Health Sciences

Emergency Preparedness


Tip #4: Are You Pet-Prepared?

A quick personal story:

The last time I did anything resembling an evacuation was a cross-country move with my 3 cats. Two of my cats can fit in a carrier together, but the other one, Boo, is a bit of a fatty (which is admittedly my fault), so she gets her own. Carrying supplies for the cats while I was also carrying two cat carriers and my own luggage through an airport was exhausting. It was obvious that I needed a better system if I ever have to evacuate for real. And what better time than National Preparedness Month to tackle this task!

I can't change the fact that I'll need two cat carriers (although I have considered creating a makeshift stroller to hold all three), so my primary goal this week was to consolidate the pet supplies AND restock with other essential items like a pet first aid kit, harnesses (just in case), water, food, litter, and important documents like proof of vaccinations. I came across a pet emergency kit online that had most of these items, and then I added everything else such as medication, photos of my cats, cat toys, etc. etc. 

Boo Approves!

In addition to building a pet emergency supply kit, here are several other ways to get more "pet-prepared":

  • Have identification.
  • ID your pet with a collar and tag with your phone number on it, and consider microchipping.

  • Find a pet-friendly place to stay.
  • Discover where you would evacuate? Some public shelters may not accommodate animals. Find hotels and shelters before disaster hits.

  • Use the buddy system.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or neighbor in advance about helping evacuate and meet you with your pets in a safe location away from the disaster. If they are willing to help you and you are willing to help them in this scenario, both of you have a backup plan for disasters.

  • Comfort your pet.
  • Your pet will be understandably anxious, especially if you are. Give your pets extra reassurance and attention to help keep them calm. Some animals may find comfort in familiar items such as blankets or toys from home.Thunder shirts and pet pheromone products also have some documented success with relieving stress and might prove to be helpful. There are also other natural products such as Rescue Remedy.

  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger. Confine your pet to a safe area inside – NEVER leave your pet chained outside. Leave them food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink.

    To receive a free emergency rescue pet alert sticker from the ASPCA, fill out this online order form (allow 6-8 weeks for delivery). Make sure it is visible by placing it near or on your front door. Provide telephone number or other contact information where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet. 


    *Please note that the products mentioned here are not endorsed by UCLA. They are products that I have used that seem to help. This information has been compiled for ease and reference, so I strongly recommend checking them out yourself before using a specific product or service.