Emergencies can happen and it is best to be prepared.  Whether your concern is tornados or hurricanes or other natural disasters, it's important to take precautions for your pets. Here are some tips to help you care for your pets, dogs and cats during stressful emergency situations.  

Know where to go:Not all emergency shelters accept pets - and animal shelters and boarding kennels often have limited space. Contact local humane societies or local chapters of the American Red Cross for a list of emergency shelters that accept pets. Families should keep a list of nearby shelters and veterinarians in an emergency kit.

Keep your pet's medical records on hand: Many kennels and shelters will not take pets without proof of vaccinations, and if a pet is injured or becomes ill during the storm or other emergency, access to medical records will help vets provide better care.

Make sure pets wear ID tags: If a pet becomes lost or escapes during the confusion of an evacuation situation, proper identification will increase the chances of a safe return home. In addition to a collar and tags, consider permanently identifying your pet with a microchip. Almost every animal rescue agency or veterinarian can scan lost pets for microchip identification now.

Get a pet carrier: An individual pet carrier for each pet in the family will make transporting pets safe and give them a feeling of security. Make sure the carrier is approved for airline travel, also.

Create a "Pet Preparedness Kit'': The kit should contain bottles of water, extra food, extra blankets, a soft muzzle, collars and leashes a first aid kit and a week's supply of any special medication and dosage instructions.