Animals are affected by disasters just as we are.  If you have pets or livestock, you should be prepared to take care of them in an emergency.  Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are prepared.


Photo courtesy of MCEM photo library.

Get a Kit

Your pets need food, water and shelter during an emergency just as you do.  When planning for your  emergency or evacuation kit, include the following:

  • Food and water for 3 to 7 days 
  • Litter and disposable litter trays
  • Extra medications
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Feeding dishes
  • Extra harness and leash
  • Portable pet carrier or kennel
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Toys
  • Shampoo and other pet toiletries

Make a Plan

You may need to evacuate during an emergency and you should plan to take your pets with you.  Include the following in your emergency plan for your pets:

  • List of and contact information for friends, family, or animal care providers who may be able to take your pets if you have to evacuate
  • List of and contact information for pet friendly hotels outside of your evacuation area
  • Veterinary records
  • Recent photos and descriptions of your pets
  • Microchip information

If You Have to Leave Your Pet Behind

Some emergencies may not allow you to take your pets with you.  Here are some tips to help your pets if you have to leave them behind:

  • Leave pets in a secure area inside your home with adequate space to move around
  • Leave at least a 10 day supply of dry food and multiple containers of water
  • Put signs in your doors and windows that tell emergency responders the type and number of animals inside, the date you evacuated, and your contact information.

Photo courtesy of MCEM photo library.

Being prepared for a disaster can lessen the impacts for you and your livestock.  Learn what disaster risks are prominent in your area and make plans for what you will do when disaster does strike.  

Get a Kit

An emergency kit for livestock can greatly reduce the stress of evacuation or responding to your livestock during and after an emergency.  Here are some items to include:

  • Tack, ropes and halters
  • Concentrated feed, hay, supplements and medicines
  • Copies of ownership papers
  • Buckets or feed nets
  • Garden hose
  • Blankets or tarps
  • Lights, portable radio and spare batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Livestock first aid supplies.

Additional Recommendations for Livestock

  • Organize with neighbors and other local livestock owners about a plan for evacuations and temporary livestock care
  • Make sure you can prove ownership of your livestock 
  • Practice loading and moving your animals so both you and your animals become familiar with the effort
  • Keep quite and calm when handling animals during and after a disaster

Whether dealing with pets or livestock in an emergency, keep in mind that your personal safety and the safety of your family should come foremost.  If you are safe, you can do more to benefit animals.  If you are at risk, so is their welfare and health.  Follow official instructions on shelter-in-place, evacuation, and access and safety when reentering a disaster area.

Here are some more resources for pets and livestock:
Photo courtesy of the FEMA photo library.

ASPCA Disaster Preparedness

Ready.Gov Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense

Emergency Management Institute - IS-10.a Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness Course

AVMA Disaster Preparedness for Veterinarians

Multnomah County Animal Services