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DOG / health & care

When natural disasters strike, be ready

Whether it’s a tornado, an earthquake, a wildfire or a flood—a natural disaster is scary and sometimes unexpected. Preparation beforehand is the key to keeping your family and your pet safe.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND in the event of a natural disaster, especially if you are forced to evacuate. Pets left in areas affected by natural disasters may not survive on their own and are difficult to locate and reunite with their families after a disaster. Below are emergency preparedness steps and supplies you’ll need to keep your beloved pet safe.

Pet Emergency Supplies

A pet emergency preparedness kit should have the supplies below to help keep your pet fed and secure during a natural disaster:


  • pet tag with your cell phone number
  • vaccination/medical records
  • veterinary contact information
  • a current photo of your pet



  • 1 week supply of food (in waterproof container)
  • bottled water
  • portable food & water bowls
  • manual can opener (if using canned food)
  • list of feeding routine & behavioral needs/considerations


Plan ahead

During an emergency, who will be responsible for your pet? Who should gather your pet’s medication and medical records? Where will your pet stay if you’re forced to evacuate? Having a plan and answers to these questions before an emergency, can save precious time and help you stay calm during a natural disaster.

Make an emergency preparedness plan and ensure all members of your family know what their roles and responsibilities will be. Familiarize yourself with the types of natural disasters that can occur in your area and prepare supplies beforehand. Knowing what to expect will help keep you and your beloved pet safe.

Emergency Pet Housing

If you’re forced to evacuate, keep in mind that emergency relief shelters often cannot accept pets due to public health concerns. Below are some housing or boarding options for evacuees and their pets.

PetSmart PetsHotel

Our PetsHotel can help ease the stress of an evacuation. We provide much needed boarding and care for up to several days—for both dogs and cats—and our trained staff dispenses medication and provides walks. Plus, we also have 24/7 care and a veterinarian is always on call.

Click here to find a location near you.

Pet-friendly hotels or housing alternatives

If you have a guide dog, service animal or would rather not be separated from your pet, find pet-friendly hotels near your emergency-shelter site or a safe area away from disaster zones. While these can be good alternatives remember that fees, additional deposits and pet size restrictions may apply.

Here is a list of pet-friendly hotels

During a disaster

Always follow the advice of your local emergency management agency; if you stay indoors with your pet during a flood, take these safety precautions:

  • Bring pets inside immediately and keep them indoors until the threat has passed.
  • If possible bring pets upstairs and keep them in a secure pet carrier.
  • Have newspapers, litter boxes and trash bags on hand for sanitary purposes.
  • Feed animals moist or canned food, this way they’ll need less water.
  • Separate dogs and cats, even if they usually get along. Emergency situations can cause pets to behave unpredictably. Also keep small pets away cats and dogs.
  • NEVER leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.

Pet Emergency Preparedness Resources

PetMD Pet Emergency Preparedness
Emergency Preparedness for Birds, Reptiles, Small Animals & Horses
Pet Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency
The American Red Cross