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What to Include in an Emergency Kit for Your Pet

You have an emergency preparedness plan for your family, but what about your four-legged family members? If you live in an area that floods, burns or experiences tornadoes or earthquakes – do yourself a favor and build a pet emergency kit before the next disaster season.

The deadly California forest fires of 2018 brought the issue of pet safety into the limelight. With reasonable warning, people can usually flee with their pets – but then what? Once you reach safety, caring for your pet is a challenge.

Keep All Your Loved Ones Safe with a Pet Emergency Kit

cat rubs against golden retriever

A DIY pet emergency kit won’t break the bank. Many of these items are already at home, but putting them into a “go bag” for you and Fido (or Fluffy) is essential.

1. Container or backpack

Like your emergency kit, your pet’s kit will also need to be contained in something that’s easy to carry. A large waterproof bag, an old coolers, waterproof totes, and knapsacks are great choices or, to save money, use a “hefty” style garbage bag.

Make sure the container is large enough to hold all your supplies and easy to carry.

2. At least 3 days of food

Ready.gov recommends at least 3 days of food for each person, so you should plan on the same for your pet’s emergency kit. A bag of dried food plus a can or two should suffice for 3 days or more. The longer food is 100% sealed in its original bag, the longer it will last.

3. Emergency water

Ready.gov recommends 1 gallon of water per day per person. Similar to food preparations, you should also include the same water requirements for your pet. While your 5 pound Chihuahua won’t drink a gallon of water a day, depending on the size of your pet you may need more or less than a gallon per day.

4. A toy

Ideally, you will never need to use your emergency kit. However, in the event that you do, it will probably be a high stress situation. Help and comfort your pet by including a toy in your pet emergency kit.

5. Emergency blanket

A space blanket is a space saver, but the dog’s old crate blanket can be thrown in too. Wool blankets are an excellent choice, as they provide warmth and padding.

6. Extra leash and collar/harness

mutt dog holding leash in mouth

When replacing collar/harness and leash, relegate the old one (if still functional) into your pet emergency kit. At the very least, keep a usable collar/harness in the your pet emergency kit since you may need to pack your dog in the car quickly, when there isn’t time to ensure collaring.

7. First Aid kit

You can pick up a basic first aid kit at the store. Or you DIY your own with sterilized gauze, disinfectant, antibiotics, painkillers, small scissors, swabs, tweezers, tape, and any special tools (like a syringe) or medications your pet takes.

8. Doggie waste bags

Because even in a power outage, you should pick up after your pet.

9. Bowl for food/water

Pet outfitters sell bowls that fold, as well as two-sided bowls (one for food, one for water).

10. Can opener

If you’re bringing canned pet food, then make sure to have a small manual can opener in your kit.

11. Tie down (in-ground) and rope

A spiral, metal stake is highly recommended for your emergency pet kit, since you may need to leave your dog alone. Nylon rope is optional, but recommended.

12. Jacket or sweater

If you own a dog breed that needs extra warmth, pack an old sweater or jacket.

13. Medication

If your pet takes medication, make sure at least 72-hours worth of medication are included in your pet emergency kit.

Emergency Kit Additions for Cats

cat in suitcase with food and water bowl with pet emergency kit

If your four-legged family members include kitty cats, then keep these additional considerations in mind.

A. Cat carrier

Cats need carriers like dogs need collars. The cheap option: bring an old pillowcase or towels for transporting your cat.

B. Trash bags for litter box

Sturdy trash bags make great liners for a litter box; extra trash bags work to discard old litter and you can never have too many.

C. Foldable litter box

Skip the expense and use a cardboard box (folded up) which only needs a liner.

D. Kitty litter

Bring a bag of the usual litter; it can double to absorb spills or provide traction to a stuck vehicle.

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