Prepare Your Pet for a Tornado, Hurricane or Other Natural Disaster

When there's a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, forest fire or other natural disaster in the forecast, the last thing you want to do is scramble to collect your pet's things or search for an animal-friendly evacuation site. Don't wait for disaster to strike — prepare your cat or dog now. You and your pet will be glad you did.

Check out our photo gallery for six disaster preparedness tips for pet owners.

Disaster Preparedness Tips for Pet Owners

Flooded neighbhorhood

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Make a Plan Before Disaster Strikes

Don't wait until the last minute to prepare for a disaster. Plan for all possible scenarios: You may have to evacuate, you could be stuck in your home or you may not be home at all. If you haven't already, ask your neighbors if they'll take care of your pet during an emergency if you're not home and offer to take care of theirs. Finally, find out which local shelters allow pets and familiarize yourself with your area's emergency response plans.

Dog wearing a collar

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Always Keep ID on Your Pets

If your cat or dog goes missing during or after a disaster, you're more likely to find him if he's wearing a collar with identification tags. Better yet, consider getting him microchipped as well as putting identification tags on him. Store the numbers of your animal's ID and chip records in your phone and give them to a friend or family member who doesn't live in the area. That way, if you can't get to your phone, you can still be reached and reunited.

Dog at a pet store

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Create a Pet Emergency Kit

You may have an emergency kit for yourself and your family, but what about for your pet? Stock up on your pet's food, medications, litter and have enough water to cover your animal's needs and your own. You'll also need a pet first-aid kit. It should include basic supplies like gauze sponges and antibacterial cleanser, as well as cotton swabs and a muzzle. And if your cat or dog eats canned food, don't forget to include a can opener and a spoon. Disposable dishes and extra litterboxes are helpful, too.

Going through a filing cabinet

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Keep Your Pet's Records in One Place

Find a fire- and flood-safe place for your pet's records and make sure you regularly update records of his vaccinations, health issues, license, microchip information and details on his pet health insurance provider. It's a good idea to include recent photos, too. If he happens to become lost, you can create "lost pet" posters and post the photos on social media.

Cat in a carrier

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Get Your Pets Comfortable With Crates

Trying to get a nervous cat or dog into a carrier when there's a hurricane or tornado on the way can be stressful for everyone. Plus, the nerve-racking situation may cause him to lash out or bite you. Make your life easier by crate-training your pet now. Our trainer, Mikkel Becker, has some great tips on crate-training cats and dogs.

Lost cat poster

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Advice for Recovering Lost Pets

Unfortunately, when Mother Nature wreaks havoc, there's a chance your pet, or the pets belonging to people in your community, will run away or go missing. Hopefully, your cat or dog is already ID'd and microchipped. Your next steps are to create "lost pet" posters, reach out to neighbors, veterinarians and shelters, and take to social media to get the word out.

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