Hurricanes and Your Pets

Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you evacuate. You also should prepare supplies for your pets. Stock up on nonperishables well ahead of time, add perishable items at the last minute, and have everything ready to go at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.

Place the following items in a waterproof container so you're ready to go if you need to evacuate.

Dogs and Cats

  • Your veterinarian's contact name and phone number
  • Copies of pet vaccination records
  • Medications
  • Extra collar
  • Food and water bowls
  • Bottled water
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Paper Towels
  • Plastic baggies for picking up pet waste
  • Muzzle, if necessary
  • First aid kit
  • Current photo of your pet
  • 5-day supply of pet food and can opener if you need one
  • Kitty litter
  • Small travel kitty litter box


  • Several pillowcases for transporting
  • Water Bowl
  • Heating Pad

Small mammals (in small carriers)

  • Bedding material
  • Food
  • Food bowl and water bottle

Birds (in carrier with perch inside)

  • Food
  • Water mister

Major Don'ts

  • Don't leave your pet behind.
  • Don't rely on the city to evacuate or care for your pet.
  • Don't leave your pet tied up outside to a tree or a fence. They can't escape water, wind, or falling items or they'll die trying to escape.
  • Don't leave your pet indoors; floods from tidal surges can trap your animal in a house.
  • Don't plan to leave your pet anywhere within the hurricane strike zone.
  • Don't leave your pet at a boarding facility in the strike zone. There's no guarantee they have an evacuation plan.

Major Dos

  • Choose an evacuation destination in advance of an evacuation order. Consider pet-friendly hotels, family, friends, and boarding facilities outside of the danger area. Pet friendly hotels can be found by visiting two websites or If you don't have a computer, you can also visit a local library or the LA/SPCA.
  • Call or check the website of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry or the LA/SPCA to find out where pet-friendly shelters may be located. These should be used as a last resort; they fill quickly on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be required to care for your pet so staying close-by the pet-friendly shelter is required.
  • Check your pet's boarding facility's evacuation plans before going on vacation. Many veterinarians were forced to leave their clients' pets behind when Hurricane Katrina threatened New Orleans. Some people who boarded their pets while on vacation were unable to get back and their pets died. Make sure your boarding facility has a plan in advance in case you are unable to come home to retrieve your pet.
  • Keep a hurricane-ready pack for your pet so you can pick up and go without forgetting important items.

Must Haves

Pet Travel Carrier
  • Get a portable secure and covered pet carrier in advance (carriers immediately sell out when evacuation orders are called). The carrier should be large enough so that your pet can completely turn around.
  • Mark your name, address, and phone number on the carrier and that of an alternate contact outside the strike zone.

Proper Identification
  • Get a properly fitted collar with up-to-date rabies and identification tags. Add a phone number that will allow you to be reached outside the disaster zone. LA/SPCA is giving away free tags for a limited time.
  • Microchip your pet. A microchip ensures that your pet is identifi ed in case his/her collar/tag is lost. Make sure your address is up-to-date with the microchipping company.

Health Records & Medication
  • All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices require proof of immunization before accepting animals. They will not risk the health and safety of the animals on-site regardless of how much pleading you do.

Planning and preparation will help you weather the disaster, but your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you have taken shelter at home or elsewhere, be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.