Plan for Your Pets in Severe Weather


Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Earthquakes: Plan for Pets before the Disaster

In light of the recent tragedy in Oklahoma and with hurricane season just around the corner, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend that families remember their pets when making household emergency plans.

“Having an emergency plan in place for every member of your family, including your pets, is extremely important,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Most importantly, talk with your family veterinarian to formulate an emergency plan specific to your pet’s needs.”

Additionally, doctors from BluePearl recommend speaking with your veterinarian about micro-chipping your pet, so in the event you and your pet are separated, your pet can be quickly identified and reunited with you.

Besides the destruction left in their paths, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters like earthquakes are notorious for causing lengthy power outages and water shortages. Since your veterinarian may also be forced to evacuate, make sure you have a two-week supply of your pet’s medications, food and water.


  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations.  Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Have a current photograph.
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal - carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand  and turn around.
  • Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet!  Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
  • If you plan to shelter your pet - work it into your evacuation route planning.


  • Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have:  Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
  • Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.
  • Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis.  Call ahead and determine availability.


  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.  Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
  • If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered.  Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
  • After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.
  • Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.


  • Proper identification including immunization records
  • Ample supply of food and water
  • A carrier or cage
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar and leash

Source:  BluePearl Veterinary Partners

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