How Natural Disasters Can Devastate Animals

Animals were escorted to safety during the wildfires near Colorado Springs. Photo Credit:

(ANIMAL WELFARE) Whether there’s a flood or a fire, pets and wildlife can be incredibly vulnerable during a natural disaster. But regardless of what Mother Nature may throw at us, there’s no doubting humans offer animals the best chance of survival.

Read the full article below for more on how natural disasters impact the lives of pets and wildlife, and learn how you can help animals in need. — Global Animal

During a natural disaster, do not leave your pet alone. Photo Credit: Reuters/Mark Wallheiser

The Effects of Natural Disasters on the Lives of Animals

Natural disasters can have a devastating effect on not only the people in the area, but also the animals that have made their homes there. Although most animals can sense the onset of these types of events they do not always manage to come out of them unscathed. This includes both wild animals that cannot escape the danger and domesticated animals that are lost or left behind during a disaster.

Wild Animals

Many wild animals have to deal with seasonal events such as flooding and wildfires, in addition to the erratic occurrences of other natural disasters. The negative impact of a natural disaster on wildlife is usually brought on by the harm to their habit rather than the animals themselves. However, there are times when animals are unable to escape the scope of the disaster due to its size or nature.  Floods and wild fires are two of the most difficult occurrences for wild animals to survive.

  • Fires that spread rapidly with powerful wind can be disorienting and sometimes impossible to escape. They also result in extensive damage to the natural habitat, which has long-term ramifications for the animals.
  • Floods can pose a great challenge for wild animals when there is nowhere to escape from the rising water. They can alter and damage their habitat and result in loss of animal life.
Animals were escorted to safety during the wildfires near Colorado Springs. Photo Credit:

Domesticated Animals

Pets and other domesticated animals are incredibly vulnerable during a natural disaster since they rely heavily on their guardians. It is not uncommon for pets to be abandoned during these events and put at risk for being trapped or lost. This leaves them to fend for themselves and usually ends in their demise.

In the aftermath of a disaster, animal shelters will usually be overflowing with pets that are in danger of being euthanized to make room for other animals. In these cases, the only help that these animals receive is from volunteers that try to reunite them with their pet guardians or drive the animals to no-kill shelters to give them a better chance of survival. Here are some things to keep in mind for your pets in the case of an emergency:

Belinda Penn held her dogs, Winston and Baxter, after being rescued from their home in Spring on Monday. Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/Associated Press
  • Do not leave your pet with the intention of retrieving them later. You might have to end up leaving them permanently if you choose to do so.
  • In addition to create an emergency preparedness kit for yourself, create one for your animal as well. This can be made up of things such as a carrier, a towel, a leash, food and water as well as some basic medical supplies.

Humans offer the best chance of survival for animals during natural disasters. Whether these animals are wild or domesticated they can benefit from our support. You can start by being prepared with your own pets, but if you want to go a step further, you can donate money or time to organizations that focus on animals during disaster relief efforts.

Author Bio: Sarah Sorenson works with, which was established to help alleviate the suffering of those in need. allocates donations and resources to areas that require life-saving items following a disaster. It also collaborates with other disaster relief organizations to help place volunteers in positions where they can contribute to the relief efforts on a local or a global scale.



  1. Good article. I think that there are two side to this. Some humans do a lot to help animals (not just their own) during a natural disaster. Others panic and think only of themselves and their human family. Pets have been abandoned on numerous occasions during disasters.