New Orleans, LA 9/8/05 -- Residents who stayed behind with pets are leaving after police told them the pets can go with them. Many residents have been in New Orleans without electricity or tap water for ten days. New Orleans is being evacuated as a result of floods and damage caused by hurricane Katrina.
Image by Liz Roll

New Orleans resident evacuates with pets after Hurricane Katrina (2005).

Volunteer emergency personnel move cattle to higher ground during a flood in Missouri (2008).

Humane Society volunteer rescues stranded pets after Minnesota flood (1997).

Animals & Pets

The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.(1)

Cold Weather

Cold Weather Pet Safety by the American Veterinary Medical Association, covers steps to take to keep a variety of different pets safe during winter weather. 

Emergency Plans 

Pets and Disasters from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) covers steps to take to make a disaster plan and evacuation kit, sheltering in place, sheltering during an evacuation. Note: this resource includes a list of links for several national directories for pet friendly hotels, and their toll-free numbers.

Disaster Preparedness from the ASPCA that covers: preparing for disaster with your pets: How to get a Rescue Alert sticker for your home; arranging a safe haven for your pets if you must evacuate; preparing emergency supplies and pet traveling kits; designating caregivers in case something happens to you; how to prepare for evacuation; geographic and climatic considerations; plus special considerations for birds, reptiles and small animals.

Saving the Whole Family, a 16-page booklet (PDF) from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation that advises to take your animals with you if you evacuate. It includes information on preparing a disaster plan, preparing for emergencies that may occur while you are not at home, identification for your animal(s), transportation & housing issues, proof of vaccination & ownership, what to include in an Evacuation Kit for small animals, livestock, birds, reptiles and other pets; how to proceed when an evacuation order has been issued, and what to consider when you return to your home after a disaster. 

Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for Pet Owners: A 2-page brochure on the website that covers suggested contents for an emergency pet supply kit, making an emergency plan, and how to stay informed about different types of emergencies.  Written by the ASPCA, American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Humane Society of the United States.

Animals in Evacuation Shelters: Many shelters cannot accommodate pets; this page from the CDC covers ways to minimize health risks if animals are housed in a public evacuation shelter. 

Farm Animals

Saving the Whole Family (description above) includes information on livestock.

Preparing the Farm and Farm Animals for Disasters. Suggests anticipating types of disasters in your area and mitigating potential hazards for your farm animals.  Includes a chart listing daily food/water needs for various farm animals.  Reprinted from the USDA's AWIC Newsletter, Oct.-Dec. 1993, Vol. 4, No. 4.

Caring for Animals, a page on the FEMA website, includes Disaster and Cold Weather Guidelines for large animals, at


(1) American Red Cross, "Prepare Your Home and Family > Pets" at accessed on 1/30/2014.

Last updated March 10, 2020