How to Prepare Your Pet for Emergencies

By Madison F

It's 3:00am and an evacuation alarm sounds. Everyone is groggy, but you know you need to get your family to safety. You run to the closet and grab your family's emergency kit; luckily, you were prepared. 

A whimper from the living room reminds you of the one family member you forgot; your precious dog. It's only now you realize though your human family is prepared, you furry little loved one is not. Your kids are in the car crying, and your wife is comforting them. You have no time to get any supplies for your dog. You clip his leash on and drag the frightened dog to the car. 

Little do you know, your city's evacuation shelter, like many, only allow service animals.
There is no option, you take the leash off your dog and leave him outside hoping he can fend for himself. 
It doesn't have to be like this.
It's 3:00am and an evacuation alarm sounds. Everyone is groggy, but you know you need to get your family to safety. You run to the closet. You grab your family's emergency kit, and the pet emergency kit; luckily, you were prepared. As your wife takes the kids to the car, you run to the living room and pull out the folding dog carrier. As advised by the CDC, you took the time to get your dog familiar with it. He runs inside, and you are able to carry your dog to the car without any hassle. 

You know that the closest evacuation shelter is not pet friendly, but you planned ahead. You know that there is a pet friendly evacuation shelter a town over. Your entire family is safe.
The future is unknown, and when an emergency strikes, it is too late to prepare. Don't be wishing you had done something in the middle of a crisis.
How to Prepare Your Pet for a Disaster
There are many things that you should do to prepare your pet for a disaster. The first thing that should be done is getting a pet emergency kit. For a basic emergency kit, it is critical to at least have the following:
  • Food & water supply for 72 hours: Pets don't eat the same food as us. Human food can be poisonous to pets, and it doesn't give them the nutrients they need. It is important to have a kit where your pet can have food to keep it healthy. You won't always have access to clean water, so having water set aside in any kit is vital, and the same goes for your pet. 
  • First aid kit: Accidents happen. Your pet deserves to be taken care of, and this includes making sure that its injuries can be treated. 
  • Collar & leash: Your pet is going to need to move around. If you don't have a leash, then when frightened, your precious pet might run away. Shelters that are pet friendly will almost always require your pet to be on a leash. 
  • Food & water dishes: Sure, a pet can eat food off the floor, but what about water? It is important to have something that your pet can drink out of so they can stay hydrated. 
  • Pet waste bags and/or litter box: Preventing the spread of bacteria and disease is one of the most important considerations during a disaster. All animals create waste, and it is important to clean up after your pet. Having a way to do that will help you maintain a clean shelter.
  • Medications: If your pet is on any medication, they will still need it when an emergency arises. Make sure that your pet emergency kit has all the medications they will need. 
  • A plan: Not all shelters will allow you to have a pet. Making arrangements and doing research is very important when finding a safe place for your pet. 
  • A picture of your pet and you: Your pet might get lost or run away during the frightening emergency situation. Having a picture of your pet is a great idea, but it is even better if you are in the picture as well. This can be further proof to others that your pet belongs to you
  • Records: Having documentation is important. Shelters may need a vaccination record and documentation that your pet does indeed belong to you. Having information on your pet can also help if you are sheltering your pet at a pet motel or with a friend. 

Now, emergency situations are frightening for anyone, even your pets. For a kit that provides more comfort, love, and care for your precious furry family member have the following in addition to the list above:
  • Blanket: Having some comfort for your pet can make a huge difference when their world collapses. If you have to evacuate, this can hold a lot of security for them. 
  • Carrying case: When a pet gets frightened, it might be difficult to get them to safety. They might not walk on their own, and if you simply pick them up they might jump out of your arms. By having a carrier, you can eliminate these problems. In addition to this, the CDC advises that you get your pet familiar with the carrier ahead of time. This will help them understand that it is safe for them to be in. 
  • Treats: Helping your pet be at ease, can make a huge difference for them. Adding treats to your emergency kit can help give the pet comfort and a reward for being good.
  • Toys: Giving your pet a little security can go a far way. By having toys it can help calm your pet when they are in a stressful environment. If you have small children, it can also help distract them as they play with their pet. 
  • Whistle: There is a possibility that you will get lost, or your dog will. Dogs tend to react to whistles, and it can help them find you. If you and your dog are lost, it can help rescuers find both of you. 
  • Rope and stake: By having a rope and stake, your dog will be able to move around freely in a restricted area. This can help keep them at your camp, or wherever you may be, and still have a bit of freedom. This will also take the worry off your mind of keeping an eye on them, or always holding a leash
Use this list to build a pet emergency kit on your own, or many companies offer pre-built kits you can purchase. You can see our line of pet emergency kits HERE.
For a FREE Pet Emergency Guide, follow the link below. In it you will have access to the information that was discussed here, as well as more in depth information on first aid, sheltering, and other ways to keep your pet safe. It also has places to write down documentation you may need, and a place for that picture of your pet and you. 
No email or subscription necessary 
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