NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Today marks the official start of hurricane season and the Louisiana SPCA urges pet-owners to create an evacuation plan that includes their pets! Pets are members of the family and should be included in all disaster preparations.

Did you know that before Hurricane Katrina, it’s estimated that roughly 259,400 families owned pets in New Orleans? Because there was no formal evacuation plan for residents needing assistance or for those with pets, as many as 104,000 pets were left behind. 44 percent of those that chose not to evacuate did so because they refused to leave their pets.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods are out of our control.  However, planning for a disaster is something we can all do. Just like other members of your household, emergency planning for your pets requires supplies and advance preparation. The supplies you gather should be able to provide for your pet for at least five days.

Are you ready for hurricane season?

  • Does your pet have up-to-date vaccines and do you have copies of your pet’s medical records?  All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices will require proof of immunization before accepting pets. With vet offices being booked several weeks out, make your appointment today.
  • Are your pet’s ID tags up-to-date? If your contact information or address have changed be sure to get your pet new ID tags.
  • Does your pet have a microchip? This is a permanent form of identification that can be your pet’s round-trip ticket home in the event they get lost. Need a microchip? Schedule an appointment at the Louisiana SPCA’s Community Clinic.
  • Compile a list of places to go. The most ideal place during the pandemic will be pet-friendly hotels. While you can consider staying with family or friends outside of the strike zone be cautious of their potential exposure to COVID-19 and take necessary steps to protect your family. Finding a safe place to evacuate to can be challenging with COVID-19 but preparation is key!

Evacuation Checklist

  • Food and water. Keep food in an airtight, waterproof container. Water for pets should be in addition to the water you need for yourself and family.
  • Medicine and medical records. Keep an extra supply of medicine your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container. All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices require proof of immunization before accepting animals.
  • Collar with ID tag; harness or leash. Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times.
  • Documents. Place copies of your pet’s microchip information, registration, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clear plastic bag or waterproof container.
  • Crate or other pet carrier. Carriers should be large enough for your pet to stand up, completely turn around and lie down. Mark your name, address, phone number and an alternate contact on the carrier.
  • Sanitation. Include pet litter, newspapers, towels, plastic trash bags and cleaners in your evacuation bag so you can pick up after your pet.

New Orleans residents who need assistance to evacuate with their pet are urged to register with the City to participate in the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP) and can register by calling 311. Louisiana SPCA’s New Orleans Humane Law & Rescue will assist City officials in safely evacuating owned animals.

For more information about planning for an evacuation with your pet, visit