San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

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Emergency Preparedness for Your Pet

In case of an emergency (flood, fire or other disaster situation) the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA's Animal Rescue Reserve is trained, equipped, and ready to help transport horses, livestock or even household pets to safety.

Download a Disaster Planning Pet Form >


The San Diego Humane Society recommends the following tips to proactively plan for your companion animals, should a disaster strike:

Safe Places for Your Pet

Evacuation shelters generally don't accept pets and for this reason it's important to plan ahead to ensure that your pets and family will have a safe place to stay. Research hotels and motels outside your immediate area for pet policies and ask friends and relatives outside the area if you and your pets can stay with them in case of a disaster.

Proper Identification and Updated Vaccinations

Having your pet licensed AND microchipped can protect your pet and help identify them if they become lost. Also, keep your pet's vaccinations current, and keep the records handy.

Leave Early and Take Your Pet

One of the most important things to do if you are evacuating your home is to take your pets with you - you may be forced to stay away longer than anticipated. In addition, leave early and don't wait for mandatory evacuation orders; if emergency officials have to evacuate you, you might be told to leave your pets behind.

In Case You're Away

A disaster may strike when you're away from home. Make arrangements in advance with a trusted neighbor (who is comfortable with your pets and knows where in the home they are likely to be) to take them and meet you at a specified location.

Large Animals

If you have large animals or livestock, have enough trailers or travel containers available for all of them. If possible, make arrangements with boarding facilities or a friend with a ranch in a different area to take in your large animals in the event of a disaster. Keep halters/ropes ready for each horse that includes a tag with the horse's name, your name and phone number, and a separate emergency contact number. Also, keep a reserve supply of horse feed and water on hand that will last for at least 72 hours.

Picture Perfect

Have a photograph taken of you with your pets to show proof of ownership should you become separated.

Pet Carriers

Have pet carriers ready that are the correct sizes for each of your pets. Make sure each carrier is labeled with your contact information.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Have a pet emergency kit prepared and ready for a disaster. This kit should have:

  • Three or more days' supply of food and food bowls, water, and two weeks of your pet's medications
  • Litter boxes with litter, if you have cats
  • Extra leashes and collars
  • Vaccination and medical records
  • Photos and descriptions of each pet
  • Pet first aid kit and pet first aid book

Pet First Aid

Attend one of the San Diego Humane Society's Pet First Aid certification classes so that you are able to care for your pet if you are unable to get them to a veterinarian right away.

Emergency Numbers

If you have to evacuate at the last minute and cannot take your pets, don't be a hero and return to the danger zone to try to rescue them. Contact a trained professional rescue team, such as the San Diego Humane Society's Animal Rescue Reserve 24-hour hotline: 619.299.0871.


About the San Diego Humane Society's Animal Rescue Reserve:
A program of the Humane Law Enforcement department, ARR is a team of highly trained volunteers dedicated to assisting during disasters by safely evacuating horses, livestock, and household pets. ARR responds anywhere in San Diego County when an animal is in peril and needs human intervention to be removed from a dangerous situation.
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