Do You Have a Pet Disaster Plan? #FoodShelterLove Tips Here!

This post is sponsored by Hill’s® .I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love® Program, but Amy Shojai’s Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog only shares information relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Seren is NOT a fan of the carrier–but it’s the safest spot for her. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

I live in Tornado Alley, and this year we’ve already had a rash of damaging storms hit North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Disasters happen all year long, though, and don’t discriminate about where you live. Cats and kittens, puppies and dogs and other animals are victims, too, and often animal shelterslready overstretched become the go-to resource during disasters. That’s where Hill’s® Disaster Relief Network comes in.


Image courtesy of Hill’s.


Image courtesy of Hill’s

Hill’s established the first-of-its-kind national network in 2013 as an extension of its Food, Shelter & Love® program. In its first year, the Hill’s network delivered free pet food to 50 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 11 major incidents – including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas, the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas, and most recently, the mudslide in Washington and tornadoes in the central and south regions of the country.

Hill’s Media Tour to talk disaster preparedness and disaster relief kicks off May 7th just in time to coincide with FEMA National Pet Disaster Preparedness Day on May 9th. Here’s a sneak peek to help you plan ahead, so that equal opportunity disasters don’t spoil your day…or life.


Image courtesy of Hill’s


If you must evacuate, take your pets along. It may be days before authorities allow you to return home.

If you’ve got to evacuate, find a hotel, friend, or other accommodations in advance that will let you bring your dogs and cats. Some places make exceptions for pets in case of disaster but not all accept cats and dogs. While my two cats likely would be accepted, I don’t know if my 90-pound German Shepherd would be as welcome. 🙁

If you must leave your pets or are away when disaster strikes, be sure to display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.


Karma likes cozy spots to sleep. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC


You’ll need to find them fast so play pet detective and scope out all the hidy holes. Even better, teach your cats and dogs to come when called or take refuge in their pet carrier. Practice ahead of time by leaving surprise treats or simply turning the carrier into the mealtime spot, and “home of irresistible food.”


Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and up-to-date pet identification. If you have nothing else handy, use a felt-tip marker and write your phone number and name on the pet’s tummy.

Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter, if you know it, to the pet’s collar tags. You can buy temporary tags or put adhesive tape on the back of your pet’s ID tag, adding information with an indelible pen. Write directly on a flat nylon collar or halter to make it easy for a stranger to read the information.

Be sure you have current pictures of your pets with you, too, in case of separation. My cell phone is full of pictures of Seren-Kitty, Karma-Kat and Magical-Dawg.


Image courtesy of Hill’s


In addition to providing for human family members, have a “pet kit” ready to take along that contains a three-day supply of all the pet essentials, including food. If easily packed, take an extra towel or blanket for each pet. Don’t forget sturdy leashes, harnesses, carriers or X-pens for safe confinement.


A halter and leash gives you something to grab. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

Have you ever had to ride out a storm with your pets? How did you manage the situation? What about fire? One year we had horrendous floods here and folks had to flee, awakening with water coming under the door.

How have you managed during disasters? Did you evacuate and take the fur-kids with you, or were you forced to leave them behind? That would just about kill me…I’d likely risk my life and stay with them, if it came down to it. Please share how you prepare for the worst.

Be sure to watch this PAW-some video, too!

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Do You Have a Pet Disaster Plan? #FoodShelterLove Tips Here! — 13 Comments

  1. A few months ago my neighbor’s house caught fire and went up in seconds. I already had a leash, harness, and blanket packed in the cat carrier, so I threw the kitty in and grabbed some people stuff. I was almost out the door when the police arrived, shouting at everyone to get out. That freaked my cat out more and made getting her out more difficult, even though she was already in the carrier. But I definitely took her with me. Some people did leave their cats behind, and the police wouldn’t let them back in to get them. You could see the cat in the window…goodness, broke my heart.

    Luckily, the fire didn’t jump to our apartment, and we only had to spend five hours hanging out at a friend’s place until we could go home. Horribly scary, but after that we made a list of other cat things we didn’t think to pack that we should have. I hadn’t thought about a copy of current vaccinations or a current picture, though. Adding those to the go-bag!

    • Scary stuff, Angela! So glad that you didn’t have damage to your apartment. And lucky you could FIND your cat to get her into the carrier. Pets often hide when scared so it’s good to know where they hang out, too.

  2. Amy, this if GREAT info to have and one I am printing out to make sure I am prepared. We are lucky in PA in that we dont have too many natural disasters, if ever. But good to be ready to go for our two kitties. Thanks for posting this.

  3. I’m with you on the “rather risk my life” sentiment. As much as people say you’ll never love your pets as much as you’ll love your kids, my parents have proven that one wrong, and for me, my pets ARE my kids. James actually ran back into a burning building to save his cat’s life (former one I do believe… can’t remember for sure).

    Luckily Simba seems to know that when the storms get bad and momma starts pacing and staring out the window every 5 seconds, she needs to stay close. All I have to do is put her at the door to the carrier and she goes right in. Anubis, notsomuch. You have to chase him down and stuff him in, often with much hissing. Though he did go in better last time – he seems to be learning that sometimes carrier just means he goes to another house for a while, and not just the vet. This house doesn’t have a “safe spot” so normally we head down the road to my parents’ place.

    • Karyl, when I grew up we always headed to the basement in my parents’ house. But the ground shifts too much in N Texas to have a basement so interior rooms are the only option. Bathtubs, for instance, with a mattress overtop.

      • Doesn’t work so well in a mobile home, though. When I say no safe spot, I really really mean it in this case. (And of course now they’re talking about huge storms and possible tornadoes here tomorrow… greeeeeat – glad the other half is taking the day off)

    • Rachel, every place in the world has its own specific “scary” weather/disaster potential. I can’t imagine a Tsunami–what do you do, build a house on stilts? Yikes!

  4. Okay, it seems I must now retract my earlier statement about which is the calm one. LOL Seems Anubis is now getting used to the idea that carrier+storm=safe place. Simba only seems to realize it if *I’m* home. The other half was home during the onset of the nastiness that hit here this afternoon, and he had to drag Simba out from under a chair (to much protest) to get her butt in the carrier. He said the way she was carrying on you’d have thought he was killing her. I had to remind him the last time she had to be scruffed was for that medicine she really hates. LOL

    It’s always gotta be one of ’em.

    • For the first time I can remember, Seren didn’t appreciate the weather, either. She crouched under my chair while the Magical-Dawg partied. *shrug* Please be safe Karyl! I know those mobile homes do NOT play nicely with wind and weather.

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