National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is observed next on Saturday, May 10th, 2025 (322 days from today).

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National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on the second Saturday in May was founded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Citizen Corps. It is a great day to check on and freshen up your pet’s emergency kit

Natural disasters can be difficult for people and animals such as dogs, cats, and many others.

Pet owners need to take care of their pets much more, especially in a disaster. A lot of effective guidance and advice on keeping animals safe during natural disasters are given by Federal Emergency Management Agency.

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is celebrated all around the world to raise awareness about animal preparedness for disasters.

Some important things to face to disasters

There are many forms relating in emergencies with anything from a brief absence from home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster will need a different measure in order to keep your pets safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared well. Here are simple steps you can take now to make sure you're ready before the next disaster hits:

  • Pet owners may wonder if they can deposit their pets at a local animal shelter if their own home is lost in a natural disaster. Dr. Johnson-Walker explains that local municipalities are required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to have a place to take pets in times of need.
  • The PETS is also known as Animal Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act 2006 that requires the director of FEMA to ensure that the needs of individuals with pets and service animals are met at the state and federal level during and after a major disaster or says Dr. Johnson-Walker.
  • It is explained that FEMA leaders have recognized that some pet owners will not evacuate in a life-threatening situation without their pets. However, if you cannot prove that your animal is receiving vaccines, shelters may refuse to accept your pet, so that is another reason, it is important that you follow up with annual veterinary visits.
  • According to Dr. Johnson-Walker, the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention kept in human shelters inform that all dogs, cats, and ferrets must have evidence to be vaccinated against rabies or be vaccinated when entering temporary shelters.
  • How about relocating large animals or exotic pets? They are small mammals, reptiles, and birds. Dr. Johnson-Walker says there may be some limitations, depending on the species. For example, some animal shelters may not be equipped or willing to take care of snakes. Reptile owners should contact their local animal shelter and check which animals will be accepted during a natural disaster. Prepare every necessary thing with friends or neighbors will be the best thing you can do.
  • Dr. Johnson-Walker recommends keeping your pet's medical records with the rest of the family's important records or in an electronic database for easy access in the event of an emergency. It is especially necessary for the pet in process of treatment for a chronic illness. It is possible to provide medications for the animals; however, they have to know what they are and their benefits.
  • Just as families always have an emergency kit ready for their humans, don't forget your pet's emergency kit. This emergency kit should include most of the same things a person would need. Dr. Johnson-Walker recommends a kit that includes the following: enough food and water to last for at least 3 days, any medications the pet is currently taking, a leash, collar, records, first aid kit and recent photos of the animal.
  • For people who keep their animals in kennels or pens, Dr. Johnson-Walker recommends to research the facility's plan for animals in any cases. By this way, you will know correctly the location of your animal in case the facility has to move.

Dr. Johnson-Walker also noted that the University Of Illinois One Health Center is working with companion animal rescue groups, zoos and aquariums to plan for emergencies.

  • Dr. Johnson-Walker explained that Incident Command System (ICS) training is currently offered through the College of Animals, which is funded by partnership agreements with USDA Animal Care and a gift from the Noah's Wish foundation. Incident Command System is a tool to enhance emergency response cooperation and communication. Expanding opportunities relating ICS training to every people who work with companion animals, pets and captive wildlife is our big goal. We want to make sure they can work effectively with disaster first responders so the needs of the animals in our community can be part of our response and recovery plan.

Think about basics for survival

  • Animal emergency supply kit
  • Prepare two kits: one if you decide to stay and a smaller kit that you can take with you.
  • Food Store food for at least 3 days in an airtight waterproof container
  • Water: Prepare at least 3 days of water
  • Medicines, medical records, and vaccine records
  • First-aid kit with some important things includes cotton bandages, bandages, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea/tick prevention, latex gloves, rubbing alcohol and saline solution.
  • Collar with ID tag, harness and lanyard: Keep copies of your rabies card/certificate as well as registration.
  • The kennel or other pet should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn, and lie down. They include blanket/towel that can be used as a bed or to keep warm in the event of a power outage.
  • Sanitize: pet litter and litter box, paper towels, plastic trash bags, household chlorine bleaches (no fragrance or color-safe bleach).
  • Take a photo of you and your pet: If you are separated from your pet in an emergency, you will have to prove ownership including detailed information on species, breed, age, sex, color, and other distinguishing features. Along these lines, make sure your pet has a microchip and that your address and contact information is up to date.

After the Disaster

  • Check some area inside and outside your home to identify sharp objects, hazardous materials, dangerous wildlife, contaminated water, downed power lines or other hazards.

Examine your animals closely, and contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe wounds or signs of illness.

Familiar scents and landmarks may be changeable, which may confuse your animals.

Only keep horses/cattle in safe and enclosed areas during the day when the animals can be celebrated closely.

  • Only keep cats, dogs and other small animals indoors. They may encounter dangerous wildlife and debris if allowed to go outside unsupervised and unrestricted.

Release birds and reptiles only when necessary and only when they are calm and in a closed room.

Reintroduce in small portions, gradually until the end of the meal if the animal has not been fed for a long time.

  • Allow long-term rest/sleep to recover from injury and stress.
  • Disruption in daily activities can be the biggest reason of stress for your pet, so make effort to re-establish a schedule as usual as soon as possible.

Comfort each other. The simple act of caressing and hugging can reduce anxiety for both people and pets.

  • If you realize any signs of stress, discomfort, or illness in your pets, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian to schedule an exam.

If Your Animals Are Lost

Physical check of animal control and shelter DAILY for lost animals. Some emergency response agencies may also use the social media in order to share information about losing and finding animals.

Post waterproof lost animal notices and notify your local law enforcement, animal control and care officials, veterinarians, and neighbors of any lost animals (use found and lost animal resources online).

If your animal is lost with locating, notify polices that your animal is missing.


National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day has been observed the second Saturday in May.


Saturday, May 13th, 2023

Saturday, May 11th, 2024

Saturday, May 10th, 2025

Saturday, May 9th, 2026

Saturday, May 8th, 2027

Also on Saturday, May 10th, 2025

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