National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

“The best thing a family can do in the case of an emergency is to be prepared, and that includes having a plan in place for your pets. We hope that families take into account some simple steps that will help them feel ready to respond should disaster strike.” – Kostas Kontopanos, President of Hill’s Pet Nutrition North America:

Here in Florida, hurricane season officially starts June 1 and ends November 30. However, we’re only in the second week of May and there is already a storm brewing off the East coast. Other parts of the country have been experiencing tornadoes and severe weather.

May 9 is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day and a reminder to be sure that we have our plans in place for our pets should severe weather affect us. Hill’s Pet Nutrition is taking the opportunity to share best practices for pet parents to be ready for any type of emergency.

In 2013, Hill’s expanded its Food, Shelter & Love program– through which it provides Science Diet brand food to more than 800 shelters nationwide – to create the Disaster Relief Network. 

  • In the last two years, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network delivered free food to more than 60 different shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 25 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas, the mudslide in Washington state and tornadoes in the central and southern regions of the country. In 2015, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network has already assisted with three incidents – most recently with the March tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma.
  • Hill’s is sharing seven tips to ensure your pet’s safety during an emergency:

Ensure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and that contact information is up-to-date.

Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is readily accessible in an emergency. Your Pet Emergency Go-Kit should include: first aid supplies and guide book; three-days’ supply of pet food (in a waterproof container) and bottled water; a safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical records; a contact list of veterinarian and pet care organizations; information on your pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues; comfort toys; and a blanket.

Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.

Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.

Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.

Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.

If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.

Note: Displacement of pets is a serious issue. According to a paper published by the University of Colorado – No Place Like Home: Pet-to-Family Reunification After Disaster – more than 200,000 pets were displaced after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, and 95 percent were never reunited with their families.

pet disaster preparedness

Pet Emergency Go-Kit Contents

  • Basic first aid supplies
  • A 3-day supply of bottled water and the pet’s preferred food, held in a waterproof container
  • Safety harness and leash
  • Waste clean-up supplies
  • Medications and a copy of the pet’s medical records
  • List of veterinarians and local pet care organizations
  • List of the pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues
  • Comfort items, such as a blanket or favorite toy, to help keep the pet calm and comfortable

Key Dates

  • March 1, 2015 – Tornado season began
  • April 1, 2015 – Fire season on the West Coast began
  • May 9, 2015 – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
  • June 1, 2015 – Start of hurricane season
  • June 1, 2015 – Start of fire season
  • September 2015 – National Preparedness Month

Helpful Links:

Hill’s website 

The Humane Society

Disaster Preparedness for Horses

Florida Pet Preparedness:

Pinellas County

Florida Division of Emergency Management

SPCA Florida

  • February 27, 2022