It’s important to be ready for emergencies whenever they could occur, whether it’s a sudden disaster like a fire, tornado, or flash flood, or one that comes with warning, like the much publicized Hurricane Sandy. Disaster preparedness includes prepping pet supplies too, and including them in your emergency plan. Here are our top tips for taking care of your furry friends when disaster strikes:

Make sure that your pets are collard and have ID tags, even if they are usually indoor-only. You don’t want to take the chance of losing your furry friend during while transporting to shelters, friends’ houses or hotels, or even just hunkering down at home in unpredictable conditions. If you have time, see if you can get your pet microchipped at the vet. Make sure any info on ID tag or microchip information is up to date.

You might have your own emergency preparedness kit and pets need one too. The Humane Society has excellent disaster kit guidelines:

  • Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. A pet first aid book is also a good idea.
  • Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, garbage bags to collect all pets’ waste.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can’t escape. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. (Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.) Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets—who may also need blankets or towels for bedding and warmth as well as special items, depending on their species.
  • Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you’re reunited.
  • Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress.
  • Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
  • Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach.

The ASPCA recommends always bringing pets indoors when a major weather event is coming, and to never leave pets behind. There are many shelters and hotels that accept pets, so to take care of their safety you should never evacuate without your furry friends.

Go Pet Friendly is a great website that can help you find pet friendly hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and more. If you need to evacuate, this will make it easier to plan where you will go with your furry family in tow. has a great document with lots of information on pet-friendly evacuation shelters so you can know what to expect when you settle in.

The Examiner has published a list of pet-friendly shelters throughout Hurricane Sandy’s path, so you should have no problem finding one along your evacuation route.