Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Will Your Animal Companions Be Protected in a Disaster?

What would happen to your beloved animal companions if a hurricane, a fire, a tornado, an earthquake, a flood, or another natural or human-made disaster were to strike tomorrow?

Review these tips to keep all your family members safe!

Before an Emergency Strikes

  • Have an animal emergency kit readily available. The kit should include a harness and leash or a carrier as well as bottled water, food and water bowls, dry and canned food, and a copy of your animal companions’ medical records. If you have a cat, have litter and a small litter tray ready to go.
  • Make sure that all your animals have collars or harnesses with identification. Keep a current photo of your animal companion for identification purposes, just as you would for a child.
  • Place PETA’s emergency window stickers near your front and back doors and on side windows in case a weather emergency or fire strikes when you are not home. These stickers will alert rescuers to animals in your home who need help.

During an Emergency

  • If you are being evacuated, never leave animals behind. There is no way of knowing what may happen to your home while you are away, and you may not be able to return for days or even weeks. Animal companions left behind may become malnourished or dehydrated or be crushed by collapsing walls. They may drown or escape in panic and become lost.
  • Know your destination ahead of time. Not all emergency shelters accept animals, but many hotels take animals (most suspend “no pet” policies during disasters, thankfully).
  • Place small animals in secure carriers. Dogs should be leashed and wearing harnesses. Be sure to take the animal emergency kit that you’ve prepared.

If Authorities Force You to Leave Your Animals Behind

  • Never turn animals loose outdoors—they can’t survive “on instinct.” Domesticated animals rely on their human companions for many things and are totally helpless and vulnerable outside, especially in bad weather. Instead, leave them in a secure area inside your home with access to the upper floors so that they can escape rising floodwaters.
  • Leave out at least a 10-day supply of water. Fill every bowl, pan, and Tupperware container that you have with water, then set them on the floor or on counters, as just one container may spill. Fill sinks, too. If your toilet bowl is free of chemical disinfectants, leave the toilet seat up to provide animals with one more source of water, but do not make that the only source.
  • Leave out at least a 10-day supply of dry food. Canned food will go bad quickly.
  • If you can’t get to your home, contact a reliable neighbor or friend to check on the animals and get them out, if possible. Provide specific instructions on care.

By planning now, you can make sure that all your loved ones can weather any storm. Remember: The question isn’t whether a disaster will strike—it’s when.

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  • Carly says:

    Thank you for this article! I always worry about what might happen to my kitties, so I will make sure to have an emergency kit for keeping them safe!

  • Colleen says:

    I too would not leave without my dogs (3). They have been with me threw thick and thin. When I was born I was surrounded by dogs and continue to this day and forever. I protect, donate, stand up for animal rights. Thank you PETA for being there to help with the needs of our companions and for the information about what to do in and emergency.

  • Robyn says:

    I definitely hope I never need to evacuate my pets! I’d have to take my fish, my seven parrots, two dogs, leopard gecko, and feral cats… Oh well, at least I don’t live in an area that gets many natural disasters. I’d only need to worry about blizzards and thunderstorms. Man, I would hate having to carry all my pets.

  • Jennifer Capriccio says:

    Authorities should not be allowed to force people to leave their animal companions behind in the event of an emergency. Would anyone leave their child behind? I don’t think so. I beg and encourage PETA to launch a campaign to asking authorities to amend any laws that prohibit people from taking their companions with them. People have with to SAVE all family members in the event of an emergency of any kind and that includes Animal Companions.

  • Maria says:

    I would never leave my animals behind I have 4 cats there my family I live in Providence, RI I also have 2 stray cats outside I’m praying for the Lord’s protection on all of us.”THE LORD BLESS YOU ALL” BE SAFE “GOD BLESS AMERICA”

  • Melissa says:

    They would have to knock me out and drag my unconscious ass out of my home before I would leave my dog alone during an evacuation. My son owns show rabbits, too. When I bought my car I kept in mind the carriers and how much room we need when we travel, so I picked a Chevy HHR. It’s great! And now that I think of it, if we need to pack up and go in a hurry, there’s room for everyone. But what about horses in a disaster? The article didn’t mention them!

  • Elisabetta De Falco says:

    It is so important to be prepared! Thank you for this info. My animals are my life, they are my family.

  • Elisabetta De Falco says:

    It is so important to be prepared! Thank you for this info. My animals are my life, they are my family.

  • Colleen says:

    I am preparing for Hurricane Irene. I have the cat carriers by my bed, along with towels, bottled water, dishes, sealed bowls of dry cat food, and small litter pans. I WOULD NEVER, EVER LEAVE my cats behind in the event of an evacuation. They are my children, and I will stay with them to the end.

  • Jeff says:

    I would have to take my dog with me, regardless. Even if it meant to the two of us walking, we would hit the road together and face whatever was coming our way, together.

  • Meera says:

    I think we should be allowed to take pets to emergancy shelters, I love my dog as if she was family and I couldnt leave her behind.

  • Lynn M in NY says:

    I believe PETA should use their power to get the US government to change the “no pet” policy of the Red Cross Shelters. I’m sure those of us facing the perils of Hurricane Irene with our pets would support you.

  • MARIA SONIA ESTRADA-SOLERO says:

    todos los animales tienen derecho a ser salvados de una catástrofe natural

  • Lynn says:

    This is excellent information. I agree with the other poster that I’d stay behind with my cats if they couldn’t come with me.

  • Shan says:

    If I couldn’t take my pets with me in a disaster I’d most certainly stay behind and die with them if I had to. They’re my life and my bunnies for instance are completely dependant on me to care for them, I couldn’t just leave enough food out for them and leave, they eat leafy green vegetables and WILL eat more than their fill, and I couldn’t do it with pellets ’cause pellets are bad for bunnies, make them obese and sick and they gorge on them too. I just couldn’t do it I would worry about everything way too much. I’d much rather stay behind to take proper care of them and risk dying than leave them and hope they fare ok when they could die.

  • Mag says:

    I love my dogs, as I love my husband and two children … it from the moment we have, we must take care, feeding, care, love and attention, they come to getting sick or not …. sad those who abandon their animals because they were ill, I think these are the same with his next … I live here in Brazil and has many, many more people leaving their dogs, especially when it reaches the end of many years ….. travel and spend and do not want to drop their dogs on the street one day …….. shamelessly to change all that … HOPE IS LAST TO DIE ….. Regards to everyone! Mag

  • Brit says:

    It is so important to be prepared! Thank you for this info, I have plans to get emergency kits together for both of my sweet pets- I could never leave them behind!!

  • Glenn Sorino says:

    I agree with the others in that it’s unthinkable to leave a pet behind in the event of an emergency. Preparation is the key, & I’ve decided to do something about it by starting a business that manufactures pre-made, comprehensive Evac/Travel kits for pets.
    PETA members get a discount, but besides that, feel free to share your thoughts & experiences. We’re all in this together, so let’s do right by our furry & feathered friends:)

  • Jennifer says:

    I am heartened to see all the positive responses here – I have had this conversation with my partners over the years. I would never, ever leave my furry kit-kats behind, no matter what was happening. If they were unable to leave, then so would I be. They are my family and have brought so much to my life, I could not callously end theirs. I’d also like to say something on an unrelated note: When our pets no longer have quality of life, and there is no hope for them to live without pain, do NOT take them out of home to have them euthanized. I speak as someone who is disabled with a very low income – taking members of your family to a strange place that smells of fear and death is a HORRIBLE and cruel way to say good-bye to your furry friends. Find, beg or borrow that extra money and pay for someone to come to your home, so they can be with you. Most people who will attend your home will also let you keep your furry partner with you overnight, so you can have the time to say good-bye properly. I myself had to do this, and that extra night was everything. Your little friend still feels as though they are with you. Please think about this and put yourselves in their position!

  • Lisa says:

    All I can say is that I would never, never, never leave my animals. If they had to stay … I would most def. stay with out a doubt. No one would tear me away even if I knew that I would parrish. My animals are my life, they are my family.

  • itsbrkn says:

    I think the US State Department needs to get a heart. Their official rule on evacuating Americans from disaster areas is “no pets allowed”. That’s a rule that cannot be abided and must be changed. I would sooner die with my dog than selfishly leave him behind. He is my family and friend and deserves better treatment than to be abandoned.

  • Katie says:

    I would NEVER LEAVE COCO BEHIND! Under any circumstances! He is my only source of “animal companionship” and I love him :)

  • katharina heitzmann says:

    thank you for the information. it is a strong reminder and reinforces what i need to do if ever a disaster would happen at my home. elderly people often listen to authority without question as they feel they have no choice. i agree with the other comments, someone would literally have to force me physically kicking and screaming b4 i left my pets behind, however those people with children, having to make a tough decision, i am sure they would choose the safety of their children over their pets. if possible, help your neighbours with their pets if they are unable to. also, as with katrina there are animal rescue groups who would attempt to find homes for abandoned cats and dogs and even fly them to canada for a safe home. i know i would adopt that dog in your photo if it needed a home. thank you for your continued good deeds.

  • katharina heitzmann says:

    thank you for the information. it is a strong reminder and reinforces what i need to do if ever a disaster would happen at my home. elderly people often listen to authority without question as they feel they have no choice. i agree with the other comments, someone would literally have to force me physically kicking and screaming b4 i left my pets behind, however those people with children, having to make a tough decision, i am sure they would choose the safety of their children over their pets. if possible, help your neighbours with their pets if they are unable to. also, as with katrina there are animal rescue groups who would attempt to find homes for abandoned cats and dogs and even fly them to canada for a safe home. i know i would adopt that dog in your photo if it needed a home. thank you for your continued good deeds.

  • Michael G says:

    I agree I would never ever leave my pet behind. They are part of your family like your child especially if they are a dog or a cat.

    Many people love large dogs but caring for them in a disater is problematic at best in a disaster. Having a smaller dog is a better option especially if you have to leave in a hurry. The best thing is to leave early if you can by car or truck with your pet and not wait for the authorities if you can.

    If I could not get out and not take my pet I would stay and least I would be with here until the end.

  • Pup Mom says:

    In an emergency I would always stay with my furry kids just as I would stay with my mother who is a total invalid, incapable of moving, speaking or eating unassisted. If we truly care for those who cannot care for themselves, how could we abandon them when they need us the most? Life is life and all lives are precious to God.

  • DuxMom says:

    Like other commenters, I would insist on taking my pets or stay with them to keep them safe. We are a pretty tight little family and I’d rather be with them anyway. But I do want to get your emergency kit for the car.

  • lillemor marks says:

    skulle aldrig lämna mina djur, de är mina bästa vänner, dem är man rädd om ovill inte mista, dör de så dör jag med dem!!!

  • Pavel says:

    How can you leave your home pet.In conditions which neither bud disaster, in these circumstances, any pet will not survive. I agree with Tess, I am responsible

  • jimmie says:

    I had a shih tzu that was not a “kisser” but the day she died, she could hardly stand up, but she struggled up, and kissed me, lay down and died. There is no more expression of love than that, even by a human; I could never have abandoned her under any circumstances. She knew that I loved her up to the minute that she died and she loved me as much or more than most people.

  • Glen says:

    If Authorities Force You to Leave Your Animal Behind:

    “Leave the “Authorities” behind!!!!!

  • Tess says:

    Who says a human life is more important than an animals? I am responsible for my animals and i would stay with them no matter what.

  • Barb says:

    I would no sooner leave my animals behind than I would have taken a rent that didn’t allow pets! I refused several rents, that would be the same as leaving my child behind. They depend on me for survival. I wouldn’t desert them and I know they wouldn’t desert me.

  • Nicoloe says:

    I would NEVER leave my 3 cats behind – EVER!!! that’s like leaving a child behind – I can’t believe people are actually told to do that. Always REFUSE! You are in charge of you and your life – not anyone else!

  • kathy says:

    I used to have a Labrador and if I had left out 10 days of food she would have eaten all at once and died. That’s a trait of Labradors that they won’t stop eating when they’re full. They can eat themselves to death. Anyway, I don’t see how authorities could make me leave an animal behind unless they physically restrained me and moved me, but I don’t think that’s legal. So that would never happen.

  • animal lover says:

    I would stay behind with my beloved dogs if I was not allowed to take them with – no questions asked. I would NEVER abandon them as I could NEVER live with myself afterward. Life is not worth living without the companionship of my amazing dogs. They would give up their lives for me, and I would certainly do the same…it would be the easiest decision I could ever make. Stay with me dogs or take them with – those would be the ONLY two options…..

  • Kelli says:

    When we get enough donations, my group will be giving out pet amergency kits on my block. I think it would be a great thing to do.

  • MARIMA says:

    your pets are part of your family been there for us all those years there is no way i will leave mine behind we leave together no one stay behind they can not defend for themselves and thank you

  • Mary Keogh says:

    Microchip your pet. Collars and ID tags can get lost, but Humane Societies and other shelters can find reunite you with your dog if s/he should lose their tags and collars by scanning the chip.

  • Ron says:

    I agree with the sentiment about not leaving your nonhuman family behind, but we must bear in mind that the rescue services are stretched very thin in times of emergency and will prioritise humans. If a child died because a helicopter was occupied collecting someone’s budgies and hamsters I can see that that would be wrong too. Not easy.

  • Lupita Fernandez says:

    Why in the world would authoritys not allow you to take your pet?!? It would be the same as leaving a child behind! I would NEVER leave my bird behind. I would hide her of something instead of leaving her to DIE!

  • Andrea says:

    I will never leave my cats behind! My cats are my babies, I care as much for them as I would for my children. So in no matter what disaster, if authorities say I can not take my animals with me, they would have to leave me behind aswell.

  • Jessica says:

    the bigest problem was that the shelters would turn you out if you had a pet and some people wernt home when it happend and wernt alowed to go to there home to get there animals. i only have a pet rat bu i don’t think i could leave her to fend even tho she would have food and water for a while

  • Wolffeh says:

    I’ll hide my dogs in my jacket if I have to. There’s no way in hell I’d leave them at home during an evacuation. They were bred to be our companions. Most pretty much can’t do anything without people. If you’re prepared to leave them at home, be prepared for them to die.

  • Judy says:

    I have a great little product that every pet owner who lives in an area where they might have to evacuate should have. It’s a cover for a pet carrier, with pockets for the pet’s ID, a small quantity of food, bottle of water, dish, leash, etc. It can be all ready to go when you need to leave! Or just for trips in the car, plane, etc. It’s at http://www.theportablepet.com

  • Angelica Monteiro says:

    Os animais são como crianças indefesas. Vc. abandonaria um bebê durante uma emerergência? Claro que não Então é simples. Os animais merecem muito respoeito.

  • Marilyn says:

    If you have an animal or animals, for heavens sake take them with you, I will not go away without my two dogs…they cannot fend for themselves. I cannot believe that the authorities will not allow you to take your animals away from danger.

  • Patti Greenhut says:

    Thank you for caring about and fighting for the rights of all AnimalKind.

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