Including Your Dog in Disaster Readiness Plans


Emergencies come about almost year-round, sometimes causing devastation to people and their much-loved pets. Many of us think, “It’ll never happen to me,” and neglect to prepare in advance.

Emergency PreparednessBecause emergencies, like natural disasters, fires, and other unforeseen events can happen to anyone, preparation is important. By making some general disaster readiness plans ahead of time, you stand a better chance of saving your pet’s life if disaster strikes.

Survival Tips

1. Identification. Make sure that your pooch is wearing his current ID all the time. Microchip your pet and always keep an ID tag on his collar.

2. Evacuation. If there’s a need for you to evacuate your home, plan to take your dog(s) with you. Never leave your pet behind in chains or in a cage. Whenever possible, evacuate even before it is mandatory. This way, you’ll have extra time to find a safe place where animals are allowed. If you are not called to evacuate, make a plan to gather in the most secure area of your house. Have your pooch in a kennel or on a leash until it is safe to start roaming around.

3. Shelter. As soon as you have evacuated, you have to decide where to go with your pet. Because emergency shelters generally do not permit dogs inside unless they are service animals, you may need to spend some time contacting hotels and inquire about their pet policies in time of emergency. Secure a list of veterinary clinics and some boarding facilities in the surrounding areas just in case your pup is not allowed to stay with you.

4. When you’re out. Be prepared for emergency situations that may happen when you are not at home and cannot assist your pet. Put a sticker or any sign outdoors that tell the total number of pets you have, their types, and where you or your vet can be reached. These markers will help rescuers to locate and attend to your dog/s in case of emergency.

5. Disaster kits. Keep a disaster kit for you and your pooch in an accessible area. The implements shall include a minimum of one week bottled water supply, food, and medication. It shall also contain leashes, a kennel or crate, vet records for each pet, first aid supplies, family and vet contact information, current photos of your pooch, dog beds, toys, flashlights, towels, blankets, and other personal and pet items you believe you might need.

No one has ever been faulted for being prepared for an emergency ahead of time. At the least, you’ll take comfort knowing that you’re prepared. At most, you could save the life of your precious pets.



  1. Wonder Dog Ranch, a cage-free dog day care and boarding facility is a designated evacuation site for domestic animals in the City of Monrovia (just east of Pasadena CA) — we just housed 10 evacuaees (7 dogs, 2 chickens and a rabbit) during a recent evacuation that resulted from a wildfire in our adjacent hillside. We have launched the PLEDGE TO PLAN AND PREPARE FOR YOUR PET campaign to make sure everyone makes a plan to get their pets to a safe place, and has a kit with emergency supplies for each pet: we are working with to give a free day of day care with each purchase of their cool emergency packs for dog (and they have one for cats too!). An important element in your preparations: be sure to have a couple of pictures of you with your pet; leave one at the shelter with the copy of the vet records and attached to your pets carrier; and then always keep one with you. If your pet ends up at an evacuation site during an emergency when you’re not home, having your picture with your dog is a good way to be able to reclaim your dog. We’re working with surrounding cities to also make our facility available to their residents as well by working with municipal first-responders and CERT to have a thorough protocol to smoothly handle evacuations and to help take care of the pets.

  2. This is a awesome website!! We need to take our animals more seriously!! U need to love ur pets just as u would a family member!!! They look up to us! They depending on us! Animals are precious, loyal and many more!!!! Let’s take responsibility for our pets!!! :)