Pet Preparedness Tips

To prepare for Hurricane Irene, Fairfax County encourages residents to take the following precautions with their pets:

Before and during a hurricane, ensure that:

  • You have enough pet food, bottles of water and supplies such as cat litter to last pets several days after the event in case pet stores become inaccessible.
  • All pets are indoors long before the predicted event occurs. Animals can often sense these events prior to their arrival.
  • You have a current photograph of your pet in case your pet becomes lost during the event.
  • Pets are current on vaccinations and you have copies of vaccination certificates in case they are needed, especially if the need arises to take your pet to a temporary shelter, hotel or boarding facility.
  • Dogs and cats are wearing a collar and an identification tag with your home or cell phone number and address on it.
  • You have a carrier for your cats, small mammals, birds or dogs in case they need to be evacuated or relocated. Carriers should be large enough for an animal to stand up and be able to turn around. Label your carrier with your pet’s name, your name, address, phone number and a description of the pet. If a pet becomes fearful during a storm, he or she may feel more comfortable in a carrier or crate covered with a sheet or towel.
  • Your pet has enough medication, if needed, to last several days after the event in case veterinary offices are not open.
  • You have a “go bag” with your pet’s necessary supplies ready should you need to leave your home. Items for this might include food, water, bowls, bedding, first aid kit, leashes, collars, harnesses, plastic bags for clean up, litter box, litter, toys or treats that might be of comfort to your pet, etc.
  • You have a muzzle for your pet if you believe he or she may become agitated during the storm—especially if you have to go to a temporary shelter. Understand that when animals are anxious or frightened, it increases their likelihood to become aggressive or to want to flee.
  • You know where your pet is likely to hide when anxious so you can find your pet if needed.
  • You stay tuned to Fairfax County updates to determine if temporary pet shelters are established or identify pet-friendly hotels if you need to leave your home.

After the hurricane, ensure that:

  • Any debris or dangerous materials are removed before letting pets outdoors in your yard or neighborhood.
  • You reintroduce your pet slowly to his or her surroundings, especially outdoors. Remember, pets may become anxious about any changes to their normal environment.
  • Call or visit the Fairfax County Animal Shelter at (703) 830-1100 or 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA22030if your bet becomes lost or if you find a stray pet. You can also complete a lost or found report online at

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

3 responses to “Pet Preparedness Tips”

  1. Anonymous says :

    is there a free sandbag distribution in Fairfax Co.?

  2. Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

    Fairfax County is not distributing sand bags, but there may be some at local supply stores.

  3. Teddy Kirmizi says :

    Should evacuation become necessary, which locations have been established as shelters accepting dogs?