Division of Emergency Management
Office of Research Services
National Institutes of Health
Building 45 (Natcher)
Phone: (301) 496-1985
Fax: (301) 402-0167
Caring for Animals
Animals also are affected by disasters. Use the guidelines below to prepare a plan for caring for pets and large animals.
Guidelines for Pets
Plan for pet disaster needs by:
- Identifying shelter.
- Gathering pet supplies.
- Ensuring your pet has proper ID and up-to-date veterinarian records.
- Providing a pet carrier and leash.
- Take the following steps to prepare to shelter your pet:
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter, or animal control office to get advice and information.
- Keep veterinary records to prove vaccinations are current.
- Find out which local hotels and motels allow pets and where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities close.
Know that, with the exception of service animals, pets are not typically permitted in emergency shelters as they may affect the health and safety of other occupants.
Guidelines for 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.
Use the following guidelines:
- Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
- Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
- Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers. (Note: It is best to allow animals a chance to become accustomed to vehicular travel so they are less frightened and easier to move.)
- Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment.
- If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.