Emergency Readiness: What to Include in Disaster Kits for Pets

WATCH NOW: How to Prepare Your Pet for an Emergency

If disaster struck, would you be prepared? Would your pets?

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Unless you're a doomsday prepper or live in a disaster-prone area, disaster readiness isn't something most of the rest of us think about regularly. However, being prepared in an emergency situation can mean the difference between life and death for you—and your pets.

In that vein, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recommends that pet owners create disaster plans and emergency kits for their pets. Whatever the natural disaster is, be it an earthquake, a fire, a flood, or severe weather like a hurricane, it's important to be prepared.

Disaster Emergency

So, how should pet owners prepare for the unexpected? The HSUS has come up with a must-have list for a pet emergency preparedness kit in case of disaster. The HSUS suggests that a fully-equipped pet disaster kit include all of the following:

  • Five days' worth of food and water
  • All of your pets' medications and medical information in a waterproof container
  • The contact information for your veterinarian
  • Up-to-date photographs and detailed descriptions of your pets
  • Relevant information about feeding, medical requirements, and behavioral issues, if any
  • Necessary restraints, including leashes, harnesses, and carriers
  • For cats: litter box and litter supplies (paper towels or moist towelettes and garbage bags always come in handy)

The HSUS notes that although the tendency may be to want to hold your pet close, for comfort (yours and theirs), in an emergency situation, this is a mistake. It's much safer to keep your pet leashed, or in a carrier. This will prevent him or her from escaping to run and hide.


Disaster Emergency

The HSUS website provides valuable information about disaster preparedness for pets, including methods of identifying pets, locating pet-friendly lodging in case of evacuation, and in-home procedures to follow during catastrophic situations.


Hopefully, you'll never have to use your pet disaster kit. That said, a little readiness never hurt anyone. A weather radio and monitoring the NOAA will help you stay informed. Make sure you have extra batteries for flashlights and other emergency electronics. In the unfortunate event that disaster strikes, you and your nonhuman family members will be prepared. 

You yourself should be ready with a survival kit as well including a three-day supply of nonperishable food and food bars, important family documents, insurance policies and bank account records, personal sanitation basic items, sturdy shoes, a warm blanket, and a first aid kit with a first aid book. If you have a baby in your family an emergency supply of infant formula and baby food is important to have in your emergency supply kit.


Pet first aid kit last reminders 

Pet first aid kits are always an important part of your overall disaster preparedness kit. It's like a kit in a kit! Make sure those medical records are secured so a vet knows medications your dog takes and any emergency contacts. Have more than one contact too in case you cannot be reached! It may seem crazy but cans are easier sometimes than kibble for dogs and cats to carry around so don't forget your can opener and emergency food for at least a week's time!

This post was originally published on September 4, 2019.

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