There’s No Time Like the Present to Prepare!


Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS

With Hurricane Florence predicted to make landfall later this week along the coast of the Carolinas, there is no time like the present to make sure you are prepared. In fact, September is National Preparedness Month! So let’s all take a moment and make sure we have everything squared away and ready for our furry companions. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency plan in place for our pets in case of disaster. It takes just a few minutes to check the list and see what you might need. Then, when you are out shopping for your family’s emergency supplies, you will know exactly what you need to pick up for your four-legged family member too. If you realize your pet needs vaccines, preventive medications, microchipping, or other veterinary care – then don’t hesitate to contact our clinic for help!

Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Pets:

  • Importantly, have a plan in place ahead of time.
  • Have your pet microchipped and make sure he or she wears an identification tag. These items can significantly increase the chance of reuniting lost pets with their owners. Having a microchip implanted in your pet is quick and easy! The experience for your pet is similar to receiving a vaccination. Contact our clinic today if you would like more information, or visit our ‘Microchipping‘ section under our ‘Paws to protect’ page.
  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date. If your pet is evacuated and housed in an area with other pets, they will be at risk for contagious diseases (which spread quickly in crowded situations). You can contact our office to check and see if any of your pet’s vaccinations are due.
  • Download these helpful Apps:
    ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center App
    ASPCA Mobile App for Lost Pets, Disaster Prep, and Emergency Alerts
    American Red Cross Pet First Aid App
  • Never leave pets behind if you have to leave your home. Find a shelter that accepts pets too, or find a friend or family member willing to help care for them temporarily. Some hotels will accept pets – have a list prepared ahead of time to know which ones to call.
  • Remember, pets can become scared in situations such as severe weather. They may be more likely to hide or run away. Keeping them secured with leashes or in crates will help keep them safe.
  • Scared or injured pets may be more likely to bite. Use additional caution, and have a muzzle on hand.
  • Know what items your pet needs (see below), and store them in a place you can access quickly.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has created a Pet Evacuation Kit Checklist to help you prepare. Here is a summary of that list along with some additional pointers:

Food and Medications

  • 3 to 7 days’ worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
  • Two-week supply of medicine (Be sure to replace items periodically to ensure they have not expired)
  • At least 7 days’ supply of water
  • Feeding dish and water bowl
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Any other items relevant to your pet’s individual needs (e.g. Karo syrup for diabetics in case there is a hypoglycemic crisis, etc.)

First Aid Kit:

  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage tape and scissors
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Absorbent gauze
  • Ice pack
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Heartworm /intestinal parasite prevention
  • Isopropyl alcohol/ alcohol prep pads
  • Disposable gloves
  • Saline eye flush
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Tweezers / magnifying glass


  • Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
  • Newspaper, paper towels and trash bags
  • Household chlorine bleach or disinfectant

Important Documents:

Travel Supplies:

  • Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
  • Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
  • Flashlight, extra batteries
  • Muzzle

Comfort Items:

  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Extra blanket or familiar bedding

Additional Resources: