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Disaster Preparedness
Remember Pets During A Disaster
Very few public emergency shelters accept pets, so it's a pet owner's responsibility to make a plan that will help get your family and pet(s) safely through a natural or man-made disaster.  


Before The Storm

Include your pet(s) in your family disaster plan. They rely on you, so don't leave them to fend for themselves. Download Hillsborough County's handy Protecting Pets In Disasters flyer, or check out these tips:

  • Keep your pet's rabies and other vaccinations current, as boarding kennels will require proof of these vaccinations before accepting your pet.
  • Microchip your pet, and register the chip with a second (emergency) contact number. 
  • Get a pet carrier (portable kennel) or a crate large enough to allow each household pet to stand up and turn around inside.
  • Have extra collars, leashes, muzzles or a harness.
  • Locate pet friendly motels or hotels away from flood areas.
  • Locate veterinary clinics or boarding kennels in areas outside of the storm surge area.
  • Locate pet friendly shelters, to be used only as a last resort. 
  • Place your pet's identification records and medical information into a water proof package, and include a recent photograph of you and the pet.
  • Have sufficient amounts of pet food, water, and special medications on hand for two weeks.
  • Bring a non-electric can opener for canned foods.
  • Bring your pet's favorite toys, towels or bedding.
  • Have newspapers, plastic bags, cleansers, kitty litter, and disinfectants available to handle pet wastes.
  • Have a detailed written description of your pet, any special care instructions, current owners' copy of Hillsborough County rabies registration certificate, and micro-chip or tattoo identification records in your evacuation kit to assist others who may need to help care for your pet in a shelter.


During The Storm

  • Do not leave your pets home alone!
  • Evacuate your family and pets as early and safely as possible.
  • Calmly get your pet into its pet carrier or crate as soon as possible to reduce stress and to keep them from becoming lost.
  • Supply your pet with its favorite items.
  • Comfort and monitor your pet as much as possible.


After The Storm

It could be days, possibly weeks, before your family can return home due to flooding or structural damage.

  • Inspect your home and yard for dangers left over from the storm before allowing your family or pets in.
  • Take caution when allowing your pet outdoors as the usual scents and landmarks familiar to your pet may have changed.
  • Watch for debris and downed power lines.
  • Be attentive for any boil water notices.
  • Be aware of the potential for local water bodies to become contaminated and unsafe for your pet to drink or play in.
  • Remember to apply flea and tick preventatives to keep your pet comfortable and safe from parasites. Important: pets are especially vulnerable to heartworms caused by mosquitoes, so include these preventatives available from a veterinarian in your pet disaster kit. 


Large Animals
For details on how farmers and ranchers can prepare for a hurricane, see the UF/IFAS Extension website.

For more information on disaster preparedness, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Animal Services is tasked with companion pets (not large or farm animals), but the department may be reached at 813-744-5660 or by email at .