Veterinary Public Health

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Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Healthy Pets Healthy Families - Disaster Preparedness

Back to Healthy Pets Healthy Families (HPHF)


BackgroundAnimals in carrier


Are you prepared in case of a disaster? Do you have an emergency plan if you need to evacuate? Does this plan include your pets?


Los Angeles (LA) County can be prone to disasters like earthquakes or wildfires. If a disaster occurs, common amenities such as water, gas or electricity may not be working for long periods of time and people may be asked to evacuate. Pets are a member of the family and, just like people, they need to have extra food, water or medications kept aside in case a disaster occurs. In addition, not all rescue shelters allow animals during emergencies so it is very important to know where to bring pets before a disaster occurs.


Facts about disaster preparedness in LA County


  • Earthquakes and wildfires occur commonly in LA County

  • Earthquakes can damage building structures, causing them to be without water, electricity or gas

  • Wildfires can spread quickly, giving people very little time for evacuation

  • LA County is home to an estimated 10 million people and 2.5 million pets

  • In a survey done by  the Veterinary Public Health Program (VPH), more than half of respondents in LA County did not know where to bring their pet in case they need to evacuate

  • During a disaster, animal response groups will be very busy and may not have time to get to you right away, which is why you should prepare on your own


What can people do to protect their families and pets from disasters


  • Make sure you know where you can bring your pet in case of an evacuation, some possibilities include:

    • An out-of-town relative

    • A veterinary clinic or animal shelter

    • A pet-friendly hotel - click here for a list of pet-friendly hotels in your city


  • Prepare your emergency kit beforehand, this kit should last for about 72hrs and some of the items you may need during a disaster include:

    • Extra food & water

    • Cash & other important documents

    • Clothes for everyone

    • A flashlight & radio, with extra batteries

    • A first aid kit

    • Extra medicine

    • Bathroom products - toilet paper, soap, trash bags, paper towels...

    • Other useful objects include tools, a whistle or gloves


  • Likewise, including your pet's needs in your emergency kit means including the following:

    • Extra pet food & water

    • Medical records - such as proof of vaccinations

    • Extra medicine - such as insulin if the pet has diabetes

    • Proper pet identification - usually, both a microchip and an collar with an ID & phone numbers are recommended; consider also carrying a picture of you with your pet

    • Crate/carrier - make sure the carrier fits your pet(s), is sturdy, comfortable and easily moveable

    • Other items - such as a litter box, plastic bags, muzzle, leash

    • Check below for more information on how include your pets' needs in your emergency kit


What the HPHF coalition does to improve disaster preparedness in LA County


Members of the HPHF coalition conduct outreach at health fairs around the county to educate residents on disaster preparedness.


Disaster planning for pet owners flyer. In 2016, HPHF members developed this flyerpdf icon0 to educated pet owners on preparing a disaster plan that includes pets.


More useful information about disaster preparedness



Last updated: January 6, 2020

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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