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In Preparing for Disasters, Don’t Forget Fido

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of  the United States to develop these pet-preparedness guidelines.

Have a pet-supply kit ready, including:
• Pet food for three days in an airtight, waterproof container and bowls;
• Water for three days.
• Pet medicines and first-aid supplies.
• Collar (with ID tags firmly secured), harness or sturdy leash.
• Important documents such as registration, adoption papers, vaccination and medical records in a plastic bag or waterproof container.
• Travel crate or other pet carrier.
• Cat litter, litter box, paper towels, newspapers, plastic trash bags and cleaning supplies.
• Photos of you and your pet together for identification purposes.
• Familiar items such as toys, treats and blankets.

The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you if you must evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be lost or injured. If evacuation is necessary, consider friends or family outside the area who can take in you and your pet. Other options may include a pet-friendly hotel or motel. If your only evacuation option is a Red Cross or other publicly run shelter, be aware that not all shelters are equipped or designed to accept non-service animals.

Consider boarding your animals at a kennel or veterinary hospital before going to a public shelter. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to evacuate your pet for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Talk with them about your evacuation plans and pet supply kit.

Consult your veterinarian and consider “microchipping” your pet. These permanent implants may be invaluable if you and your pets are separated.

After the disaster, don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells may have been changed by the disaster and your pet could become disoriented or lost.

For information on pet-friendly accommodations in your area and disaster planning, visit


About the National Capital Region
The National Capital Region (NCR) encompasses the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland and Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William in Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s in Maryland, which include the municipalities of Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Rockville and Takoma Park.