How to Prepare to Evacuate With Pets in Case of Emergency

How to Prepare to Evacuate With Pets in Case of Emergency

From devastating earthquakes to floods, wildfires and all other manner of disasters, some of the most vulnerable victims can be our pets. Many times, residents are expected to evacuate with little to no notice.

Are you prepared to evacuate with your pet in the event of an emergency?

Have you ever thought of items you will need?

Some of the items you’ll include may vary, depending on whether you are evacuating to a shelter, the home of a relative or a hotel.

A relative may not require you to crate your pet, while many shelters and hotels do. Know where your nearest shelter is and whether they allow pets or not and also whether they need to be crated. This is something you should check BEFORE the need for evacuation. If possible check with hotels and shelters in advance and find out what their pet policy is.

You should have a “Go” list for your dog. At the top of the list, write down the address and phone number of your evacuation destination. (In emergency situations it’s easy to become flustered and forget things you would normally remember.) If you are evacuating to a relative’s home, write that address down as well.

On your “Go” list include all items you will need to pack, as well as a small note indicating where those items can be found.

First things first, you will need a “Go bag” specifically for your dog(s). Your dog’s “Go bag” will make packing and later finding items a whole lot easier.

Some of the items you should include on your list:

Vet Records

If going to a shelter you may need to produce proof of vaccinations. An easy way to keep track of vet records is by placing them in a three ring binder, where you can keep them in date order. Place your rabies vaccine in the front for easy accessibility as most shelters will require proof of vaccination.

If you are more electronically inclined and concerned about space, another way would be to scan (or take a photo) of your pet’s records and organize and store them on a thumb drive. You can carry this with you and always have quick and easy access to their records.

If your dog is micro-chipped include that information with their records.

Pet food

Most emergency websites suggest having three days to a week’s worth of pet food. Keep an appropriate sized bag of food in your “Go” bag. Rotate it out so it doesn’t get stale, that way you always have one ready to go.

Leashes, Collars or Harnesses

If possible have a spare set of each. Quart size plastic bags are perfect for this. Place one leash and one collar in each bag and label it with your pet’s name. For multiple pets, place the smaller bag inside a larger zip lock bag.

Pet Food Bowls

You will need a minimum of one food bowl for each pet and a water bowl that can be shared.

Medicines and Supplements

Include a list of who takes what and when as well as the dosage.

Bed or Blanket

Your pets will be as displaced as you are in an emergency situation, trying to make things as ‘normal’ as possible for them, can be a big help.

Cherished Toys

A favorite toy can go a long way in helping your pet feel at home in a strange place.


If your pet travels in their crate, this should be simple. For those that don’t, there are tent like crates that store compactly and assemble easily.

Waste Bags 

Hotels or shelters may not have extra bags in an emergency situation, it’s always best to be prepared.


More than likely wherever you are evacuating to you will have water available, but depending on how long it takes to get there, it’s good to have some on hand.

Many of these items can be permanently packed in your dog’s “Go” bag (providing you have duplicates), or kept in a container in your car.

Evacuating is never easy, but having a plan in place will help get everyone out and on their way quickly and safely.

Can you think of anything else?

Jodi Stone

Jodi Stone is the author of Heart Like a Dog, a community based blog, where readers go to find humor, inspiration and support. Inspired by the challenges she faced when she rescued her dog, Delilah, Jodi’s goal is to let other dog owners know that their dog doesn’t have to be perfect and they definitely aren’t alone!

Jodi is cohost of the popular Barks and Bytes Blog hop, is co-creator of the DADO blog hop, and created the Caring for Critters Round Robin which resulted in a community health page for pets as a permanent addition to her blog.

Graduating with a degree in Communications, Jodi currently works as an administrative assistant.

Jodi lives in CT with her husband and two dogs, Sampson and Delilah. When she’s not blogging, Jodi can be found hiking the trails with Sampson and Delilah, spending time with her grandchildren, or cuddle up with a good book and preferably a dog.

Jodi is most active socially on her blog or

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