If you have a pet who holds a special place in your heart, you probably take pretty good care of that pet—feed him, groom him, take him for walks, maybe even buy him fancy clothes or gourmet treats from a pet bakery. Today I’m here to remind you of one aspect of pet care that otherwise good pet owners too often forget: preparing your pet for emergency situations.
In the world of emergency preparedness, we are constantly making lists of supplies we need to gather in order to be prepared for every eventuality of a disaster. If you are a pet owner, as you make your list of supplies to store away, don’t forget to equip your pet along the way as well. Usually, in an emergency situation, pets will need most of the same things humans do: food, water, shelter, and plenty of reassurance. And just like people, animals will benefit from having a few comfort items stored away too. Here, for your convenience, is a list we’ve put together of pet survival supplies that will make your life and your pet’s life a lot easier in the event of a disaster.
What to Include in Your Pet’s Emergency Preparedness Kit
1. Water. As you store water for your family for survival situations, don’t forget to calculate the amount of water your pet will need and add it into the mix. Be sure to store enough to allow your pet to stay well hydrated, and if you care about cleanliness in emergencies, store enough for pet hygiene too!
2. Food. Stock up on as much pet food as you can afford to store. Start with enough to feed your pet for a month, then three months, then six, and so on. Through Legacy Premium, PrepareWise now offers the first pet food that’s made for long-term storage. It boasts a 10-year shelf life and comes in the dog variety and the cat variety. If you are looking for serious pet food storage, this is an excellent option for you.
3. Portable food containers. Many emergency situations involve evacuation of your home. If this happens to be your case, you will want to have a way to carry your pet’s food and water on the go.
4. Manual can opener if your pet eats canned food.
4. Medications if necessary.
5. First aid supplies. Pet first aid supplies and people first aid supplies are mostly the same, but you might also consider having some extra large bandages, gauze, and medical tape along with everything else.
6. Hygiene Supplies. Remember things like a pet brush, shampoo, blanket or towel, kitty litter if applicable, and whatever else your pet needs to be well-cared for and clean.
7. Pet carrier or leash. It’s vital to have a way to keep pets contained during emergency situations as even the most docile and sweet animals can become anxious and combative in tense situations. Having a leash or carrier handy will help you keep your pet close and calm until situations settle.
8. Proper identification and records. If you and your pet get separated during an emergency or if your pet needs to have medical attention, it will be vital that his records and IDs are handy. Make sure you have a copy of your pet’s medical records and a collar with an ID tag, a license tag, and a vaccination tag.
9. Picture of you and your pet together. If you and your pet get separated during an emergency, a picture of your pet will allow others to help you locate him. If that picture also includes you in it, it will be a good proof of your ownership of your pet.
10. Emergency contact list. Make a list now of all the numbers you might need for your pet in an emergency situation. Possible numbers include the local animal shelter, an emergency medical center for pets, the local kennel, and your pet’s veterinarian.
11. Items purely for comfort. It’s important to have some treats stored for your pet along with his typical pet food. Treats make tense, abnormal situations seem more normal and controlled and help pets to relax. In addition to treats, make sure to have any of your pet’s favorite toys or sleeping pillows on hand. Comfort items will go a long way in easing the stress of an emergency situation for your pet.
In addition to putting together a survival kit for your pet, there are a few other considerations you may want to make before a disaster happens. One of these is to make a plan for what you will do with your pet if you have to evacuate your home. If your plan is to go to an out-of-town family member’s house, make sure that person is willing to house your pet too. If not, you will need to make arrangements beforehand either with a local animal shelter or kennel. Some shelters and kennels do not house animals in emergencies, so call now to find out which ones will and make a plan to take your pet there.
If you absolutely have no other options and have to leave your pet behind (not recommended), leave him in the house with plenty of food and water available to him. Also leave a note on the outside of the house that tells rescuers there is a pet inside, what kind, his name, and a contact number you can be reached at. Leaving pets at home gives them much lower chances for survival, so avoid this option if at all possible.
In emergency situations, pets will probably be feeling many of the same emotions you are. They will be tired and fretful and anxious and will need all the love and patience you can give them. Expect them to be more needy and less obedient than they usually are. If you keep them close to you and attend to their needs, they will make it through the emergency situation as well as you. Being prepared with a good pet survival kit and making emergency plans in advance can go a long way in making the situation bearable for everyone.