How to Prep Your Pets for Disaster

Team Rubicon

Your four-legged friends may not always understand what's going on, but here is what you can do to keep them and your family safe when things go south.

Part of being prepared for disaster is being able to execute a plan…and your pet may not always follow instruction as well as you would hope.

Being mindful that pets can, more often than not, be “uncooperative” when it comes to planning, knowing what to expect with your pet in times of emergency s crucial. If your goal is to evacuate every member of your home (two legged or four) quickly and safely, you’re going to need to anticipate what can go wrong.

Below is information on how you can keep your pet from derailing a laid-out emergency plan as well as how to prepare to take care of your pet if disaster strikes and you need to relocate.

How to Prep for Disaster with Pets 

  • Have reliable leashes and harnesses in dependable locations at all times.

    You never know when you may need to keep your pet close and unable to wander off, so knowing at all times where a leash can be found is key. When moving about on foot, having a trusty leash or restraint to keep your pet close to you will allow you both to move to safety quickly.
  • Make sure pets are wearing collars with securely fastened current identification.

    Even if your pet doesn’t wear a collar or ID tag while roaming about your home, it’s important to have one that you can put on your pet for times like this. If you get separated from your pet during a disaster, having their name and your contact info displayed clearly somewhere on them can be the deciding factor between if you will be reunited soon, or ever at all.
  • Anticipate anything special your pet “needs”.

    Does your pet require special medications? Does your pet not do well walking on certain surfaces and require special little pet booties for their paws? Whatever special needs your pet has, think ahead so that you can accommodate your pet and not have to worry. Be sure to have an extra stock of whatever is necessary available and ready to grab for when it’s go-time.
  • Have a carrier for smaller pets (or bigger pets if need be).

    Having a pet carrier is important for shuttling your four-legged friends around quickly. You may not have time to chase your pet around and get them to “come here, boy!” once you hear the order to evacuate, so being able to place your pet inside of a carrier and move the carrier they are in will save you precious time when it’s time to move.
  • Pack your pet’s go-bag, today.

    Food, water pours, meds if needed. Think ahead to what it will be like to feed and care for your pet on the go. Keep whatever you pack in your pet’s go-bag light and only to the essentials – items like toys can very easily take up valuable space in the bag for where food, water, care products and meds can go instead.


We’re knocking on wood that your disaster preparedness never gets put to the test… but being prepared doesn’t stop here.    

Learn about how to prepare for fires, tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters here.    

Bookmark this page and help us spread the habit of preparedness by sharing these tips across your social channels.

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