Are Your Pets Prepared for an Emergency?

Video by Autumn Endara

Could you evacuate in 15 minutes or less? With everything you need for your pets, as well? Just as you prepare your family for a disaster, the same should be done for pets. Planning is key to emergency preparedness for all.

The County Office of Emergency Services and Department of Animal Services recommend that you prepare and practice a disaster plan with all of your family members and assemble emergency supplies ahead of time. Household pet necessities include a supply of food and water, a crate or carrier, leash, medicines, copy of current veterinary records, and several recent photographs of your four-legged or feathered friend. See the full list of items that should be in each of your pets’ emergency kits.

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification and an emergency contact. Having an ID on your animals may help reunite you in the event that you are separated.

Another safeguard is microchipping in case your pet loses its collar. Microchipping is available at all three of Animal Services’ shelters on Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. for $10. Animal Services also recommends that you register your pet with Finding Rover at This tool uses facial recognition to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

If you have to evacuate your home during an emergency, do not leave your pets. You may not be able to return to your home or animal enclosure for an extended period of time. In addition, structural damage to your home or animal enclosure may allow your pet to escape or to permit other animals or the natural elements to enter and hurt your pet.

Be prepared to quickly evacuate with your pets. If an evacuation seems possible, do it earlier rather than later. Do not wait until the last minute.

With these simple preparations, your entire family can be ready for the unexpected including wildfires, earthquakes, flooding or other emergencies.

In addition, Animal Services has emergency preparedness recommendations for livestock owners. Moving horses and other large animals takes time and practice. Being prepared is the best plan.

Michelle Mowad is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact