In case of an emergency, it is a good idea to have a disaster plan for your furry (or not so furry) friend. You don't always have time to grab stuff for your pet, so it's a good idea to have a bag prepared.

If you do need to evacuate your home, keep in mind that it is likely you will not be able to take your pet with you to a disaster shelter. Although there is an increased awareness of the need to shelter people and animals together since Hurricane Katrina, you should not depend on it. Most shelters only allow service animals, so keep a current list of pet-friendly hotels and boarding places in the region and leave it in your disaster kit. It is also important to have an out-of-state contact who can serve as a common "call person" for you and your family, and this person should have the information about your pets, too.

Everyone should have a friend/family member who can care for your pet should something happen to you, or if you go out of town. It is important for this person to know about your disaster kit, and be prepared to retrieve your animals in your absence.

If you must leave your pet behind, be sure to leave them in a properly ventilated room that doesn't have windows. Have an automatic/self-feeder supplied with 3-5 days worth of food and to leave drinking water available (and leave the faucet dripping if they are in a bathroom). Leave familiar items with your pet (bed, toys, something that smells like you), and leave a note on your door with the name of your pet, type of pet, and your contact info.

It is a good idea for every pet owner to become certified in Pet First Aid. These classes are offered by the Red Cross at locations in Sacramento, Woodland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek.

Pet Disaster/evacuation Kit

  • Water
  • Enough food for a few days to a week (rotate periodically to keep fresh)
  • Bowls for food and water (collapsible fabric bowls work well)
  • Current medications for your pet (rotate periodically to replace expired medicines)
  • Current pictures of your pets, especially of unique identifying markings or colorings
  • Familiar toys or blankets
  • Copies of medical/vaccination records
  • Extra leash, collar, tags
  • A carrier for each pet
  • Pet first-aid kit