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Evacuation Health and Safety Tips

When animals are evacuated from the familiar surroundings of their homes during an emergency, they often experience stress and fear and can be exposed to diseases from other animals. To prevent your pets from suffering illness, injury or excessive stress during an evacuation, follow these tips.

  • Put a temporary identification tag on your pet. If you are staying at a shelter, hotel or other temporary site, a temporary identification tag with your current location information and a cell phone number or other number where you can be reached will help you find your pet if you get separated. 
  • Put safety first. If you are in an unfamiliar place, especially a hotel or large evacuation shelter, you will encounter many animals, people and children who may have varied experience with animals. Animals can be easily frightened in stressful situations and may become aggressive or defensive. Keep your pet restrained in a carrier or crate or on a leash at all times and avoid having your pet come in direct contact with other pets when possible.
  • Watch for signs of illness. Stress or eating different food can cause diarrhea in pets, especially dogs. If your dog is experiencing loose stools, make sure that fresh water is available at all times. Take dogs out for frequent, short walks. If their normal food is unavailable, supplement their food with white rice and cottage cheese. If the problem persists, consult a veterinarian.

    Oreo safely evacuated the October 2007 Southern California wildfires with his family. But the stress of moving among unfamiliar homes and hotels caused him to aggravate his previously broken leg, causing additional trauma that required costly veterinary treatment to repair.

  • Comfort your pet. Give your pets extra reassurance and attention to help keep them calm. Some animals may find toys, especially long-lasting chew toys, comforting. Your animals will appreciate your calm presence and soft, comforting voice, and you may find it comforting to spend time with them, too.
  • Seek assistance. If you find you are unable to care for your pet because of destruction of or damage to your residence, RedRover is offering RedRover Relief Grants to assist pet owners with vet care, temporary boarding and transportation. Learn more at or call (916) 429-2457.