Blog post created by Sam Cryer, Greenhill Humane Society volunteer
Have you ever wondered what would happen to your pet in an emergency? In almost every situation, keeping your pet with you is the best idea. Fortunately, it just takes a little preparation and a basic collection of items to make sure your pet’s needs are met, even if a disaster forces you to evacuate. Learn how to create a pet safety kit that has all the essentials in case you and your pet have to leave home.
Pet Safety Kit Basics
- Water – Make sure your pet safety kit is stocked with the most basic requirement of all: seven days’ worth of clean drinking water. As well as the water itself, pack a bowl or bottle for your pet to drink from.
- Food – Your pet safety kit should include enough food to last your pet three to seven days. Food needs to be rotated regularly, so each time you take a trip to stock up on pet food, replace any unused food in your pet safety kit with a new supply.
- Medicine – If your pet takes medication, be sure to keep extras in your pet safety kit. Ask your vet about buying a small emergency supply, and check with them to see how often you should rotate out medications to make sure they’re still effective.
- First Aid – Big disasters often come with smaller emergencies. Make sure you have animal-safe first aid supplies on hand to deal with injuries and treat potential problems like shock, poisoning and diarrhea. If you’re not sure what a pet first aid kit should include, check out the ASPCA’s recommendations here.
- Medical Records – A vet who’s unfamiliar with your pets can give them better care if they have a record of their medical history. Ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s records, so you have them on hand in case your pet needs medical attention.
- Crates or Carriers – You’ll need to have some way to transport your pets if you have to evacuate. Make sure each of your pets has a travel-safe carrier that can serve as a means of transport and their home away from home.
Pet-Specific Items for Your Pet Safety Kit
In addition to the basics, there are special considerations to keep in mind for specific types of pets:
Dogs: Pack an extra collar or harness and leash, liners for their crate, small garbage bags for picking up poop, and toys to keep them occupied.
Cats: Include a litter box, litter, and a scoop and garbage bag to keep things tidy. Cats can also benefit from toys, and many owners find a pillowcase helpful for transporting a feline companion.
Small Animals: Have enough clean bedding to last a week, and make sure to store an extra water bottle in their carrier so you don’t have to worry about grabbing the one from their cage in an emergency. Include a hide and/or snuggle safe to help them stay safe and warm.
Birds: Put a blanket or towel in your preparedness kit so you can throw it over their cage to reduce stress from outside stimulation. They will also need clean bedding to line the bottom of their cage.
Reptiles: Be sure you pack a heating device, such as a battery-operated heat pad or hot water bottle, to keep your pet warm. A large enough bowl for soaking is also important to keep your pet hydrated.
Creating a pet safety kit can be done in a day, and is well worth the time and effort. Once you’ve created a pet safety kit, you no longer need to wonder about what will happen to your pet in an emergency. You can rest easy, knowing that you and your pets are prepared for whatever comes your way.
For more detailed information about preparing for disasters with your pets, check out our Disaster Resources page