Make a Plan

Never leave your pets behind. They could be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:

  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals if you are not home
  • Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
    • Find pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit
    • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter
    • Consider an out-of-town friend or relative
  • Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
  • Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date but you also include contact information for an emergency contact outside your immediate area.
  • Call your local animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians, and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to verify all vaccinations are current.

Build a Kit

Include basic survival items and items to keep your pet happy and comfortable:

  • Food - At least a 3-day supply in an airtight, waterproof container
  • Water - At least 3 days of water specifically for your pets
  • Medicines and Medical Records
  • Important Documents - Registration information, adoption papers, and vaccination documents
  • Identification Information - Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database
  • First Aid Kit
    • Cotton Bandage Rolls
    • Bandage Tape
    • Scissors
    • Antibiotic Ointment
    • Flea and Tick Prevention
    • Latex Gloves
    • Isopropyl Alcohol
    • Saline Solution
    • Pet First Aid Reference Book
  • Collar or Harness with ID Tag
  • Rabies Tag
  • Leash
  • Crate or Pet Carrier - it should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down
  • Sanitation 
    • Litter & Litter Box
    • Newspapers or Potty Pads
    • Paper Towels
    • Plastic Trash Bags
    • Household Chlorine Bleach
  • Picture - a picture of you and your pet together will help document ownership and allow others to assist you in finding a lost pet. Add species, breed, age, sex, color, and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar Items - treats, toys, and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet

Large Animals

If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.


  • Ensure all animals have some form of identification
  • Evacuate animals whenever possible – See Equine Emergency Evacuation information below
  • Map primary and secondary evacuation routes in advance
  • Identify vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal
  • Ensure handlers and drivers are experienced
  • Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment
  • If evacuation is not possible, owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside

Cold Weather

  • Observe livestock, and look for early signs of disease and injury.
  • Severe cold-weather injuries or death primarily occur in the very young or in animals that are already debilitated.

Animals suffering from frostbite don’t exhibit pain. It may be up to 2 weeks before the injury becomes evident as the damaged tissue starts to slough away. Then the injury should be treated as an open wound; a veterinarian should be consulted.

Make sure your livestock has the following to help prevent cold-weather problems:

  • Plenty of dry bedding to insulate vulnerable udders, genitals, and legs from the frozen ground and frigid winds
  • Windbreaks to keep animals safe from frigid conditions
  • Plenty of food and water

Equine Emergency Evacuation sites

  • Call in advance for reservations and to check availability
  • Current Negative Coggins Test is required
  • Questions: Contact Marsha Hewitt, SCDA Equine Specialist, and Equine Evacuation Site Coordinator at 803-734-0106