Evacuation and Preparedness Planning for Your Pet
Dog with luggage and pet carrier

During severe weather events, which may strike without warning, the best way to prepare and protect your furry loved ones and animals is to create a plan and stay informed of current and predicted weather conditions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control explains, “Leaving your pets out of your evacuation plans can put pets, pet owners, and first responders in danger. Even if you try to create a safe place for them, pets left behind during a disaster are likely to be injured, lost, or worse.”  That’s why it’s critical to have an evacuation plan, prepared emergency kits, and a network of friends, relatives, and resources available. Speak to your trusted veterinarian about your plan, local resources and discuss having your pet microchipped. Always be sure that your pets and large animals have some form of identification in case you are separated during a natural catastrophe.  

How to Prepare Your Emergency Pet Kit

Create a kit that can be used if you need to shelter in place and create one that is portable in the event of an evacuation. Customize your emergency kit for any special pet needs but start with the basics for survival. It is ideal to have up to 2 weeks of supplies on hand. In addition to food and water, you’ll also want to include special medications, litter boxes or plastic bags, a sturdy leash or harness, pet carriers, medical records and familiar toys and treats to reduce stress.

Be sure to have microchip numbers handy and contact information for you, as the owner, and close relatives or friends that can easily care for your pet in an emergency. Having contact numbers for local government resources is also important.

You can locate a wealth of resources online to locate and connect with shelters and hotels in your area that are pet friendly. During an emergency you can also access online pet-finding resources if you need assistance.

If you are not sure where to start, the CDC has a comprehensive Pet Disaster Checklist.

While having a customized kit can help to reduce stress for your pet, you can easily begin with a kit created by pet specialists. Pet care and supply companies offer evacuation kits designed for cats and dogs of all sizes. These kits include supplies that can be used for up to 72 hours.

Protecting Farm and Ranch Animals

When you have larger animals like horses, goats, or pigs, preparing in advance is even more critical to the survival and safety of your animals. In the event of a severe weather event bring your animals inside. Set up a secure barn or stable with adequate supplies if you need to shelter in place.

In the event of an evacuation, you will want to evacuate your animals early. Identify and locate a large evacuation destination.  Map out primary and secondary routes in advance and identify experienced animal handlers and trainers that can be available prior to and during a severe weather event. Ready large vehicles and trailers needed to support and transport your animals. Your destination should have a supply of food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment available.

Having a disaster plan in place is a critical step in preparing for the unexpected and ensuring the safety of your furry friends.

Nicole DiPetrillo is Vice President, Client Service Leader, Chubb Personal Risk Services.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.