A Pet Parent's Emergency Preparedness Guide

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A Pet Parent's Emergency Preparedness Guide

We Know You Love Your Fur Babies...

and the idea of having to leave them behind, in the event of a natural disaster, is unfathomable; and yet, did you know that many of us don’t have an emergency preparedness plan for our pets? 

As 2018 was a year filled with devastation around the globe, the team at Lakeside Animal Hospital felt strongly about creating A Pet Parent’s Emergency Preparedness Guide. We want to make sure you’re ready to take care of your fur baby when disaster strikes. 

Continue reading to learn more. And, as always, please reach out if you have any questions. We’re here to help. 

**Note: In 2018, our friends in Hawaii, North Carolina, and Florida suffered through monstrous hurricanes and flooding; deadly fires plowed through California and Greece, leaving communities in ruins; Japan experienced a summer of destructive earthquakes, flooding, and landslides. The list goes on (click HERE for more details).

Preparing an Emergency Pet Kit

In most situations involving a natural disaster, such as a winter storm, flooding, fire, or tornado, having a homebound and/or ready-to-go emergency pet kit accessible is of the utmost importance. While situations vary, here is a checklist of everything to prepare:

  • Two weeks of excess dog or cat food, water, treats, and medications for each pet. 

  • Proof of pet ownership (pictures, I.D. tags, medical history, etc.).

  • Litter boxes and/or puppy pads in home or be ready to bring your fur babies to a safe, trusted, pet-friendly place. 

  • Some pet parents consider microchips, just in case they are separated from their pet. 

  • Assign a Guardian to your pet, should there be a separation.

**Note: Pets can absorb your feelings and the impact of the emergency, so please recognize that this is a stressful time for them, too. Be patient. And, to best prepare, train your fur babies to come on command, know their secret hiding spots, and practice each emergency plan ahead of time. 

Situational Action Steps

Winter Storms 

Protecting your fur babies from the cold is critical. Washington D.C. has even passed the Extreme Weather Protection for Animals Act of 2017, aiming to prevent people from leaving pets outdoors when the weather is below 32 degrees (or above 90 degrees).

If your fur baby is generally confined outdoors, we urge you to bring him or her inside during the extreme cold. Provide them a safe, warm space, generally in one room of your home. In the instance a winter storm causes you and your family to be homebound, make sure your emergency pet kit is packed and easy-to-find.

**Note: It’s just as important to ensure your pet’s safety during the hotter months! Check out our blog 4 Important Summer Safety Tips for Dog Owners.


“According to research conducted for the Environment Agency, fewer than one in 20 people have made advance preparations to minimize the potential damage and heartache caused by flooding.” 

– Blue Cross for Pets

If you need to evacuate in the case of a flood, there are numerous components involved to pet care. For starters, do you know where your pet carrier is located? Emergency pet kit? I.D. tags? Additionally, if you’re looking to stay in a shelter, can you bring your fur baby? Not all shelters admit animals.  

Should you and your loved ones be homebound during a flood, make sure your pets are indoors. Why? Flood waters can be contaminated and filled with dangerous debris. Try your best to find the highest point of safety in your home and remain updated with weather conditions (you can call “Floodline” 845-988-1188, available 24 hours for updates).

**Note: There were numerous flooding episodes in Wisconsin of 2018, leading Governor Walker to declare a state of emergency this past August. Some areas, like Dane County, experienced $154 million in flood damages, while the Driftless Area through Montello suffered extreme wrecks and “saw storm totals at 10 inches or above.”Journal Sentinel  

House Fires

Did you know that home fires are amongst the most common disasters for American Red Cross responders? Like all other emergency plans, include your pet in your house fire escape plan. Here are a few safety tips: 

  • Have a to-go pet kit filled with supplies. 

  • When leaving your home, prepare to leave your fur babies rescue-ready for Firefighters:  

    • Have your pets on collars. 

    • Keep pets near entrances so they can easily be found. 

    • Attain a pet window cling and list the number of pets in your home; attach to a front window. Keep this list updated.

**Note: Make sure to look about your home. Is it possible that your pets could start a house fire? According to the National Fire Protection Association, around 1,000 house fires accidentally start by our pets. Click HERE to learn more. 


Did you know that Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually? While this is low in comparison to some other Midwestern states, emergency preparedness is still of the essence. You’ll want to ensure that you’re pet has a safe space in your basement or the lowest, protected level of your home, with emergency pet supplies.

Should a tornado hit your area, please keep your pet indoors until the destruction has been cleared. Familiar scents and landmarks may no longer exist, causing your pet to become disoriented and lost. 

**Note: Check out more tips from The Humane Society of the United States.

We Want You to be Ready Before Any Disaster Strikes

For the safety of our fur babies, it is so important that we plan ahead and understand the value of emergency preparedness. Please take the necessary steps to be organized and ready to act as a responsible pet parent in the case of a disaster. 

Once again, contact us if you have any further questions about emergency preparedness or are simply looking to bring your fur baby in for wellness check. We’re committed to looking out for pets and their people.

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