Preparing your pet for a natural disaster

Updated September 27, 2022

With Hurricane Ian approaching the Gulf Coast of Florida, and with a few months left to hurricane season, it is a good refresher to see the preparation tips below for you and your pets.

As Hurricane Isaias flew up the east coast and left people without power, downed trees, tornados that touched down along the way – and destruction in its path.  It is a reminder that even a Category 1 hurricane, or by the time it reached us here in New York, tropical storms are no joke, and now is the time, no matter where you live to prepare your pets in case of a natural disaster. 

Here are tips you can do right now to keep your pet safe and to get your pet back to you if it is put into an emergency pet shelter situation:

  • Print a couple of pictures of your pet, recent ones, and get them laminated with your contact information on there.  With natural disasters, electrical power, wifi, mobile devices may no longer be working.  But if you have a laminated picture of your pet it will help with identification if you and your pet get separated. (If you print a large size and one you can put in your wallet too).
  • Facial Recognition Technology – this will also help with the new facial recognition technology they are using to identify pets. is using revolutionary technology, where they scan the unique features of your dog’s face and keep it on file in case he or she ever gets lost.
  • Pack your pet’s own bag.  Have everything in it your pet would need for at least 2 weeks.  Food and water, any medications your pet is taking, extra ID tags, an extra leash, collars, and a pet first aid kit.
  • Also, print out and laminate or at least put in a zip lock bag or two, your pet’s most recent medical records showing their last set of vaccines.  I personally would put one with your pet’s bag and have a copy yourself.   (This will help so your pet is not vaccinated again at an emergency shelter and some hotels may ask you for it). 
  • Have a properly fitted collar on your pet with ID tag with an up-to-date phone number – a mobile number is best as most people do not change their mobile number.
  • Apple Airtags have become popular to be able to trace your dog, hoping the Airtag stays on the dog’s collar.  Another option is the Smart Dog Collar with Nationwide GPS tracking by Link.  In addition to the GPS, Link’s Smart Collar provides many benefits.
  • Keep extra leashes and collars in your car as well.  You never know if you need them for your dog or another pet.  And keep extra bowls in your car as well for water for your pets or food.
  • Program all the local animal shelter phone #’s into your phone within a 100-mile radius of where you live, as well as any veterinarian offices.  You may not have wifi, but if your phone is charged you can access your contacts.  You may not know where you will end up.
  • Look up pet-friendly hotels, if you are getting out of dodge and need a place to stay out of town. Sadly not all hotels are pet friendly, but they may allow pets during a natural disaster.  If you can bring a crate with you.  Also ask family, and friends, if you could stay with them to ride out the storm with your pets.
  • Make sure your pet’s microchip is registered in your name.  If you are not sure what this means click here (after you read this until the end!), and if your pet is not microchipped have them microchipped today!
  • Horse owners have spray painted on their horses their contact phone # in case a fence gets broken, or if a horse breaks out of a barn.
  • Have an in-case of fire or emergency sticker on your front door or window stating how many pets are inside and what type of pets.  This way if you were not home, neighbors or emergency officials will know there may be a pet or pets inside that need rescuing.  If you don’t have a sticker write on a piece of paper and tape it to the upper level or highest window so that there may be pets inside. (If you can’t get back to your home to get to them before a storm.)
  • If you do, dog forbid, get separated from your pets, find social media pages or groups that are posting lost pets.  There have been some incredible reunions already from past storms and people posting on Facebook.  And be sure to report missing pets and also contacting
    rescue organizations working in the disaster area.
  • And know that your pets will get stressed during any evacuation or if you are riding out the storm, keep that in mind and try to remain calm to help your pets remain calm.  Check out Zoundz for calming music that can help.

If you are riding out the storm, remember your pets can get easily terrified of the loud wind, rain and thunder and lightning.  Keep your pet in a secure room and in a crate if you have one, and be prepared that you may not be able to take your pet outside to potty, so stock up on wee-wee pads and designate a place for your pet to go to the bathroom.  Never let your pets outside on their own, during or after the storm has passed, you may have open gates, a damaged fence, dangerous debris and downed electrical lines that are live, moving water, and wildlife that is not normally in your neighborhood.  

Be sure to get cash, gas up your car(s), put water and non-perishable food in the car for yourself, family in case you do have to evacuate.  Please share this information as it could save many pets and human lives.  Thinking of all the people and pets in and everyone in Ian’s enormous path – please be safe everyone. 

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