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First things first: Never ignore a warning to evacuate due to a possible natural disaster. You may think that you and your dog will be more comfortable at home, but ignoring the advice of local authorities puts both of you in danger. Authorities may give you notice of mandatory or voluntary evacuation one or two days ahead of time, or you may be asked to evacuate immediately.

If you have to evacuate:

  • Implement your emergency evacuation plan.
  • Take your dog’s emergency “go bag,” which should include essentials your dog will need, such as a few days supply of dog food, bottled water, treats, a first aid kit, and important paperwork.
  • If time allows, take your dog’s favorite toy and/or blanket, so that he can feel comfortable while away from home. You might also grab some dog clothing for protection from the weather, such as your dog’s raincoat, warm jacket, or booties. If you’re at risk for a flood, take your dog’s life jacket.
  • Put your dog on a leash and/or harness, with his identification tags securely attached.
  • Follow instructions of emergency workers. Never think you know a better route because you may be unaware of blocked or dangerous roads.
  • Go to a pet-friendly hotel near you or call your local Red Cross office to find a shelter nearby that accepts pets.
  • Do not return home with your dog until authorities have explicitly said it is safe.

The Department of Homeland Security also advises that you:

  • Unplug electrical equipment and shut off water, gas, and electricity.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
  • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
  • Read the full list of evacuation recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security on

Remember, thanks to the PETS Act, people with household pets and service animals must be included in any emergency preparedness operational plans by state and local authorities, and FEMA must provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for both humans and pets following a major disaster or emergency. If you plan accordingly, listen to your local authorities, and remain calm, you and your dog will be able to evacuate as smoothly as possible.

For more evacuation tips for you and you family, visit