Make Pets Part of Your Disaster Plan

Could you and your family evacuate in 15 minutes or less? September is National Preparedness Month and just as you prepare your family for a disaster, the same can be done for your furry family members—dogs, cats and other animals both large and small.

The County Department of Animal Services recommends 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 crates or other carriers, a supply of food and water, medicines, copy of current veterinary records, and several recent photographs of your four-legged friend.

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 for dogs, cats and rabbits at least 8 weeks of age at all three of Animal Services’ shelters on Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. for a one-time fee of $10.

County Animal Services teaching pet preparedness.
County Animal Services teaching pet preparedness.

See the full list of pet emergency kit supplies and planning tips on Animal Services’ webpage.

With these simple preparations, you and your furry family members 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