Pets 101

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Firetruck with Burned House

Would you know how to give your dog CPR in an emergency? Are you ready to leave your home with your pets within an hour or less? No?  Here are a few tips to help you learn, prepare, and act for those just-in-case scenarios that we hope never happen.

The Emergency Contact Sheet

One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself and your animals in the event of an emergency is to make sure you have all the contact information you need in one place. Therefore, Tails recommends all pet guardians draft an emergency contact sheet for each pet. Keep one hard copy of this document with you at all times, another hard copy in a safe place in your home, and an easily accessible digital version.

The emergency contact sheet should include basic info (name, address, emergency numbers, etc.) plus:

  • Pet tag ID
  • Pet microchip ID
  • Current vaccine/rabies tag
  • Current photo of pet(s)
  • Veterinarian contact info
  • Emergency animal hospital info
  • Names and doses of all medication

Pack a Get-Out-Of-Town-Fast Bag

Hurricanes. Wildfires. National security breaches. Unfortunately, these possibilities pose real threats to our country. We owe it to ourselves, our family, and our pets to be ready to leave our homes on the fly. Prepare ahead of time by having a bag packed and ready to go with everything you’ll need to get out of town quickly:

  • ID Tags on bag
  • Emergency contact sheet
  • Extra leashes
  • Blankets
  • Pet food (at least a week’s supply)
  • Bottled Water
  • Pet first-aid kit
  • Pet medicine
  • Travel food bowls
  • Kitty litterbox/extra litter
  • Poop bags
  • Flashlight
  • List of local pet-friendly hotels and motels

Plan Ahead

What happens if you have to leave your pets behind for a few days, a few weeks, or for the rest of their lives? If you plan ahead, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your animals will be safe and cared for.

Alert the officials: Should an emergency arise and you’re not at home to tend to your pets, make sure you have a pet alert sticker on your door or window to let officials know you have animals inside… and they should be saved at all costs. Free pet alert stickers are available through ASPCA.org.

Final arrangements: When planning your estate, make sure to assign a guardian for your pets, should a time come when you cannot care for them due to illness or death. Be sure the person knows that he/she has been chosen to take on this important responsibility, and agrees to care for your pets the way you have always cared for them.

Learn More


Classes: Local Red Cross agencies offer classes on pet first aid and disaster preparedness.

Online: Download the “Red Cross Ready Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist.”

For keeps: Pet first aid guides (complete with DVD):

“Dog First Aid: Be Red Cross Ready,” and “Cat First Aid: Be Red Cross Ready;” $16.95 each.

Find them all: RedCross.org.


FEMA offers several downloadable sources designed to help prepare you, your family, and your pet for emergencies at Fema.Gov/Plan/Prepare/Animals.shtm.


The AVMA offers the Emergency Preparedness and Response manual, a 400-page resource that may be downloaded at no charge; CD is available for purchase for $20 at AVMA.org/Products/Disaster/ResponseGuide.ASP.

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