It's About Pets
Disaster Planning for Livestock Owners

Print this page
E-mail this page


 PLAN AHEAD. Determine the best place for animal confinement in case of a disaster. Find alternate water sources in case power is lost and pumps are not working or have a hand pump. You should have a minimum of three days feed and water on hand.

EVACUATION. Decide where to take animals if evacuation is necessary. Contact fairgrounds, other producers, and stockyards about their policies and ability to take livestock temporarily in an emergency. Have several sites in mind. Familiarize yourself with several evacuation routes to your destination.

IDENTIFICATION. This is critical! Photograph, identify, and inventory your animals. Permanent identification such as brands, tattoos, eartags, or microchips are best. Temporary identification, such as tags on halters, livestock markers, paint, and duct tape with permanent writing will also work. Include your name and phone number. Keep identification information with you to verify ownership.

MEDICAL RECORDS AND VACCINATIONS. Your animals need to have current vaccinations. Keep medical histories and record special dosing instructions and dietary requirements. Write down contact information for your veterinarian.

VEHICLES. Keep trailers and vans well maintained, full of gas, and ready to move at all times. Be sure your animals will load. If you don't have your own vehicles, make arrangements with local haulers or neighbors before disaster strikes.

Disaster Preparedness Kit  

  • Your veterinarian's information
  • Portable radio and extra batteries
  • Plastic trash barrel with a lid
  • Water buckets
  • Feed for three days (minimum)
  • Animal restraint equipment (ropes and halters)
  • First-aid items
  • Tarps
  • Portable generators
  • Flashlights
  • Lime or bleach
  • Leads and halters
  • Wire cutters
  • Sharp knife


 Listen to the Emergency Alert System ( EAS ) on the TV or radio.

Evacuate your livestock early, if possible, to ensure their safety and ease your stress.

Take all vaccination and medical records, the disaster preparedness kit, and enough hay, feed, and water for three days.

Call your destination to make sure space is still available.

Use roads not in use for human evacuation when you transport your animals to your sheltering site.

If you must leave your animals, leave them in the pre-selected area appropriate for disaster type.

Leave enough hay for 48 to 72 hours. Do not rely on automatic watering systems. Power may be lost.


 Check pastures and fences for sharp objects, debris, and downed power lines that could injure livestock. Beware of local wildlife that may have entered the area and could pose a danger to your animals.

Familiar scents and landmarks may have changed, and animals can easily become confused and lost.

If you find someone else's animal, isolate it from your animals until it is returned to its owner or examined by a veterinarian. Always use caution when approaching and handling strange or frightened horses or livestock.

If you've lost an animal, contact veterinarians, humane societies, stables, surrounding farms, and other facilities. Listen to the EAS for groups that may be accepting lost animals.

Check with your veterinarian for information about possible disease outbreaks.

For additional disaster preparedness information, see other documents on this website or visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture's website at .