Animals and Disasters

This installment of the SAMHSA Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) focuses on how to include pets, service animals, and livestock in disaster plans, as well as other issues around animals and disasters. Topics covered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Disaster preparedness and planning that includes plans for pets and livestock
  • Emergency preparedness for people with service animals
  • Disaster shelters for animals and planning for animals in disasters
  • Ways to cope with the death of a pet
  • Animal welfare and emergency rescue organizations and websites

Use the menu bar at left to narrow the results by condition, specific topic area, and other categories.

Related Resources

Displaying 52 total results.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

The ASPCA's mission is to "provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, and share resources with shelters nationwide.

Assistance Dogs International, Inc. (ADI)

ADI is a coalition of nonprofits that do work related to assistance dogs and the people they help. Assistance dogs help humans live independently and with greater well-being with conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, and diabetes. ADI works for better training, placement, and use of assistance dogs, and for better public education about assistance dogs.

American Red Cross

This tip sheet explains how to prepare for the care of pets during disasters and provides guidance on what to do during an actual disaster event.

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB)

This resource provides information about how children in different developmental stages understand the death of a pet, lists questions children may ask after a pet has passed, and provides guidance on involving children in memorializing their pets.

RedRover

This web page features resources that community leaders can use to develop animal disaster plans or improve their existing plans. It includes a request form to use to obtain RedRover's temporary emergency animal sheltering forms and provides links to examples of other organizations, manuals, and plans that address the care of animals in disasters.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

The CERT Animal Response I course provides information on emergency preparedness for animal owners and ways to recognize specific animal behaviors. It includes an instructor manual, participant manual, and PowerPoint presentation.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

The CERT Animal Response II course prepares emergency responders for situations involving animals that they may experience while performing their job duties.

Helpguide.org

This document provides information on understanding grief and the grieving process after the death of a pet. It reviews different ways to grieve and includes tips for coping with grief experienced when a pet dies.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

This online article includes information regarding the grief process as it relates to the death of a pet. It discusses ways that both children and older adults may cope differently from other age groups and includes possible signs of grief in other pets still at home.

University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR)

This guidance offers animal care procedures and emergency-related forms that may be useful in developing a disaster preparedness and response plan. It provides information about disaster preparedness training and resources as they relate to animals.

USA Today

This article includes stories from actual disaster situations involving animals and provides tips for how to rescue pets as part of disaster planning. [Author: Bevan, L.]

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

This manual provides detailed guidance for writing a disaster plan inclusive of all types of animals, such as companion animals, agricultural animals, small exotic pets, exotic wildlife, and native wildlife. It incorporates the need to involve the local community and state government in the plan and includes chapters on development of a plan, services to be provided, equipment and supplies, public health and safety issues, and ways to work with the media.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The HSUS is the nation's largest animal protection organization. It is a leading disaster relief agency for animals that provides direct care for thousands of animals at its sanctuaries and rescue facilities, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile veterinary clinics. The HSUS's Disaster Preparedness web page includes resources on disaster preparedness for farm animals and horses as well as disaster planning for families and pets. Also included is information regarding keeping pets safe in tornadoes.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

This brochure provides information regarding barn fires as they relate to horses. It provides tips for fire prevention as well as explaining how being prepared can save your horses. This brochure also includes steps to take should a barn fire occur.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

This brochure provides information regarding livestock and disasters. It lists precautions to take, tips for sheltering in place, and evacuation planning guidance. This brochure also lists essential items to include in a farm disaster kit.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

This brochure provides emergency and disaster planning information as it relates to the care of pets. It provides tips for how to care for pets if evacuation is required during a disaster, as well as when sheltering in place.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

This resource is designed for veterinarians and pet and livestock owners interested in all-hazards/all-species veterinary and animal emergency issues. It contains a wealth of information about disaster planning and the needs of animals.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)

This document defines what assistance dogs are and describes the various types of assistance they can provide. In addition, information is also provided regarding how disaster relief workers and shelters can accommodate persons with disabilities who are partnered with assistance dogs.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)

This booklet provides information regarding the United States Department of Agriculture's responsibilities during emergencies. These include, but are not limited to, monitoring for and responding to animal/plant pest and disease situations and providing for the safety and well-being of household pets.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)

This paper describes a cross-sectional study about epidemiologic features of pet evacuation failure after a hazardous chemical spill in which residents had no warning and minimal time to evacuate. [Authors: Health, SE, Voeks SK, Glickman, LT]

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

Most animal response organizations require the following FEMA independent study courses for their staff and/or volunteers. These courses are located on the FEMA Emergency Management Institute's Independent Study Program website IS-100.b - Introduction to Incident Command System
IS-200.b - ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
IS-700.a - National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction
IS-800.b - National Response Framework, An Introduction

Pet-Loss.net

This brochure provides information regarding ways to help a child with the death of a family pet. It includes personal stories, scenarios, and beneficial methods of helping children cope. Also available in handout format at http://www.pet-loss.net/handouts/children.pdf [Author: Allen M.A.]

HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response (AACR)

According to its website, "HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a national all-volunteer, non-profit, crisis response organization with specially trained handlers (psychological first aid, incident command, etc.) and canines trained and tested for crisis response work. Agencies call upon HOPE AACR teams to provide comfort and support to people affected by disasters."

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

According to its online description, this course is intended to increase awareness and preparedness among animal owners and care providers, and to describe how typical hazards affect animals and what can be done by responsible owners to reduce the impact of disasters.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

According to its web page, this course provides information for groups to meet and develop meaningful and effective plans that improve the care of animals, their owners, and the animal-care industries in disasters. Objectives for this course include "to learn how to develop a community plan for managing animals in an emergency, identify hazards and threats most likely to affect your community and ways to minimize their impact on animals . . . describe resources available to help communities recover from a disaster."

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

According to its online description, this course combines the knowledge of livestock producers and emergency managers to present a unified approach to mitigate the impact of disasters on animal agriculture. . . . The objectives of this course are to learn [to] understand issues that arise when disasters affect livestock, determine a farm's susceptibility to hazards, and identify actions to reduce economic losses and human and animal suffering in disasters.

Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART)

This plan has been developed for the operation of evacuation points and household pet shelters serving parishes within the State of Louisiana. Its purpose is to enable residents with household pets to evacuate during an emergency, and to control and support the humane care and treatment of household pets during an emergency.

Pet-Loss.net

This document provides tips for developing a pet memorial that might help with coping and grief by providing a loving reminder of the pet. Also available in handout format at http://www.pet-loss.net/handouts/memorials.pdf [Author: Allen, M. A.]

National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs

NASAAEP is a collaborative alliance of state programs charged with planning, preparing for, and responding to disasters involving animals. A primary goal of NASAAEP is to provide communication and networking to facilitate information sharing and effective planning at the local, state, and federal levels. A library of Best Practices Working Group Materials is available at https://www.thenasaaep.com/workshp-resources.

State of North Carolina

This web page provides a variety of resources related to animal sheltering. It includes proposed animal sheltering guidelines and examples of recommended animal sheltering forms.

American Red Cross

This part of the American Red Cross's website provides information about caring for pets before, during, and after disasters. It offers information on assembling an emergency kit for your pet and creating an emergency plan for your pet.

Pet-Loss.net

This website provides information, fact sheets, brochures, materials, and resources that can be helpful when dealing with the death of a pet.

American Red Cross

This document offers information regarding the role of the American Red Cross in disaster relief work as it relates to pet sheltering. It includes guidance regarding communication and mass care and provides examples of effective programs to support the care of pets.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

This web page provides information regarding caring for animals during an emergency. It includes guidelines for caring for pets and livestock, as well as links to related websites.

Petswelcome.com

This website helps pet owners locate pet-friendly lodging and other pet-related travel services and information.

National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs

This paper provides general guidance for the preparation of informational materials for community outreach. It includes information about how to develop appropriate public messaging content, and why the means of message delivery is as important as its content. In addition, it discusses how messaging can be delivered and by whom, as well as who should receive messages and why.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS, FEMA)

This brochure provides information on preparing for disasters by getting a pet emergency supply kit, staying informed about different types of emergencies, and responding appropriately to different emergency situations.

RedRover

RedRover focuses on strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance, and education.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)

This article reports on the importance of taking into account the human-animal bond in advance planning for natural disasters in the United States. [Citation: Beaver BV, Gros R, Bailey EM, Lovern CS. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2006 Sep 15;229(6):943-8.]

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)

In this article, the authors describe a cross-sectional survey they conducted of pet owners regarding their attachment and commitment to their pets and their evacuation practices with their pets after a flood-related order for mandatory evacuation. Based on their findings, authors note, activities to strengthen the bond between humans and their pets may lower the likelihood of their failing to evacuate with their pets during a disaster. [Citation: Heath SE, Beck AM, Kass PH, Glickman LT. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jun 15;218(12):1905-10.]

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS)

This brochure provides information regarding APHIS, which can serve as a disaster planning resource for State and local entities. The service can also provide critical expertise and support during a disaster.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

This booklet was developed to help pet owners avoid having to leave their animals stranded in the event of a disaster or an evacuation. It includes detailed information on assembling emergency kits and plans addressing the needs of a wide variety of animals including livestock. This document is also available in Spanish at https://ebusiness.avma.org/files/productdownloads/STWF_Spanish.pdf

University of Kansas, Research and Training Center on Independent Living

This is a form that service animal owners should fill out and keep with the service animal at all times during a disaster or emergency situation. Should the service animal be separated from its owner, the form will provide guidance regarding care instructions and emergency contact information.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

According to this document, it is designed to "outline[s] the essential issues that jurisdictions should consider when developing plans to provide pet-friendly sheltering for people before, during, or after an emergency that requires a large-scale evacuation."

Pet-Loss.net

This document describes common responses of children dealing with the death of a pet and provides tips about ways to cope with the grief and difficult decisions that may need to be made. Also available in handout format at http://www.pet-loss.net/handouts/tentips.pdf [Author: Allen, M. A.]

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB)

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is a nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers trained in pet bereavement counseling. This organization is dedicated to helping people through the grieving process.

Journal of Traumatic Stress

This paper reports on a study in which researchers examined associations between and among the death of a pet, perceived social support after a hurricane, and psychological distress. [Citation: Lowe SR, Rhodes JE, Zwiebach L, Chan CS. J Trauma Stress. 2009 Jun;22(3):244-7. doi: 10.1002/jts.20403.]

Pet-Loss.net

This document provides guidance regarding how to cope with the immediate grief experienced when a pet dies. It provides 10 steps that may help pet owners feel better and manage their grief. Also available in handout format at http://www.pet-loss.net/handouts/surviving.pdf [Author: Allen, M.A.]

The National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC)

NARSC works to improve the welfare of animals throughout the United States by identifying, prioritizing, and finding collaborative solutions to major human-animal emergency issues.

Therapy Dogs International

Therapy Dogs International is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulation, testing, and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions, and wherever else therapy dogs are needed.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. The website includes resources from various entities on animal welfare in disaster or emergency situations and provides links to preparedness and rescue information for companion and farm animals.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

This brochure provides information regarding the emotions one might experience after the death of a pet. It reviews the stages of grief, discusses the difficult decision regarding whether or not to get another pet, and provides guidance on remembering the pet. Also available in Spanish at https://ebusiness.avma.org/files/productdownloads/when-your-animal-dies_... [Author: Allen M.A.]

Last Updated: 10/27/2015