Disaster preparedness is currently at the forefront of many people’s minds. Whether you live in earthquake country, fire country, tornado country, hurricane country, or flood country, keeping a disaster kit on hand is a wise decision. But what about your pets? Have you prepared for them in case of a natural disaster?
Pet Emergency/Disaster Kits
Just as you would prepare your own emergency or disaster kit, so should you prepare one for your pet ahead of time. This could save you both time and heartache in the wake of a natural disaster.
Items to include in your pet’s disaster kit:
- Water for 5 days, plus water for reconstituting any dehydrated foods. The average healthy dog drinks about 1/2-to-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day–more if they eat a dry food, less if they eat a raw food. This means a 50-pound dog can drink about 50 ounces of water–just over six cups–per day.
- Non-perishable food for 5 days. All pet foods have an expiration date, so even if you feed kibble, this means you will need to periodically check the date and either use or dispose of the food. If you feed a raw diet, using a food like Honest Kitchen, Sojos, Stella and Chewy’s, and/or canned meat from Merrick, Nature’s Variety Instinct, etc. can provide a safe and healthy “non-perishable” food.
- Manual Can Opener, if packing canned foods.
- Blankets and towels. These can be used for bedding or for other purposes.
- Extra collar and leash
- Extra dog dish
- Kong Toy. This can help stave off boredom for your dog, and can be stuffed with their food to help give them an interactive meal. You may want to include one or two other chew or tug toys for your pet, too.
- First Aid Kit
- Copies of rabies vaccination, registration papers, vaccination records, tattoo and/or microchip number
- Detailed physical description of your pet, verified by your veterinarian. This should include your dog’s tattoo and/or microchip number, and can help with establishing ownership of your pet should they become lost. You should also include your veterinarian’s contact information.
- Date-stamped photo of you and your pet(s) together. By including yourself in the picture, you can use this photo to help establish ownership should your dog become lost during a disaster. Make sure the photo clearly shows your dog, and include a few more extra snapshots of your dog from various angles. This can be valuable in helping locate a lost pet.
- Perfect Form or some other digestion aid, in case the stress of the disaster is causing diarrhea or constipation. This can help make both your life and your dog’s life easier!
- Rescue Remedy, to help calm both anxious pets and anxious owners.
- Poop baggies. You never know where your dog will need to go, and if it happens to be indoors, you’ll want to pick it up.
- Piddle pads. Again, if you are trapped inside, you will need a spot for your dog to “go”. Piddle pads will help orient your dog to the location you want him to “go”. For a small dog, they will keep the mess contained, For a larger dog, well…you can at least encourage him to wisely select his pee-post. Absorbent kitty litter can help with containing the mess.
- Trash bags, for disposing of or containing pet waste.
- Portable Carrier or Dog Crate. This can be very useful for containing your pet, especially if you must relocate or evacuate. Be sure to toss your dog’s crate into the car if you are evacuating! A collapsible wire crate is much more portable than the hard plastic crates.
- Lighted dog collar (optional, but can help keep track of pet if power is out)
- Dog booties (optional, but can be very useful in areas prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes where lots of structural damage can occur. These will help protect a dog’s feet from broken glass, metal shards, etc.).
If you have your pet tattooed or microchipped, it is important to register your pet with one of the national registries. This can help trace your pet back to you if they get lost. The American Kennel Club’s Companion Animal Recovery service is one such registry. Other registries include HomeAgain, AVID, 24PetWatch, and EIDAP. To check if your pet’s microchip is registered, you can search the national online database.