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Remember pets in disaster planning

Pets are vulnerable in times of disaster, but careful planning can keep these special family members safe even if the worst happens.


Many of us are not home during the day, and disasters are unpredictable. So, it’s important to think ahead about how you’ll protect your pet in different emergency situations, especially if you will not be able to get to them in a timely manner.


Consider these tips:


Prepare ahead of time

  • Pets are not always allowed in emergency shelters. Make a list of pet shelters, pet-friendly hotels, and relatives or friends who can house your animals if you have to evacuate. You may want to establish a buddy system with a friend who also has a pet and has easy access to your home.
  • ID tags and collars can be lost, so you may want to microchip your pet. 
  • Keep recent photos of your pet with you or on your smartphone in case your pet gets lost. 
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your pet, similar to the one you have for your family. The kit should include enough food and water for three to seven days, medications, garbage bags, a leash, a crate or carrier, and anything else necessary for your pet’s survival. Add your contact information, your veterinarian’s contact information, and your pet’s medical records in a waterproof container. 
  • Consider applying a pet rescue sticker to your front window to alert neighbors and first responders that animals may be trapped inside. Stickers are available at no charge through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalsand can be purchased in most pet stores. 
  • Get pets used to leashes, halters, crates and trailers, and include them in family emergency drills. 
  • Inspect horse trailers regularly to make sure they are in working order in case you need to evacuate.


When disaster strikes

  • If your animals are in the yard, at the first sign of disaster, bring them inside and keep them close by. Animals can become disoriented during difficult times and may run away.
  • Place your pets in a secure location, like a crate or carrier. The sound of thunder or the smell of smoke can frighten animals, and they might disappear under beds or in other parts of the house and can be difficult to find.
  • Latch pets like birds, mice, hamsters, lizards and guinea pigs in their cages so they can’t escape.


For more information, talk to a AAA Insurance agent or visit your local branch office.