Create a Pet Emergency Kit
While you are planning to take care of your family in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, don't forget to think about how you will take care of your pets.
Since emergencies are unexpected and unpredictable, you will need to plan in advance by creating a pet emergency kit.
Here's how to get started:
You will need a lidded box, backpack or duffle bag to hold your pet emergency kit. To protect your kit from water damage (in the event of flooding), put all items inside a plastic garbage bag, tie tightly, then put the bag into your chosen emergency kit container. Be sure to use a permanent marker to label your container "pet emergency kit."
* Leashes and extra collars – One for each pet.
* Food – Enough for three or more days. Depending upon the size of your pet, you might be better off stocking your emergency kit with canned food (or a combination of canned and dry) to save space. I have large dogs and dry food for all three for three days would take up a great deal of space. Don't forget a package of treats and a can opener.
* Water – Stock your kit with 20-ounce bottles of water. I would suggest one bottle per pet, per day. You should stock the kit with enough to last for three or more days.
* Toys – Even pets get bored or anxious. Throw in a few chew toys or other items to keep your pet entertained.
* Tie-out stakes and cables – Stock the kit with tie-out stakes and cables to contain dogs temporarily when necessary.
* Cat litter – Fill a freezer bag with a few cups of inexpensive cat litter. In a pinch, a cardboard box can be dug out of the trash for a temporary litter box.
* Towels – These can be used for warmth, bedding, comfort, cleaning or first aid. Stock one towel for each pet.
* Emergency numbers and plans – Keep a printed copy of your emergency plan in your kit. You may need to refer to it if you become frazzled during an emergency. Be sure your have included phone numbers for your veterinarian, pet sitter or kennel.
* Records – Have an up-to-date copy of immunization records for each pet.
* First aid supplies – Check with your veterinarian for recommendations for this. I include scissors, tweezers, bandage rolls, Betadine, stypic stick (to stop bleeding), and an animal first aid book. You might want to include various medications your pet needs.
Folding or pop-up pet carriers are ideal for limited storage space. If you have hard carriers, be sure they are all together in an accessible place. A pet carrier that is buried under boxes of stuff in the back of your garage won't be any good in a spur-of-the-moment emergency.
Where to keep your kit
Make sure you keep your kit in an accessible spot – in your home, your vehicle, your garage. It needs to be in a spot where you can easily grab it and run.
Keep an inventory list with your kit that details each item in your emergency kit. Resist the temptation to take things out for daily use. If you must dip into the kit, make a point of replacing any item used. Periodically check your kit for damage from rodents, insects or water.
Planning ahead and preparing can help you keep your pets safe and sound in the event of an emergency.