Search and Rescue dog.

After disaster strikes, people may find themselves displaced from their homes without any belongings and they may not have any necessary items to care for their pets.

C.A.R.E. for Paws creates pet disaster relief kits for distribution through the Northeast Wisconsin chapter of The Red Cross to help owners care for their pets while they are in transition after a disaster.

Each kit for dogs contains a blanket, two stainless steel bowls for food and water, food, a toy, and a slip leash. Each kit for cats also contains a litter box and scoop. The cardboard containers that hold these items can be used as carrying crates for cats and small dogs.

What to Do

During a Disaster

Evacuate your family, including your animals, as early as possible. By leaving early, you will decrease the chance of becoming victims of the disaster.

  • Bring your dogs, cats, and other small animals indoors.
  • Make sure all animals have some form of identification securely fastened to them (or their cage, in the case of smaller, caged pets). The utilization of permanent identification is encouraged.
  • Place all small pets, cats, and small dogs, inside individual transportable carriers.
    When stressed, animals that normally get along may become aggressive.
  • Secure leashes on all large dogs.
  • Load your larger animal cages/carriers into your vehicle. These will serve as temporary housing for your animals if needed.
  • Load the animal evacuation kit and supplies into your vehicle.
  • Call your prearranged animal evacuation site to confirm availability of space.
  • Implement your equine/livestock evacuation plan.
  • If evacuation of horses/livestock is impossible, relocate them to the safest place possible based on the type of imminent disaster and your environment, realizing that the situation could be life threatening.
  • Make sure that they have access to hay or an appropriate and safe free-choice food source, clean water, and the safest living area possible including high ground above flood levels.
  • Do not rely on automatic watering systems, because power may be lost.
  • The decision to leave your horses/livestock in the field or in the barn should be based on the risks of injury resulting from the disaster as well as from the horse’s/livestock’s immediate environment during that disaster.
  • Factors to consider include the stability of the barn, the risk of flooding, and the amount of trees and debris in the fields.
  • If time permits, secure or remove all outdoor objects that may turn into dangerous flying debris.

After a Disaster

  • Survey the area inside and outside your home to identify sharp objects, dangerous materials, wildlife, contaminated water, downed power lines, or other hazards.
  • Examine your animals closely, and contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe injuries or signs of illness.
  • Release equine/livestock in safe and enclosed areas only. Initial release should take place during daylight hours, when the animals can be closely observed.
  • Release cats, dogs, and other small animals indoors only. They could encounter dangerous wildlife and debris if they are allowed outside unsupervised and unrestrained.
  • Reintroduce food in small servings, gradually working up to full portions if animals have been without food for a prolonged period of time.
  • Allow uninterrupted rest/sleep for all animals to recover from the trauma and stress.
  • If your animals are lost, physically check animal control and animal shelters DAILY for lost animals.
  • Post waterproof lost animal notices and notify local law enforcement, animal care and control officials, veterinarians, and your neighbors of any lost animals (utilize online resources for lost and found animals).

Photo Gallery

Simply click on any of the pictures below to launch an interactive slideshow.

What People
Have Said

"In the event of a disaster, a family is so upset, and they are so concerned about their animals, so the kits add a small measure of comfort in a terrible time.  The kits assist our clients in being more comfortable in their temporary lodging-whether it is a hotel or relative's home. And it also allows the client not to have to use their money on replacing pet equipment immediately. I cannot tell you how the clients look at us when we provide these kits.  I wish you could experience it just once.  They are so amazed that we have thought about their beloved animals in a disaster, and that is thanks to your foresight in this."
- Nancy - Red Cross Volunteer