Disaster Planning

Everyone should have a disaster plan for their family - including one for pets. Pets depend on their caregivers to provide for their safety and well being. Putting a disaster plan into place is just part of being a good pet caregiver.

If ordered to evacuate, take your pets with you

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of an evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents.

Note that Red Cross disaster shelters will not accept pets because of health and safety regulations, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time.

Disaster preparedness checklist for pets

  • Written family disaster plan
  • Disaster preparedness kit, including:
    • Crate or carrier and bedding
    • Food, water, manual can opener, and dishes
    • Plastic bags, paper towels, cat litter and newspaper (can be shredded and used as cat litter)
    • Collar or harness, and leash with identification tags
    • Extra bottles of daily medications or copies of prescriptions with current expiration date
    • Current photos
    • Pet comfort items: towels, blankets, toys, treat, etc.
    • First Aid kit
    • Detailed instructions for animal care rescue workers
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Copies of health certificates
    • Out-of-state telephone contact
    • A list of hotels, motels and boarding kennels that accept pets. Click here for list of pet-friendly hotels in Naperville.

If you don't evacuate, shelter in place

Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say there is an imminent problem. Keep pets under your direct control; if you have to evacuate, you will not have time to try to find them. Keep dogs leashed and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification. Owners should put a piece of duct tape on their animal's collar with the name and phone number of a friend or relative living out of state since disasters can wipe out landlines and cell phone service for several days.

After the storm

Don't allow your pets to roam. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations. While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and keep cats in carriers inside the house. Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation.

Naperville Animal Control