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

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Related Resources

Displaying 53 total results.
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American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) - 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) - 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.

Be Red Cross ready: Pets and disaster safety checklist - 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. Also available in Spanish at

Caring for Animals - 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.

Children and pet loss - 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.

Community animal emergency planning resources - 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.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): Supplemental Module on Animal Response I - 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.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): Supplemental Module on Animal Response Il - 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.

Coping with pet loss: Grieving the death of a dog or cat -
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.

Coping with the death of your pet: How to take care of yourself, your family, and other pets when you've had to say goodbye - 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.

DANR guide to disaster preparedness - 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.

Disaster planning: Community planning: Developing a community disaster plan for animals - 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.

Disaster planning for pets - 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.]

Disaster Preparedness - 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.

Disaster preparedness for horses - 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.

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Last Updated: 10/27/2015