind (Japan Times article).


Here is a useful list of things to prepare, along with your emergency kit, to make sure that you can look after your pet even in dire circumstances.

Pet Emergency Kit

  • Pet first aid kit (Large and small bandages, Scissors, Tweezers, Antibiotic Ointment, etc.)
  • Food (3 days’ worth or more)
  • Water (3 days’ worth or more)
  • Disinfectant
  • Your veterinarian’s information (phone number, address, etc.)
  • Bowls
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra collar
  • Extra leash
  • Medical records (including vaccination records)
  • Two-week supply of medications
  • A crate or sturdy carrier
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Recent photo of you and your pet together (to help prove ownership in case of separation)
  • Toys and bones
  • Disposable litter trays
  • Litter or paper towels
  • Disposable bags for clean-up
  • Newspapers
*Make sure your pet is registered, and has up-to-date ID tags.

Pet Evacuation

Once you prepare your kit, think about where you would take your pet in the event of a major disaster.
Remember: Not all evacuation centers (hinanjo) accept pets. Some places have restrictions, citing concerns about allergies, hygiene, sanitation, etc.
This happened in the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016, when evacuees shyed away from and were even barred from entering evacuation centers with their pets (Japan Times article).

So – do you have a back-up plan in case you cannot keep your pet with you at the evacuation center?

Have you identified one, two, or even three safe spaces to keep your pets in the event of a disaster?

If you have any questions or concerns, I would recommend speaking with someone from your local government office, as they would likely have the most up-to-date information relevant to your area.

Other Resources

For more information about pet emergency preparedness:
Red Cross – Pet Safety (pdf)
Ready.Gov – Pets (pdf)
Seattle Government Website – Pet Preparedness (pdf)
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