Disaster Preparedness For Pets

When a disaster strikes, it’s usually too late to consider how you will care for your pets. Be prepared in advance!

Disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and fires can happen any time and without warning. To make sure that your furry family members are safe in these instances, East Bay SPCA urges pet owners to include their animals in the family disaster plan!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have a plan in place for your pets. Having a plan will reduce your stress by providing peace of mind that your pets will be cared for should you get sick. Find out more at the link below.


Pet Disaster Kit

Don’t forget your pets when preparing your family’s waterproof disaster supply container. Each animal in your household should have the following items:

  • Food and water (for at least 7 days) and bowls
  • Carrier for each pet for temporary housing, especially in public spaces (in case of evacuation)
  • A small light that can attach to a pet’s collar in case of blackout
  • Blankets and towels for bedding
  • Medication(s) – include a small ice chest if they need to be refrigerated
  • Poop bags
  • Extra collars, leashes or harnesses (with id tags)
  • Litter pan, litter and scoop
  • Garbage bags for waste, and cleaning supplies
  • Paper towels
  • Re-sealable plastic bags
  • Photos of your pet, veterinary records, pet description sheet, and microchip information in a sealed plastic bag
  • Pre-made “Lost” poster in case you and your pet(s) are separated
  • Pet First-Aid Kit


Animal behavior can change in a disaster or high stress situation. Approach animals, EVEN YOUR OWN, with caution.
Watch for signs of distress and use good judgment.

In Case of a Fire

In Case of a Fire: Place a decal on the window indicating number of and type of pets for responders, and keep collars and leashes near an entrance. If pets are home alone, make sure they are in areas that are easily accessible. Also make sure pets (especially young pets) are kept away from fire-starting hazards. Consider purchasing and installing smoke detectors that will contact a monitoring center so you can be reached if your home and pets are at risk.


It is important to have up-to-date identification for your pet at all times, should you become separated. Along with ID tags on a collar, microchip your pet!

The East Bay SPCA’s Veterinary Clinic and Spay/Neuter Centers offer microchipping for just $20. Find out more about microchips here. 

A microchip is a small device implanted under your pet’s skin. Shelters and veterinarians will have a special tool which scans the chip to identify the pet, and the pet owner; this information is stored in a database. Microchips are the best way to reunite you with your lost pet should disaster strike.

In Case of Evacuation

If your home is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pet. In case of evacuation, take your pets with you! Many temporary evacuation spaces require pets be on leash or in a carrier, but some do not accept pets at all. If you are required to evacuate for a long period, identify a home that will welcome you and your pets or keep a list of pet friendly hotels with your disaster kit. Also keep a list of nearby pet boarding facilities, shelters, and veterinarians.

Plan Ahead

When a disaster happens, it may be possible that you are not able to get home to retrieve your pet. It is essential that you have someone (preferably a neighbor) who can enter your home to retrieve your pet and disaster kit. This person should be familiar with your animals so that he/she can safely get them to you, or house them temporarily.

Keep your pet healthy around other animals. If you find yourself at a temporary shelter where other animals and their owners are also seeking safe-haven, make sure that you keep your pet safe by not exposing him/her to diseases. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations and keep them away from other animals as much as possible. If your dog is aggressive or reactive toward people or other dogs, make sure that you also bring a muzzle.


Additional Resources

211 is the best place to call for shelter, food, and other resources during a disaster

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Dog Boarding

The East Bay SPCA has overnight dog boarding opportunities available. To learn more visit our dog boarding page

Emergency Boarding

Due to the current devastating California wildfires, we are prepared to take in and board pets at our Oakland location for anyone who may have lost their home or has been evacuated. For more information and to request boarding, please contact shelterleadership@eastbayspca.org or call (510) 563-4627.

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