The question is not “IF” but “WHEN” disaster strikes…
Plan ahead for your pet’s safety, their lives depend on your preparation.
*Please note, Heritage Humane Society is unable to take in owned pets during disasters.
Living in the tidewater region of Virginia, it is crucial to be prepared for the disastrous effects of hurricanes like Florence. If you are a pet-owner it is important to be prepared to evacuate with your pet. If you choose to stay and ride out the storm, your pet’s safety needs to be considered. Because we live in a coastal area, the question is not if, but when. Be prepared ahead of the storm. Here are tips to consider ahead of the storm.
Is your pet’s ID tag and Microchip information up to date? Be sure your pet is microchipped, any vet can do this for a minimal fee. Be sure your pet has a collar, with an up-to-date identification tag. This is the fastest way to reunite pets if they are separated from you.
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Create an emergency kit for your pet ahead of time.
  • Food. At least a seven day supply in an airtight, waterproof container. 
  • Water. At least  seven days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Medicines and medical records. Contact your veterinarian to get pet prescription refills ahead of time. 
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database. 
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down. 
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.  Litter-clean your litter boxes now, you can use a shoe box or cardboard box for a temporary litter pan. A kiddie pool with hay or sod in your garage makes a great bathroom area.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics. 
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
  • Know your pet’s microchip number and company and make sure your information is up to date with the issuing company.  (Courtesy of
If you evacuate, take your pets!


Leaving a pet behind should not be an option. Do your research!
A good rule of thumb is to have a list of 3 (or more) pet-friendly hotels lined up along your evacuation route. Also ask friends or family members if they can take your pets during the storm. If you have more than one pet, it may be easier to have multiple friends/family lined up to care for them away from the storm. 
Find pet-friendly hotels at:
If you choose to stay:
  • Find a location where you and your pets can stay safe together. Create a buddy system for friends or neighbors. Ask if they can take care of your pets if you become unable.
  • Keep your pet’s emergency kit (see above) in a water-tight container. 
  • Keep your dogs on secure leashes, and cats (other small pets) in carriers. 
  • Be sure each pet is wearing secure collars with updated ID Tags. 
  • Bring them inside to a secure location with you. Do not leave them outside to fend for themselves. Do not tie or chain your pet outside
  • Have the emergency kit ready (please see above). 
Do not wait until the last minute to prepare for a disaster to strike. Prepare TODAY!