AVMA offers disaster readiness and recovery tips for pet owners affected by Hurricane Ian


Expert insight on safely evacuating and returning home from the hurricane for those with pets

According to an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) release,1 currently millions of Florida residents are under evacuation orders as Hurricane Ian barrels towards the state, and many of them will be evacuating with pets.

PiyawatNandeenoparit / stock.adobe.com

PiyawatNandeenoparit / stock.adobe.com

To address this issue, the AVMA has disaster preparedness and recovery resources for pet owners,2 featuring pointers on assembling a pet evacuation kit, what to do if your pet is lost, and what to do following a disaster.

Pet evacuation kits

The AVMA recommends pet owners include these items in their pet evacuation kits1:

Food and medicine

  • 3-7 days' worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food (must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire)
  • 2-week supply of medicine (must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire)
  • At least 7 days' supply of water
  • Feeding dish and water bowl
  • Liquid dish soap

First aid kit

  • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage tape and scissors
  • Cotton bandage rolls
  • Flea and tick prevention (if needed in your area)
  • Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
  • Latex gloves
  • Saline solution
  • Towel and washcloth
  • Tweezers


  • Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
  • Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
  • Household chlorine beach or disinfectant

Important documents

  • Identification papers including proof of ownership
  • Medical records and medication instructions
  • Emergency contact list, including veterinarian and pharmacy
  • Photo of your pet (preferably with you)

Travel supplies

  • Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
  • Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
  • Flashlight, extra batteries
  • Muzzle

Comfort items

  • Favorite toys and treats
  • Extra blanket or familiar bedding

Returning home

When it is safe for pet owners and their beloved companion animals to return home, the AVMA urges them to take measures to ensure the health and well-being of their pets as the environment can possibly be dangerous or stressful.

The AVMA suggests to1:

  • Examine the area inside and outside your home to detect sharp objects, hazardous materials, dangerous wildlife, contaminated water, downed power lines or additional hazards.
  • Do not allow pets to wander outdoors until the area is safe for them to do so. They could confront dangerous wildlife and debris if outside unsupervised and unrestrained. Also, familiar scents and landmarks may have changed, and this can confuse your pets.
  • Allow uninterrupted rest and sleep to enable your pets to recover from the trauma and stress of the evacuation and disaster.
  • The disruption of routine activities can be the main factor leading to stress for your pets, so try to re-establish a normal schedule as quickly as possible.
  • Comfort each other. Petting and snuggling can decrease anxiety for both people and pets.
  • If you recognize any signs of stress, discomfort, or illness in your pets, reach out to your veterinarian for a checkup.


  1. Hurricane Ian: preparing for evacuation and keeping pets safe and healthy when returning home. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. September 27, 2022. September 28, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hurricane-ian-preparing-for-evacuation-and-keeping-pets-safe-and-healthy-when-returning-home-301634812.html
  2. Pets and disasters. American Veterinary Medical Association. September 28, 2022. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/emergency-care/pets-and-disasters
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