June is National Pet Preparedness Month—an ideal time to prepare to care for pets, along with the rest of your family, in the event of an emergency.
A Family Emergency Plan
A preparedness plan for your pets, within your larger family preparedness plan, includes:
- Identifying in advance a safe place where your pets will be welcome in the event of an emergency evacuation.
- Arranging with neighbors, friends or relatives to care for or evacuate each other’s pets in an emergency if the pet owner is unable to do so.
- Having your pet microchipped and making sure your contact information is up-to-date. Provide a secondary contact person who lives outside your immediate area in case local communication is impacted by the emergency.
If officials tell you to evacuate before a storm or other disaster, take your pets and their supplies with you. It may be days or even weeks before you are allowed to return to your home. Animals left behind can be lost, injured or killed.
Your Pet’s Emergency Supplies Kit
Your pet’s emergency supplies kit should include:
- Nonperishable food and water. Pack several days’ supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container, replacing the food every time you replenish your main supply to keep it fresh. Rotate bottled water to keep it fresh, too. If you’re packing canned food, bring along a can opener if needed.
- Food and water bowls.
- Sanitation supplies. Pack several all-purpose full-size trash bags along with smaller bags for picking up after your dog. For cats, pack a litter box and scoop, along with a supply of litter.
- Grooming supplies. Pack shampoo and towels in case your pet needs cleaning up.
- Medicine. Pack a supply of your pet’s medicines in a waterproof container, regularly using up and replacing it as expiration dates approach.
- Extra collars, harnesses and leashes. Attach ID tags with your contact information to the collars and harnesses.
- Copies of vaccination records. Make hard copies and enclose them in a waterproof bag. Make electronic copies for your mobile phone.
- Photographs of you and your pet together. If you become separated from your pet, photos will help others identify your pet and establish your ownership.
- Travel crate or carrier. Be prepared to bring along a crate or carrier to keep your pet safely contained in an emergency evacuation.
- Stress reducers. Pack familiar toys, bedding and treats to comfort your pet.
Your Pet’s First Aid Kit
To prepare for illnesses and injuries that may befall your pet, we recommend assembling a pet first aid kit.
To build your own kit, we recommend visiting the ASPCA’s “How to Make a Pet First Aid Kit” page and downloading the PDF document as a shopping list.
The Red Cross provides a more comprehensive list of suggested first aid kit contents, also downloadable as a PDF.
Preassembled pet first aid kits are available online.
For information on pet first aid, see our post, “Pet First Aid Basics.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has prepared a brief video, “Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners,” summarizing recommended pet preparedness measures.
For much more comprehensive emergency preparedness information including planning forms, supply lists and advice specific to a variety of possible disasters and emergencies, visit Homeland Security’s official website, ready.gov.