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Emergency Planning for Pet Owners

While you prepare your business for potential disasters, ensure your home and loved ones are also ready for the unexpected; this includes your pets. During Pet Preparedness Month, Cotton reminds you to keep enough supplies on hand and plan how you’ll keep your pets safe before, during and after a catastrophe. To help you with this process, we’ve listed a few of Ready.gov’s must-have supplies and considerations for you and your family.


  • Create an evacuation plan for your pet. Before disaster hits, ensure there’s enough room for them in the car and select a shelter or hotel that allows pets. Making these plans ahead of imminent danger could save you a lot of time during a disaster.

  • Develop a buddy system. In the event that you are unavailable or unable to evacuate your pet during a disaster, know which neighbors, friends or relatives will evacuate your pet safely. Ensure they know they’ve been designated as your pet’s buddy and know how to access your pet and its supplies during an emergency.

  • Have your pet microchipped. If your pet is not yet microchipped, have their vet do so as soon as possible. Every year thereafter, make sure to keep your address and phone number up-to-date and include contact information for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.

  • Contact your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office for advice and information if you’re unsure how to care for your pet in case of an emergency.


  • Store several days’ supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container.

  • Pack a water bowl and several days’ supply of water.

  • Keep an extra supply of the medicine your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container. If prescribed, ask your vet for an additional supply in case you have to evacuate or the clinic becomes inaccessible.

  • Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate to include in your pet’s first aid kit.

  • Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag. Have copies of your pet’s registration information, vaccine records, and other relevant documents in a waterproof container and available electronically.

  • Traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet.

  • Include grooming items, like pet shampoo, conditioner and pet wipes, in case your pet needs some cleaning up.

  • Don’t forget sanitary items, such as pet litter and litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.

  • If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you prove ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet.

  • Put favorite toys, treats or familiar bedding in your kit to reduce stress for your pet.

Remember that not all things will go according to plan during an emergency, but planning ahead could help save the life of your pet. For more pet preparedness tips, visit https://www.ready.gov/pets.

Then, head over to Cotton’s Hurricane Resource Hub for information on how to protect your commercial property and business during the busy hurricane season.