Making an emergency plan for you and your pets and animals can save both your lives


BOSTON – SEPTEMBER 15, 2023. As Hurricane Lee heads towards New England, FOUR PAWS, the global animal protection organization, is urging pet owners to prioritize emergency preparedness to ensure the safety and well-being of their beloved animal companions.

While Hurricane Lee is projected to downgrade to a tropical storm (winds 39 MPH and 73 MPH[1]) by the time it hits the Northeast, it can bring damaging winds, coastal and flash flooding, and heightened waves and surf activity. Hurricanes can clearly be a danger not only to humans, but to animals. Every year, hurricanes and tropical storms wreak havoc, displacing families, and their pets. Tragically, many pets are left behind or become separated from their owners. Or, as we witnessed with Hurricane Katrina, many people refuse to leave their pets behind and stay in danger to protect them.

FOUR PAWS is committed to raising awareness about emergency preparedness AND the importance of including pets in your preparedness plan. Most government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly encourage each household to have a predetermined emergency plan (and an emergency bag for every member of the family) in case of an evacuation from their home, neighborhood, town, or city. Your pets should be a part of this plan.

FOUR PAWS has put together some tips to help you be the most prepared for anything that should come your way! Most importantly, plan for your pet BEFORE a disaster strikes. Preparedness saves lives. Put simply, preparedness can be broken down into three major components: Knowing, Planning and Collecting.

1.)    Knowing. This means doing some research to understand the dangers that are most likely to arise in your area. Whether these threats are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or floods, knowing what kinds of dangers you may face is important and could determine your plan. 

2.)    Planning. It is time to make a plan. Now that you know what specific disasters may affect your area, time to plan out how you will react to them. Simplest terms, this is predetermining how you will get out in case of an evacuation, where you would go, or who you will meet. Your disaster preparedness plan should include all members of your family and household. Make sure they all know the plan. You may never know who will be home or the first to be home to safely pack your pets for an evacuation.

3.)    Collecting items to Make a Disaster Kit. Now that you know what kinds of disasters may your our way, and we have a plan on how you will respond, now we need to stock that plan with resources to make it safe and efficient. A Disaster Preparedness Kit for your Pet should contain items such as Food and water for at least five days; food and water bowls; blankets or towels; trash bags (for pet waste); extra collar, harness, or leash, a collapsible crate or carrier; if your animal uses medication, make sure you store a supply of medication as well; Up-to-date contact list including veterinarians, neighbors or animal caretakers, and emergency authorities; copies of your pet’s identification papers and medical records; and lastly, your kit should be stored in an easy-to-carry box in a safe and dry place.

FOUR PAWS has dispatched emergency response and disaster relief teams to many areas around the world to help animals in need after natural disasters. We provide food, medical care, and our expertise to help rescue and care for animals and reunite pets with their families. It is from this experience that we know that nothing can replace preparedness. Make your plan today and practice your plan with the whole family!

You can find additional advice and resources on our website, Disasters and your pets: Are you ready? - FOUR PAWS in US - Global Animal Protection Organization (





FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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