September is Emergency Preparedness Month – Plan Ahead for Pets

LOS ANGELES – Emergencies can happen at any time. This is why pet owners should be as prepared as possible for a potential evacuation or shelter-in-place situation that could last for hours, days, weeks, or even longer.

Knowing the hazards most likely to affect your community is a good start. “What you do in response to a tornado will likely be different from what you would do for a wildfire. So plan accordingly for each scenario,” said Sharon Hawa, senior emergency services manager at Best Friends. Animal Society.

To help you prepare, ask yourself these important questions to help you plan accordingly:

● Where would you go?

● What should you bring?

● Would you be able to find and secure your pets immediately?

● Where could you take your pet(s)?

● Does your pet have up-to-date identification (ID tag, microchip) in case you become separated?

To start, Best Friends Animal Society offers several suggestions to prepare you and your pets for natural disasters.

Reinforce training

● Now would be a good time to get your pet used to a carrier, crate and/or leash and collar, if they haven’t already.

● Consider taking a pet first aid course and/or a pet CPR course from local agencies to ensure you can meet your pet’s potential medical needs as much as possible, as veterinary care may not be easily accessible in a crisis.


Pet owners should prepare a bag of basic supplies if you need to evacuate immediately. It should include the following:

● A 3-5 day supply of wet and/or dry food (and water, if possible)

● Your pet’s toys and/or treats

● An additional supply of necessary medications (as veterinary care may not be readily available in a crisis)

● A list of your pet’s medical needs, medications taken, including dosage/frequency, and veterinarian contact details

● Copies of current vaccination cards

● A collar with a current ID tag or microchip that includes your cell phone

● A crate labeled with your pet’s name and contact information (use tape and permanent marker)

● Consider placing your well-worn sweater or sweatshirt inside the crate so your pet travels more comfortably inside, surrounded by a familiar scent around him.

● Extra poo bags

● For cats, a small bag of litter and a litter box

● Blanket and towels

● Bowl, can opener and spoon

Create a first aid kit

If an injury or illness occurs during an emergency, it is especially important to be prepared as a veterinarian may not be as readily available. Items in a first aid kit should include:

● Pet First Aid Book

● Emergency contact list (including numbers for your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, and national poison helpline.)

● Prescription medications for pets

● Coban self-adhesive packaging

● Kerlex gauze roll

● Sterile gauze pads (various sizes)

● Abdominal pads (ABD)

● Ace bandage wraps

● Antiseptic pads or alcohol wipes

● Antibacterial cream or ointment

● Instant cold compresses

● Emergency coverage

● Tweezers

● Dull scissors

● Examination gloves

● Styptic blood clotting powder

● 10ml. sterile saline syringes

● Cotton balls/cotton swabs

● 3% hydrogen peroxide

● Headlamp or flashlight

● Collapsible water bowl

● muzzle

● Strap for carrying medium or large dogs

Identify potential caregivers or onboarding options

● Identify a few designated pet sitters if you are displaced by a disaster and unable to retrieve your pets.

● Create a list of your pet(s) daily routine and any special needs, as well as the location of their emergency supplies. Print hard copies and send a digital copy to each designated caregiver.

Find pet-friendly accommodations and create a list of several options within a 5-50 mile radius.

● Another option for relocated animals is boarding. (Your approved boarding information should also be provided to your designated caregiver, in case they are unable to board your pet for any reason).

Take photos

● Take a photo of your pet, as well as a photo of you with your pet to keep on your phone in case you get separated from each other.

● Also consider printing a few photos in case your phone is unavailable, loses power, or access to social platforms is not possible. This will help ensure identification and a successful reunion in the event your pet goes missing.

Best Friends offers a free interactive module to help you create your family’s emergency preparedness plan. To get started, visit

Submitted by Best Friends Animal Society.