This blog is part of the MAAP Community Call vlog you can watch that MAAP call replay below:

As we all know, disaster is one of the 10 D’s* that we prepare for when making our MAAP plan. Failing to plan for any of the other 9 D’s can also be a disaster.

What is a disaster? It could be your house on fire, an oncoming tornado or hurricane, flood or mudslide, snow or hail. Anything that would put your pet and yourself in danger.

The PetSmart Charity Pet Preparedness flyer is a good start toward putting together the documentation you need to evacuate with your pets. You will need their identification and vaccination documentation because it is important to be able to show your dogs’ AKC or ILP number, their microchip number, vaccination records in the event you need to go somewhere public where you will need to show the dogs/cats/horses vaccination history.

You should always have a go bag with bottles of water and bags of food ready to go in the event you have little time to prepare. I love those collapsible bowls that make it so easy for one to leave and take two bowls with you.

Be ready before you need to go:

Before disaster strikes, check with people near and far because you don’t know how much area will be affected by the disaster.  Know who could take you and your pets in. This is especially true for horses. It’s not easy to remove horses from a fire, tornado or hurricane. Making sure you know the available local shelters for them with a 5, 10 and 20 mile radius is key.  Temporary shelter could be with friends and family, or it could be shelters that are set up by the state, county or city you live in that you may not be aware of now yet with a little research, you will know soon.


Always have the ability to take all your pets with you. It may be hard in one car, maybe you’ll need to use two or enlist the help of someone else with a bigger automobile. If you have horses, make sure you have hitches on all your cars, even if it’s not suitable for pulling a trailer long distances, it may be suitable for pulling a trailer out of harm’s way.

Always have directives available, especially if you’re not home when a disaster is imminent.  It should have emergency contact information for who to call and who will take care of the pets if you can’t get to them.

Dry run

Finally, I think this is the most important piece of the PetSmart pet preparedness checklist, practice your evacuations. Put the horses in the trailer and hook it up. See how long it takes. Put the dogs and the cat in the car together and see if they can live harmoniously in the car.  Mine would not be able to be together in a confined space.  Make sure you have that go bag and a copy of the documentation you will need and it should be updated every six months.

Thank you PetSmart charities for having such a great evacuation checklist.  Remember to make a plan to navigate the journey your pet takes when you can’t care for it.  Disasters happen without warning, be prepared.

Take Aways:

Make a plan – Address the needs of your pets – Have appointed caregivers to step in if you are not home when disaster strikes and practice the evacuation plan with your pets and publish the evacuation plan with friends and neighbors

You can watch the recorded MAAP call here.

To learn more about working with me to create your own MAAP Plan Blueprint, or to discuss another legal topic concerning your pets, please email at:



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