Learn How to Prepare Your Pet for an Emergency
Emergency Preparedness Program
Below is information to help you prepare and protect your pet, service animal or livestock in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Resources for Veterinarians
- If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Pets cannot survive on their own and you may not be able to find them when you return.
- For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in your area allow pets in an emergency. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers; they will be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
- Make sure identification tags are current and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site or an out-of area emergency contact. Microchipping is recommended as a permanent form of identification. Have a current photo of your pet or microchip information for identification purposes.
- For pets requiring licenses, have proof of a current license.
- Have a copy of your pet's medical records, including vaccination status, and place one in your vehicle. If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians, and animal shelters require that your pet's vaccinations be current.
- If it is impossible to take your pet with you to a temporary shelter, contact friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels to arrange for care. Make sure medical and feeding information, food, medicine and other supplies accompany your pet to its foster home.
Suggested supplies for an animal emergency kit:
- a secure, portable pet carrier
- collar (with current identification tag) and leash or harness
- pet food (nonperishable) and a can opener if necessary
- bottled water
- pet waste clean-up supplies and a small litter box and litter for cats
- your pets updated medical records
- important phone numbers such as veterinarian, kennel, emergency clinic, hotels which accept pets
- medications your pets may require
- recent photo of you and your pet
Equine, Cattle & Other Livestock
Attempt to shelter equine, cattle, and other livestock in place if possible, or evacuate if necessary. Evacuation routes, including alternates, should be pre-determined. The evacuation sites should already have or be able to readily obtain, food, water, veterinary care, handling equipment and containment facilities. If evacuation is not possible, a decision must be made whether to move large animals to available shelter or turn them outside. This decision should be determined based on the type of disaster and the soundness and location of the shelter. Food and water should be available for the animals whether they are left in a shelter or outdoors. All animals should have some form of identification that will help facilitate their return.
Never attempt to capture a non-domestic animal unless you have the training, protective clothing, restraint equipment and caging necessary to perform the job. Often, during natural disasters, mosquitoes and dead animal carcasses can be sources of disease and outbreaks of zoonotic diseases may occur. Contact the local Department of Natural Resources office 248-359-9040 for help.
Providing Safe Drinking Water for Animals
Because contaminated water may contain pathogenic organisms, treat it with chlorine to make it safer. Ideally, the water should be tested, but during a disaster this may not be possible. Treating water with sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) will be beneficial. The following treatments should be followed when treating water:
- 16 drops of bleach for 1 gallon of water
- 1 Tablespoon of bleach for 15 gallons of water
- 1/2 cup of bleach for 120 gallons of water
When treating water, use unscented bleach. Allow the water to stand for 30 minutes after treatment to allow the bleach to mix thoroughly with the water.
For Further Assistance
If you see an injured or stranded animal in need of assistance, contact the Macomb County Animal Shelter (586) 469-5115.
Healthy Pets Healthy People - A CDC web site that provides information about the health-related risks of owning and caring for animals.
The Macomb County Health Department Emergency Preparedness Program is funded through a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health / Office of Public Health Preparedness, which in turn is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Information is not intended to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice. Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by Macomb County.