Preparedness for Pets and Livestock

If disaster strikes and you must evacuate your home, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. In a disaster, owners have the primary responsibility for the sheltering, health, and overall care of their pets. Leaving a pet behind could result the pet becoming lost, sustaining an injury or being killed. Even if you evacuate with your pets, Red Cross disaster shelters can often not accept them because of health and safety regulations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only exception.  Domestic Pets1 copy.jpg

It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find a shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. The following are suggestions you should consider when including pets in your disaster plan.

  • Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets.
  • Ask friends, relatives or others outside your area whether they could shelter your animals.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster.
  • Keep essential supplies in an accessible place in sturdy containers that can be carried easily in the event of an evacuation. 


If you own or care for larger animals or livestock such as horses, pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle, it is important to consider the necessary preparedness measures during a disaster.

  • Be sure the animal has some form of identification.
  • If possible, evacuate your animals to a pre-established alternate location. Map out multiple routes in advance in case one is impassable.
  • Ensure that the destination or the transfer vehicle has food, water, veterinary care, and handling equipment.
  • Also if evacuation is not possible, owners should consider whether to move large animals indoors or to leave them outdoors.

For more information on preparing and planning for Livestock and domestic pets, visit