Disaster Preparedness

Everyone can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place before a disaster strikes. It is the best way to protect your family in case of a large-scale natural disaster or an emergency that causes you to temporarily evacuate your home. Every disaster plan must include your companion animals.

  • Keep up to date identification on your pets at all times. Use a properly fitted collar with an identification tag.
  • Microchip your pet.
  • Have current color photographs of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings. Keep them with your emergency supplies. If your pet becomes lost, these photographs will help identify him/her.
  • If you know disaster is imminent, bring your pets inside immediately.

If You Evacuate, Take Your Pet!

Your animal’s best protection is to be with you. Remember, taking your pet requires special planning, so take the following steps:

  • Locate a safe place for your pets before disaster strikes. Evacuation shelters generally do not accept animals for public health and safety reasons.
  • Call hotels and motels in your immediate area and a reasonable distance from home to see if they will accept pets and under what conditions.
  • Contact local boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals
  • Ask friends and family members whether they will provide foster care for your pets.

If You Must Leave Your Pets Behind

Leaving your pet at home will place your animal at greater risk for injury or loss, so make every effort to take your pet with you. If you have no alternative but to leave your pet behind, take the following precautions:

  • Place your pet in a safe, secure room without windows but with good ventilation, such as a bathroom. Leave enough food for at least three days and a sufficient supply of water. Place water in large containers that are not easily knocked over. If you expect flooding, provide access to elevated spaces or counters. Leave familiar bedding and safe toys.
  • Do not confine dogs and cats in the same space. Keep small animals and birds safely caged.
  • Make sure pets are wearing proper collars and identification tags.
  • Place a notice on your front door advising what pets are in the house and where they can be located. Provide a telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached, as well as the name and phone number of your veterinarian.
  • Never leave a dog tied outside!
For a Disaster Supplies Checklist and other preparedness information, download our Disaster Preparedness flyer (PDF).  For additional resources and classes, visit the San Francisco Disaster Preparedness Coalition for Animals website.