A pet is part of your family, so it’s crucial to include them in your disaster plans. FEMA put together a disaster guide for for pet owners. While this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, it is a good place to start planning for what to do to for your animal friends. [content-1]


Luckily for us, unlike with tornados or earthquakes, we can tell when a hurricane is coming. That gives you some time to prep, so don’t forget your furry, scaley, feathered, or other, friends who depend on you.

Identification and Microchips
The ASPCA recommends all pets having a collar with identification information, including their name, telephone number, and any important medical info.

Get your pet microchipped if they’re not. If they are chipped, make sure you have documentation and that the contact information in the chip is up-to-date. Most importantly, your phone number and emergency contact (a person – besides you! – who can be reached just in case) should be current.

Have the essentials ready:

  • a leash, collar, or a cat or dog appropriate crate
  • two-week supply of food and water (Don’t forget those bowls!)
  • vaccination records
  • current rabies vaccination tag
  • medications
  • written instructions for feeding
  • favorite toys or familiar items to comfort your pet
  • litter and a disposable litter tray for your feline friend

Take photos of your pets.
Take photos from multiple angles in case your pet goes missing or if you need to identify them, and include a photo of you and your pet together. If you become separated, it helps identify them and document they’re yours.

Bring everyone inside.
At the first signs of the storm, be sure to bring all of your animals inside, or ensure that they have adequate shelter outside.

Should you evacuate:

This should go without saying, but take your animal with you. If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for them.

If you are evacuating
Make sure you are going somewhere that is pet-friendly or that will waive their animal policy during an emergency. For pet friendly lodging, check out gopetfriendly.com.

Emergency shelters
Many emergency shelters are not pet friendly, but they will try to accommodate you if at all possible. Don’t risk it because there are two pet friendly shelters in Summerville at Cane Bay High School and Dubose Middle School. Please note, you must stay with your pet at the shelter and bring supplies including a crate and leash. For more information, visit scemd.org.

If you’re not home
If you’re not home or have animals that can’t be moved, like an aquarium, ask someone you trust to check on them.

Local shelters, including the Berkeley County Animal Center and Charleston Animal Society, are at capacity and could use help. While it’s not ideal, if you have room for one more to foster or to adopt, it might be a good time to do so.

For more comprehensive disaster guides, including information for feathered, scaly, or aquatic pets, the ASPCA, Red Cross, and Ready.Gov, have additional information.