Emergency Preparedness For Pets: Are You Prepared?

Dog on the road with stick in mouth

If your family is like most across the country, your pets are important members of the household. They are also affected when disaster strikes. Whether the emergency is a tornado or wildfire, you might need to employ different measures to ensure all family members, including pets, are safe.

For example, you may need to evacuate your home. Please do not leave your pets behind if you evacuate your home! Domesticated animals likely cannot survive on their own if they are left behind. If you and your family need to evacuate to a public shelter, be aware that animals may not be allowed inside. Develop a back up plan with shelter alternatives for your entire household.

With any emergency, you might need to improvise and use what you have on hand to ensure the safety of your household. We have compiled a disaster supply kit checklist and a few tips to help you be prepared. For more information, visit our Disaster Preparedness Plan guide.

Disaster supply kit for pets

Keep these supplies in a sturdy container, such as a duffel bag, backpack, or covered storage container, which can be easily accessed and carried. A pet emergency preparedness kit should include:

  • Canned and dry food for 3-7 days; favorite treats and snacks
  • Bottled water for 3-7 days
  • Collapsible food and water bowls (Bamboo Silicone Pop-Up Travel Bowl)
  • Manual can opener
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
  • Pet first aid kit (AKC Pet First Aid Kit):
    • Gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic or rubbing alcohol, over-the-counter antibiotic lotion; for dressing wounds
    • Ice pack
    • Over-the-counter allergy medication; for allergic reactions
  • Pet first aid book (Dog First Aid: A Field Guide)
  • Disposable litter boxes, like an aluminum roasting pan; litter
  • Newspapers or cage liners
  • Pet toys and the pet's bed, if it is easy to transport; for comfort and to reduce stress
  • Disposable garbage bags, paper towels, and disinfectant; for clean up
  • Grooming items; hair brush, nail clippers, toothbrush, ear-cleaning solution, and pet shampoo to maintain pet hygiene
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and an extra collar
  • Crate, carrier, or traveling bag; to transport pets safely and ensure they cannot escape
  • Blankets or towels; for bedding, warmth, scooping up a scared pet, or covering the cage or crate
  • Pillow cases; for short-term transport of snakes
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets; to prove they are yours and to help others identify them in case they run away
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavioral problems
  • The name and telephone number of pet's veterinarian
  • Flashlight with extra batteries; for extra lighting or to look for a runaway pet

Extra tips

When you are preparing for an emergency, it's important to remember that if a situation is not safe for you, it's not safe for your pets. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind and help you be more prepared:

  • Replace pet food and water every two months to ensure freshness
  • Do not leave pet behind if you evacuate your home
  • Develop a back-up emergency plan with neighbors, friends, or relatives so someone is available to evacuate or care for or evacuate your pets if you are not home
  • Place rescue alert sticker in your home's front-facing windows to let rescue crew know the types of pets that are part of your household
  • To protect your pup outside emergency situations, we've put together a list of the best pet-friendly security systems.