Pet Preparedness


By: Dr. Veja Tillman, DVM

It is officially hurricane season in southwest Florida. It’s time to get our pet(s) emergency and disaster ready. Whether it is the next hurricane or other natural disaster, or it is man-made, having a plan for your pets must be included with your family’s emergency plan.


A collection of basic supplies that you may need in the event of an emergency.

  • Food and water for at least 3 days
  • Pet medications (2 weeks supply replaced often to maintain their quality based on expiration dates.)
  • Pet First Aid Kit
  • Updated Pet Identification (microchip, ownership documentation, your contact information, pictures of you and your pet together, etc)
  • Updated vaccination documents (include the name of your veterinarian with telephone number, address and email)
  • Crate or carrier, harness or leash/collar
  • Pet litter, paper towels, plastic bags, cleaning supplies
  • Familiar items (favorite toys, bedding, treats, etc)
  • Assemble kit in an easy-to-carry, waterproof tote; stored in an easily accessible area away from extreme temperature changes and keep this kit in a designated place ready in case you must leave home/ work quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Consult your veterinarian for advice on making a pet emergency kit that is appropriate for your pet’s individual needs.


  • Identify family or friends who will be willing to take you and your pets in during and/or after an emergency.
  • Locate hotels that are pet friendly outside of the evacuation/ emergency area.
  • Research local boarding facilities that are emergency shelters for pets incase you are not able to evacuate with your pet.
  • Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning, especially if your pet has medical conditions that require consistent monitoring and supervision.
  • Gather contact information for animal emergency treatment facilities locally and outside of the emergency zone.


  • Be aware of the types of emergencies / disasters that can happen where you live and work.
  • Sign up to receive local emergency alerts on your cell phone or email available through your city and county.
  • Tune into your state and federal emergency management websites and social media for information from official sources.
  • Become familiar with your local emergency response plan, evacuation routes, etc


Dr. Tillman is a 2002 graduate of Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. Her veterinary practice and work experience focuses on health and wellness of pets. She is the owner of Just 4 Pets Wellness Center and can be reached at 239-270-5721.

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