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Emergency Preparedness for your Pets

Step 1: Plan

What will you do in an emergency?

In the case of an emergency such as a fire, flood, or hurricane you should have a plan in place for both you and your animals. It is important to not leave them behind! Have a pet emergency supply kit ready (see next section)

Based on the severity of the disaster you have two options: shelter in place or evacuate.

Sheltering in place:

  • In the event of a hurricane or tornado: select a safe room, preferably an interior room with no (or few) windows.
  • Remove any toxic chemicals or plants.
  • Close off small areas where frightened cats could get stuck in (such as vents or beneath furniture)


  • Make plans before a disaster strikes for where you and your pets will go. Be aware that pets may not be allowed in local human shelters, unless they are service animals. Check family, friends, and pet friendly hotels for temporary housing.
  • Designate meeting locations for you and your family both within your neighborhood and outside your area.
  • Contact Houston Office of Emergency Management for available public shelters and other emergency preparedness questions: 713-884-4500.
  • Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pet if you are unable to do so.

Step 2: Prepare

In the event of a fire, flood or other disaster in which you and/or your animals need to be rescued, identifying the number of animals within the house will help ensure that no pet is left behind. A Rescue Alert sticker can be obtained for free from the following site: https://www.aspca.org/form/free-pet-safety-pack

Pet Emergency Supply Kit should include the following items:

Food: Food dishes and 3 to 5 day supply of canned or dry food per animal, kept in a water proof sealed container.

Water: Water bowls and 3 to 5 day supply of bottled water per animal.

Medicine: 2 weeks supply of any required medication.

Medical Records: Photocopies of all medical records including: vaccination, prescriptions, pertinent medical and surgical history.

First aid kit should include but is not limited to: cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and saline solution.

Collar with ID tag, harness or leash, microchip number

Current photos: in the event you get separated from your pet.

Crate or other pet carrier for each animal: The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around.

Sanitation: Disposable litter pans and litter for cats. Paper towels, sanitary wipes, and disposable garbage bags

Step 3: Stay Informed

When preparing for the unexpected, some things that you can do before- hand include: preparing an emergency supply kit for you, your family members and your animals, and coming up with a designated meeting location both locally within your neighborhood and outside your area. In the event you get separated from your pet, having them microchipped will help expedite the process of being reunited.

Being prepared and having a plan set in place will likely reduce the stress and worry individuals experience during a time of crisis. It is important to be able to adapt your plan to the circumstances and to follow instructions given by authorities on the scene.

Additionally it is always important to be aware of local weather conditions and fire notices such as:

  • Burn bans
  • Flood warnings
  • Hurricane warnings
  • Tornado warnings

Special Considerations


  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make sure to have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird's feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.


  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming device, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).

Small Animals:

  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hide box or tube, a week's worth of bedding.

Additional information is available at the following websites:







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