Disaster Preparedness

Orange County Animal Services urges residents to begin making preparations for an active hurricane season. Start today, not when disaster strikes.

It is important for pet owners to have a written disaster plan that includes their pets. Under no circumstances should pets be left behind in the case of an emergency.

Orange County Government offers four pet-friendly shelters. Locations will be announced by the Office of Emergency Management as storms approach. In addition, lists of pet-friendly hotels are available online.


First, schedule an appointment to talk to a veterinarian about planning for a disaster. Ensure vaccinations are up to date and secure a copy of the pet's medical records.

Assemble a "Pet Disaster Kit." The kit and supplies should be stored in an accessible location in the event that someone else has to handle transport for the pet(s). Keep the kit updated and available.

Suggested items include:

  • 1 gallon zipper storage bag to hold the contents
  • Sandwich-sized bags for pet treats and a small toy(s)
  • Pet health records (each pet should display a current rabies tag at all times)
  • Current picture of pet with name, address and phone numbers
  • Collar and leash for dogs, and an adjustable collar for cats
  • An extra identification tag
  • Any special pet information

Be sure to share this plan with others. Have a designated person who can transport pets in the case of an emergency.

If forced to evacuate, pet(s) should NOT be left behind. As the disaster approaches, bring all pets in the house so searching for them won’t be necessary. Pets are not permitted in Red Cross shelters (except for working dogs for people with special needs). Plan to go to a friend or relative's home, or a hotel/motel where pets are welcome.

Supplies for Pets

After the Disaster

The disaster will have altered the pet’s normal scent markers and may cause them to get lost. Stay with them when they are outdoors.

The animal will probably be disoriented and frightened. Be patient and understanding.

Consult a veterinarian if any behavior or physical problems persist.

Also, be aware of fallen power lines, scattered debris, flooding and misplaced wildlife, all of which can be a danger to pets.

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