We know pets are part of the family too! And being part of a family means keeping your loved ones safe—especially during Arizona’s severe weather events. Consider your pet’s unique needs and incorporate them into your emergency supplies kit and family emergency plan. Depending on the time of year, your pet’s needs will change. Learn how to adjust your pet's emergency plan depending on these factors.
Items to include in your emergency go kit:
- Food and water for at least three days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand to use if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
- Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pet's waste.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. 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.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
- Information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and phone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
- Include toys for your pet to play with. Packing your pet’s favorite toys can keep them entertained and comfortable during an emergency.
Following the Arizona Humane Society’s Disaster Preparedness Checklist for pets can help you organize your pet’s needs and make sure you have everything covered before an emergency strikes.
- If your pets are outside, bring them inside immediately. Severe weather changes can affect your pet’s behavior and stress levels, especially during monsoon season. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
- Create a back-up emergency plan in case you cannot care for your pets. Coordinate an emergency plan with your neighbors or friend in case someone needs to evacuate your pets. Having your emergency supplies kit near can help facilitate this process, should you need your neighbor or friend to assist your with your pet.
Evacuating with your pet during an emergency can be stressful; however, preparing a plan and anticipating your pet’s needs can save you time during an evacuation.
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets in advance of needing them. Include your local animal shelter's number on your list of emergency numbers.
- Take your carrier or kennel for your pet. Whether you plan to stay in a public shelter, with a friend or family member, or in a hotel, having your pet’s carrier or kennel available can provide comfort to your pet. Evacuation shelters might have limited kennels available. Bring your own ensure your pet has a familiar space to rest.
Livestock and large animals:
- Make vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting large animals available if you need to evacuate them. Consider identifying experienced handlers and drivers as back-up contacts that can help you evacuate your animals.
- Ensure animals have some form of identification. Ways to identify livestock can include: microchip, tattoo, leg band, brand, luggage tag braided into tail or mane, and permanent marker on hooves.
- For more tips on how to care for large animals, visit: https://www.ready.gov/animals.
Other types of animals:
- When transporting birds, use small and secured carriers. Transfer your bird to a standard cage upon arrival at the evacuation site. Covering the cage may reduce stress.
- If you need to transport a reptile, use a pillowcase, cloth sack, or small transport carrier. When you arrive to the evacuation site, transfer your pet to an enclosure they cannot escape.
- Use watertight plastic bags to transport amphibians. Make sure to monitor water and air temperature. Take an extra container of water in case your pet's container breaks or leaks.
In extreme heat:
- Never leave your pet in your vehicle. Keep your pet indoors and put out plenty of water for them to stay hydrated during hot summer days. If your pet must stay outdoors, provide ventilated shelter, baby pools filled with water, and sunscreen on pets with short hair. Baby sunscreen can be used on pets.
- Do not chain your pet up. This will make it difficult for your pet to access water or shade.
- Your pet can experience heat exhaustion. Do not exercise your pet strenuously on extreme heat days. Avoid long walks and hikes.
In winter weather:
- Bring pets inside. Move livestock or large animals to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Do not let your pet sleep on a heating pad or electric blanket –- indoors or outdoors. Your pet could be easily burned, and when left unattended, heating pads or electric blankets can overheat and spark a fire.
- Do not assume your pet is warm because he has fur. The cold weather has different effects on animals, depending on their size, age and breed. As a general rule, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet. Puppies and kittens, small breeds and geriatric pets have a harder time keeping warm, as do pets with an illness or injury.