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Pack and Plan to Protect your Pets

Our pets are part of our families. It is important to keep them in mind when preparing for a possible emergency. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet so they’re ready to go if you need to evacuate. Don’t leave your pets behind—you may not be able to return home for days.

It’s always best to evacuate early and avoid last minute mishaps in the midst of a crisis. By preparing for your pets ahead of time, you can make sure to have all the necessary food, documentation, and supplies ready to go.

Some things can’t be prepared in the moment: start now by making copies of your pet’s immunization records and veterinarian’s information. Make sure you have a picture of you and your pet together to show owner identification in case of separation. Consider getting your pet microchipped, as this is an effective and often inexpensive way to ensure that you will be contacted if you and your pet get separated.


  • Food for at least three days
  • Water for at least three days, in addition to the water you pack for yourself
  • Collar & leash with ID tags
  • Medicine that your pet may need to take regularly
  • Pet carrier or crate that your pet is comfortable being in
  • Favorite toys or bedding:  
    Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet
  • Sanitation supplies:
    Litter box, plastic trash bags, paper towels, cleaning products
  • Download our free checklist for a concise list of what to keep in your pet’s emergency kit.



  • Have a primary and a backup plan for where you can take your pet when you evacuate. Consider friends and family members who are able to house your pet, and look up local pet-friendly hotels and motels ahead of time. Animal shelters often only take service animals or fill up quickly.
  • Plan how to evacuate your pet. Make sure your emergency kit is easily accessible and kennels or carriers can quickly be put in your car. Practice evacuating to the car with your animals so they’re more comfortable during a real emergency.
  • For large animals, such as horses, know where you can take their trailer, and have a plan to get them to safety. Think of two evacuation routes in case one is unusable.
  • Talk with your neighbors about picking up each other’s pets if you are unable to get to them in an emergency. Have arrangements with neighbors ahead of time.
  • Display a pet rescue sticker in your front window to alert first responders that there are animals inside.

OC Animal Care and SCART are additional local resources with helpful information on how to care for your pet in an emergency