How to Keep Your Pets Safe in an Outbreak: Disaster Preparedness


This is the question that many pet owners are asking themselves these days. As public health officials continue to monitor the spread of the H7N9 bird flu virus, pet owners across China are taking precautions to protect their animals from infection. For those who live in countries outside of Asia, it’s important for them to think about how they can prepare for an outbreak as well. This blog post will give you some tips on what you can do now so that your pets feel comfortable and happy during an outbreak or disaster situation!

Pet Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

Disasters can strike without warning. What should you do if your area needs to be evacuated? Leave behind or stay with your pet, and there’s a chance that first responders won’t be able to take it away for evacuation when they come to rescue you. In 2005 over 44% of people who refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina did so because their pets were going too!

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused a large-scale evacuation of New Orleans. This left many people’s pets behind in the midst of their homes being flooded with water and some animal welfare groups estimate that more than 104,000 animals were abandoned as evacuees fled to safety.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe in an Emergency?

It’s important to think about how you and your pets might fare during a disaster. You can make sure that everyone is safe by having emergency supplies, being prepared for an evacuation plan – including shelter and food – as well as reducing the burden on first responders who have limited resources in times of need.

Create a pet emergency kit with necessary supplies

  • Blanket for cold weather or warmth in case of fire
  • Extra water and food (this is especially important during the winter months)
  • Toys to keep your pet occupied
  • Medications, including flea repellent, heartworm prevention medication, etc.
  • Bedding and a carrier/crate if you have room for them in your emergency kit
  • Collar with ID tag attached so that someone can identify your animal should it get lost or separated from its home area. Name of pet’s owner; phone number where they can be contacted at all times; address where the animal lives; doctor’s contact information in case there are any medical issues.

It’s important to take precautions now so that your friends, family members and household pets are safe during the next disaster or outbreak. For more information on how you can do this, please contact us! We’re always happy to help get you prepared for any occasion.

Make sure your pets have identification tags and microchips

A lot of people think that this is just for their cats and dogs, but it’s important to remember your small animals as well! You want to get identification tags or microchips on them so you know who they are if there is a disaster. And don’t forget about the importance of wearing ID at all times too!

Emergency Housing for a Pet

People often ask what to do in the event that they might have to go into emergency housing. It’s important for you to plan ahead and think about how your pet will be cared for too! Here are some tips on how you can keep them happy, healthy, and safe during this time:

  • Talk with family or friends about taking care of your pets if you have a disaster
  • Make sure someone has access to where the animal is staying so they can feed it regularly (this may not always happen at hotels)
  • If possible, take along food and bedding from home
  • Keep an eye out for any safety hazards while looking around – nails sticking up off the flooring, loose wires hanging down etc.
  • Bring a leash and harness, along with an ID tag for your pet so that it can’t get lost if you have to evacuate.

Practice Evacuating Your Pets

It’s important for you to know how your pet will react in an emergency situation. Practice evacuating with them so that they are comfortable and used to the process before it is needed!

  • Get a few plastic containers or boxes
  • Fill one up halfway with water, then dump the rest out into another container
  • Put your animal inside of this box first thing when you get home from work each day.
  • Make sure they have food and drinkable water available throughout the whole practice session as well
  • After waiting at least 20 minutes inside of their temporary housing, take them outside and watch how they act. If there are any signs of stress (such as pacing back and forth), go ahead and bring them back indoors and try again the next day.

What to Do During an Emergency or Disaster

If you need to evacuate your home, make sure that the pet is wearing identification tags or a microchip. It’s also important for them to have an emergency kit with items like food and water so they can be comfortable during this time as well. If possible, bring along bedding from their own house too!

  • Stock up on supplies now in case of disaster:
  • Additional water and food (especially if it will be cold)
  • A first aid kit including any medication they may need regularly such as heartworm prevention medication; flea repellent; etc.
  • Make sure your pets are already used to evacuating by practicing daily – don’t forget about small animals like fish/lizards either!
  • Talk to your veterinarian about the importance of getting a flu shot for pets, and how often they should be given one. Ask them if there are any vaccinations or boosters that you should plan on giving them too!

Emergency Housing for Pets: When You’re Evacuating Your Home

If it’s necessary to evacuate from your home because of an emergency situation, don’t forget about your pet! Here are some tips on how to keep them safe during this time so that everyone stays happy and healthy.

  • Make sure someone has access to where the animal is staying in case food/water needs refilling (this may not always happen at hotels)
  • Bring their ID tags with you when evacuating together in order to ensure they’re not lost
  • Take food and bedding from home if possible in order to make them more comfortable during this time as well.
  • Try to find a location nearby where the pet can stay for free, or at least very affordable – an animal shelter would be perfect! Be sure that it’s safe inside of there too so your furry friend doesn’t get hurt.

What Happens During a Disaster?

It is important that everyone takes care of their pets in case of disaster happening since emergency housing may not always have room for animals given how many humans are displaced. Here are some tips on what to do:

  • Stock up on supplies now in case of a disaster:
  • Additional water and food (especially if it will be cold)
  • A first aid kit including any medication they may need regularly such as heartworm prevention medication; flea repellent; etc.
  • Practice evacuating with your pet, beginning today! Be sure to practice for at least 20 minutes every day so that the animal is used to this process before you would ever have to do it for real.
  • You want them to be comfortable when traveling or evacuate from their home because there are many safety hazards that could happen during an emergency situation. If possible, bring along bedding from their own house too!

Here are more tips you can follow-

  1. Keep your pets away from infected animals (and vice versa)
  2. Educate yourself on how to identify the virus from symptoms in humans and animals
  3. Consider having an animal shelter or boarding facility where you can take them if there is an outbreak of the virus near you
  4. Keep your pets indoors as much as possible
  5. Ensure that they have plenty of food and water
  6. Have a plan for getting them to safety in the event of an emergency evacuation order or natural disaster
  7. Make sure you have enough supplies for at least three days (food, water, medication) if you need to evacuate with your pet(s)


If you are concerned about your pets in the event of a disaster, it is important to keep them safe. Though there will be many things on our minds during an emergency or natural disaster, we need to remember that caring for and protecting our four-legged friends should also be at the top of the list. Keep them inside as much as possible where they have food, water and shelter. If this isn’t possible make sure their area has been prepped with sandbags so flood waters can flow around without entering their space.