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Emergencies: be prepared, not scared!


Emergencies come in many forms — hurricanes, flash floods, wildfires — and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your dog or cat safe. The best thing you can do is to be prepared.

Frightened animals frequently slip out through open doors, broken windows, or damaged areas of their homes. These lost animals face harsh elements, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, and they could be a victim of fallen debris or traffic accidents. Planning and organization will ensure your dogs and cats are safe and secure throughout the stress of a natural disaster.


  • Keep a list of local kennels that board animals during evacuations, make temporary pet care arrangements with family or friends out of the area, and be familiar with pet-friendly hurricane shelters and motels throughout your region. 

  • Most shelters, kennels, and hotels require current records of vaccines, as well as identification, kennels/carriers, food/water, and other provisions. If your pet isn’t vaccinated, call us at 863-646-7722. Your pet must be up-to-date on vaccines to enter a shelter.

  • Make certain that your dogs and cats are always identified with a collar and tag or preferably with a permanent microchip. Call SPCA Florida at 863-646-7722 to get a microchip for your cat or dog. Collars and tags can slip off, and a microchip is the most reliable way to ensure you can be reunited.

  • Keep a photo of your pet with you in case you’re separated.

  • Technology might fail. Keep copies of your pets’ documents on paper, and make sure you know where you have your pets’ vaccination records.

  • Making arrangements for your four-legged family members in advance, and having your animal’s survival kit ready to go, will help reduce the stress of a looming storm. 

Four easy steps to keeping everyone safe

1. Know where your shelter is.

Never leave your pets behind. Find a safe place for them ahead of time.

There are shelters that accept pets.


See the 2022 shelter map for Polk County.

Confirm that the shelter is open and operating before going there.

Polk County recommends pre-registering to make sure there is room. 


2. Make sure your pets are up-to-date on vaccines

If they are not up-to-date on vaccines, contact your veterinarian or our clinic today. Call us at 863-646-7722. 

Most shelters, kennels, and hotels will only accept pets who are vaccinated.

3. Make sure your pets can be identified

A microchip is the best. If your pet isn't microchipped, call us at 863-646-7722. Make sure you have the microchip number with you. It's also a good idea to keep photos of your pets with you, in case you're separated.

4. Prepare carrier and supplies ahead of time

Many shelters require carries, at least for cats. Check ahead of time. The CDC has put together wonderful checklists for your pet's emergency kit.

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