Emergency Management
18900 Cortez Blvd.
Brooksville, FL 34601

Phone (352) 754-4083
Fax (352) 754-4090
Recorded Message Line (352) 754-4111

Pet Preparedness

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Disaster Preparedness for Pets

petsIt is important to plan for the needs of your pets in an emergency. Below are some tips to help you prepare.

Get Ready Before Disaster Strikes

Pet Identification

Ensure that your pets are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date and have accurate contact information. You may also consider having your pet microchipped. Include your phone number on your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you need to evacuate.

Assemble a Disaster Kit

Your pet’s disaster kit should contain the following items:

  • Food and water for at least 5 days
  • Medical records and medications
  • Crates
  • Cat litter and box, litter scoop and garbage bags
  • Leashes, harnesses and collars
  • Current photo of you with your pet
  • Written description of special considerations (i.e.: feeding schedule, medical conditions, behavior issues)
  • Your and your veterinarian’s contact information
  • Newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags
  • Grooming items

Find a Safe Place to Stay Ahead of Time

Plan to take your pets with you if you need to evacuate. Keep in mind that not every emergency shelter accepts pets. Hernando County has designated D.S. Parrott Middle School in Brooksville as a pet friendly shelter. However, it is important to note that this location may or may not be opened as a shelter depending on the circumstances of the event. Pay attention to local media when an event occurs for the latest information about pet-friendly shelter locations.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a "no pet" policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of pet-friendly places handy and call ahead for reservations as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

For help identifying pet-friendly hotels, check out these websites:

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations. Consider a kennel or veterinarian's office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers.)

Plan for Your Pet in Case You're Not Home

In case you're away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they're nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

If you have a petsitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.

If You Evacuate, Take Your Pet

If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.

Evacuate early, don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

After the Disaster

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over and it may be hard for your pets to adjust. Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations. While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape. Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routine as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian. If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals that may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet, exercise caution.

Learn More

Check out these websites for more information about pets and disaster preparedness:

For more information on how to build a pet friendly disaster supply kit and evacuation checklist, please click the link below.

Build your Pet Go Box & Evacuation Checklist now.