Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters

It is heartbreaking to me all of the natural disasters that have been happening recently. First Houston, then Florida, now Mexico and Puerto Rico. It seems like each time, the damage is worse and the devastation keeps coming. I’m an animal lover, so I can’t help but think about all the injured and abandoned pets. Each time an animal-related storm story would pop up on Facebook, I couldn’t help but click. All of it is so, so awful. One story sticks in my mind is during the flooding in Houston, a dog shelter was in desperate need of helping evacuate their animals and the use of social media to get people to help was AMAZING. I can’t help but think about how scared these poor animals were as the waters continued to rise and life around them became chaotic.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters - Communikait by Kait Hanson

Photo: Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

Thinking about how Dane and I would help Judy + Bill during a natural disaster makes me so anxious. Living on an island is great until a natural disaster (or worse) happens and thousands of people are in total panic mode scrambling for their lives. In an effort to help ease my own internal anxiety, I’ve put together an easy checklist of steps you can take to prepare you and your pet in case a natural disaster, or other emergency, happens.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters - Emergency Checklist For Pets - Communikait by Kait Hanson

Pawscout Tags | c/o Pawscout


Do you have something your pet can fit in for transportation? Or a kennel that is portable? We have two XL kennels for Judy + Bill that are airline approved just in case we would ever have to use them. We also keep the “dog towels” and other dog-related supplies (shampoo, brushes, etc) in one area of our house that is accessible.

Proper Identification

Is your pet microchipped with up-to-date information? Do they have a collar with updated information? We recently learned about Pawscout, which is a new form of pet identification that combines technology and tags. The Pawscout tag works by communicating with your smartphone and using a low radio Bluetooth signal that is embedded within the tag. If your pet becomes displaced, anyone using the app can view your profile and contact information that you provide. Why Pawscout if you already have tags and/or a microchip? In an emergency, finding a microchip scanner may not be feasible and tags easily go out of date and don’t give details on how to care for your pet if he or she is found. Plus, neither microchips nor traditional tags provide real-time tracking to find your pet or to alert you regarding his/her movements. I also really like that it’s not big or bulky – just a round black disk that can be slipped onto the collar or worn traditionally like a tag – plus, the map feature within the app allows you to tag local veterinarians, groomers, shelters, or pet-friendly restaurants, stores, or parks. More info and purchasing details can be found here if you’re interested.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters - Emergency Checklist For Pets - Communikait by Kait Hanson

  • Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at least 2 weeks for each pet
  • Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
  • For cats: litter box and litter
  • For dogs: plastic bags for poop
  • Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper towels, plastic trash bags, bleach-containing cleaning agent)
  • Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with any treats used to give the medications and pharmacy contact for refills
  • Medical records
    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Current vaccination record
    • If your pet has a microchip, a record of the microchip number
    • Prescription for medication(s)
    • For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or vaccination date
    • Summary of pertinent medical history; ask your veterinarian for a copy
  • Sturdy leashes or harnesses
  • Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around; towels or blankets
  • Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet[s] feel more comfortable).
  • A handout containing identification information (in the event you get separated from your pet)
    • Current photo of pet
    • Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex, neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and approximate weight)
    • Microchip number
    • Owner contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone)
    • Contact information of a close relative or friend

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters - Emergency Checklist For Pets - Communikait by Kait Hanson

Download and print this handy checklist here.

As pet owners, we can’t prepare for every possible scenario and, of course, they’re called emergencies for a reason, but even just thinking about what you might do or how you might handle a situation can be helpful in the long run. Realistically, I hope that no one ever has to use this post, but the reality is that natural disasters can happen at any time, in any place and it’s better to be prepared than not.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During Natural Disasters - Emergency Checklist For Pets - Communikait by Kait Hanson

In an effort to keep more pets safe, I have partnered with Pawscout to give FOUR lucky pet owners a free Pawscout tag to use on their pet. The app is free on iOS and Android!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will be announced 9/28!

September 22, 2017


  • Great checklist!! I would LOVE something like this for Caesar!

    • Kait

      C definitely needs this, especially with all of your travels. I really like that I can do it all on my phone. We tested it out and it has some really great extra features too like for finding dog friendly places nearby!

  • Jen

    Yes to all of this!!!! We have all of this stuff ready for Emma and Fishy if we were ever to experience a tornado here. We have our “go” bags for all of us in the laundry room that we can grab and head to the basement. People often forget that pets are important to include in that plan. We couldn’t imagine not being prepared for them as well.

    • Kait

      You are the best! I’m so glad to hear all of this! They definitely are part of the family. It was heartbreaking watching the news and seeing so many animals just tied to trees and left behind 🙁

  • Stacey Roberson

    Our dog’s name is Blaze. He’s a lab/ hound mix.

    • Kait

      How cute!!

  • Kimo, Pepper, and Fluffy are all microchipped and have our address and cell phone # on their tags. Great information, Kait!!

    • Kait

      I know I can count on you to be a responsible pet parent! So glad the kids are all chipped with updated tags! Sending love to you all 🙂

  • Savannah

    Ah! Putting this on my to-do list ASAP for Butters. We have an emergency bag for us but you’re right – we really need to have emergency prepped stuff for our baby girl! <3 Thanks for this, Kait!

    • Kait

      Yes yes yes! Butters, of course, needs her own supply! It’s hard for me to think about what we would do here in Hawaii if something awful like a tsunami or worse occurred, but it’s better to be safe-ish than not at all! 🙁

  • Hi Kait,

    Such a great list! As a pet rescue mom to 9 dogs and 3 cats as well as a pet foster mom, things can happen, natural disasters, fires and more!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Kait

      WOW! Erika, that is FREAKING AMAZING! I bow down to you. What an awesome rescue mom you are 🙂 I love that!

  • CJ

    This is super important topic!! My dogs Jasmine and Chewy are both ready, should an emergency arise.

    • Kait

      I’m so glad they are ready! I think as owners we always want what is best for our pets, but with all the craziness happening around us lately, I thought this post was a good reminder. Thanks for stopping by 🙂