What To Include In Your Pet Emergency Kit

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It can be difficult to think about what will happen to your home, family, and pets during a natural disaster. However, it's unsafe for your pets to stay in your home during an emergency; if your family is told to evacuate, your pet should go with you. 

Natural disasters and emergencies can put your pet in danger, so you should prepare for the worst. Emergency pet survival kits can ensure you have everything you need to keep your pet safe during the panic of an emergency. You should always keep it in an easily accessible place in your home so that when a disaster occurs, you can grab it as you leave your home with your pet. 

How To Keep Your Pet Safe During Disasters

Keeping your pets safe in any situation is crucial. You can follow holiday pet safety tips to ensure their health and wellness during the holidays, but everyday tips won't prepare you for disaster. Keeping your pets safe during disasters is crucial. Again, it's unsafe for your pet to remain in your home if there's an evacuation order due to a storm, fire, or any other natural disaster. Leaving your pet behind could be dangerous to them, especially during fires and floods. In addition, leaving them home alone can cause anxiety and fear. Therefore, keeping your pet safe during disasters is up to you. 

Know The Common Natural Disasters In Your Area

Knowing the common natural disasters in your area will help you understand what to prepare for. Natural disasters vary, depending on where you live. For example, you can expect tornadoes in the Midwest, while the Pacific West is known for earthquakes, wildfires, and even volcanoes.

You should be prepared for common disasters like lightning strikes, home fires, wind, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other severe storms.1 

Make Sure Your Pet Has Proper Identification

Pets can easily get lost during emergencies. For example, they may hear sirens, get scared, and run out the door, or get lost as you load your vehicle to prepare for an evacuation. Whatever the case, you should ensure your pet has identification in these situations. Always ensure your dog wears their tag and collar or harness with your personal information, including your phone number. In addition, you should ensure your pet is microchipped. If they are found and taken to a vet, the microchip can give a vet or animal rescue enough information to identify their owner. 

If possible, keep an additional I.D. tag and collar in your pet's emergency kit to ensure you have one on hand if your dog doesn't wear their tags 24/7. 

Get A Rescue Sticker Alert From ASPCA

A rescue sticker alert goes onto a window in your home to let rescuers know there are pets inside. These can be especially useful if there's a house fire because they can alert firefighters that your pet is inside the home and will need to be rescued. In addition to fires, they can also be useful during evacuations. When you must evacuate your home with your pet, you can write that your pets have been evacuated on the sticker so rescuers don't spend time looking for your pet.2 

These stickers allow you to identify the type and number of animals in your home so rescuers can easily find and locate your pets to prevent serious injury or death. In addition, you can write your phone number on them so you can receive a phone call when your pets are located. 

Identify Pet-Friendly Emergency Shelters

During natural disasters, there are several options for shelter if you have your pet with you. Some people may evacuate late and be forced to shelter wherever there is space. However, by being prepared, you can evacuate early and find pet-friendly shelters and other locations where your pet will be safe. For example, if you know there's a hurricane coming your way, you may choose to evacuate to another state. If you go to another state, you might be able to find hotels that accept pets. In addition, more hotels may allow pets during an emergency for an additional fee. 

Unfortunately, many shelters do not accept pets other than service animals.2 Therefore, you should plan ahead and ensure you know where you can go with your pet. Friends, relatives, animal shelters, and even vet offices may be able to take care of your pet when there's an emergency, so you should have their phone numbers listed in your pet emergency kit.2 

Secure An Emergency Contact

Unfortunately, you're not always home with your pets. Therefore, if there's an evacuation and, for some reason, you can't make it home to evacuate your pet, you'll be thankful to have someone who can. You should create a plan with neighbors, family, or friends to ensure someone can care for and evacuate your pets if you can't. 

Of course, any individual caring for your pet during an evacuation should be comfortable with your animals, and your dogs and cats should be willing to go with them. Therefore, letting your pet spend time with this individual is a good idea because it will make them less resistant to leaving home during an emergency. 

Prepare A Pet Emergency Kit

A pet emergency kit is crucial to the health and wellness of your pet during an evacuation or another emergency. Every dog and cat needs a few essentials, no matter where they go. Later on in this blog post, we will give you a comprehensive rundown of everything you’ll need to include in your pet emergency kit. 

Evacuate As Early As Possible

Evacuating as early as possible during an emergency will reduce stress and allow you to take the time you need. The earlier you evacuate, the less stressful it will be on your pet, and it'll reduce the chances of forgetting important items like food and water bowls. 

In addition, early evacuation is the safest option for you and your pets. When you're not rushed, there's less chance you'll lose your pet during the chaos of everyone evacuating at once. Additionally, hotels out of state fill up quickly when there's an evacuation, so if you plan to use a pet-friendly hotel, you should try to book in advance. Therefore, you should take every evacuation seriously and try to get your pet evacuated as soon as possible. 

Stay Informed

Knowing of potential threats to your pet's safety is crucial. When there's an emergency, you should always try to stay informed, knowing when the storm will hit your community and what the expected damage will be. 

In addition, you should stay informed throughout the emergency. Watching the news will ensure you know when it's safe to return home with your pet. 

Pet Emergency Kit Must-Haves

Every pet is different, but they all have basic needs, including food, water, medication, and equipment. An emergency preparedness kit for pets will ensure they have everything they need during an evacuation, keeping them safe, happy, and healthy no matter what. If you're unsure what to pack, check out this pet emergency checklist to help you find the right items. 

Pet emergency kit checklist

Sustenance & Supplies

  • Food and water (at least two weeks' worth)
  • Travel food and water dishes
  • Medication
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Cat litter
  • Disposable litter trays and poop bags
  • 1-2 month supply of flea, tick, and heartworm prevention medication
  • Extra collar, harness, and I.D. tag
  • Toys
  • Familiar item
  • Traveling bag and sturdy carrier
  • Pet shampoo and brush
  • Picture of you and your pet (in case you get separated)
  • Paper towel and disinfectant 
  • Pet life jacket
  • Flashlight and batteries

Documents

  • Put all documents in a waterproof folder/bag
  • Medical records
    • Vaccination history, medical history, prescription notes
  • A detailed description of pet
  • Photos of pet
  • Microchip information
  • Important contact information
    • Vet contact info, emergency contact info, pet-friendly hotel contact info, etc
  • Rabies certificate
  • Ownership records
  • Heartworm test results
  • FIV/FeLV test results for cats

Important documents to include in your pet emergency kit

Virtual Vet Care During Emergencies

Unfortunately, emergencies and disasters can harm your pet’s health in many ways. Once your pet is safe, you should monitor their behavior for any changes. The stress of leaving home, being around new people, changes in routine, and sleeping in a new environment can be enough to change your pet's behavior. Some pets may become more aggressive, while others will become scared. 

They may benefit from veterinary telemedicine if you're worried about your pet's behavior or experiencing fear. With virtual vet care, you don't have to go to a vet clinic to get advice or have your pet diagnosed with anxiety. Dutch telemedicine for pets allows you to communicate with licensed vets in your state to diagnose and treat your pet, whether they're experiencing a physical illness or behavioral problems like stress and anxiety. If your pet needs medication, we can ship your prescription to you, even if you live in a hotel room waiting out the storm. 

What To Include In Your Pet Emergency Kit: FAQs

How much water should be in a pet emergency kit?

You should have at least two weeks worth of water to be safe. If you've made plans to stay with family and friends or at a hotel, you likely don't have to worry about keeping that much water with you. However, you should still aim to keep a few gallons of water in your home during emergencies. 

What can dogs eat in an emergency?

Some human foods dogs can eat in an emergency, such as white rice, plain oatmeal, carrots, and other vegetables. However, the best pet emergency kit will include at least two weeks' worth of kibble or canned food. Both are great options and don't take up much room in your car, so they'll be much easier to carry than perishable human food items that won't provide them with much nutrition. 

What can cats eat in an emergency?

Like dogs, cats can eat boiled white rice and oats. However, cats are carnivores, so they'll need meat in their diets. In an emergency, you can feed them plain, cooked chicken. However, it's always best to ensure they get regular wet or dry food. Therefore, you should keep at least two weeks' worth of cat food in your emergency preparedness kit for pets. 

Cat with GPS tracking collar on

Final Notes

Ensuring your pet's safety in an emergency is crucial. If you're told to evacuate, your pet should always go with you to prevent harm from coming to them. The best pet emergency kit for you will depend on your particular pet and their needs, but you should ensure you have equipment like leashes and collars, pet identification, and food and water. 

Of course, during an emergency, your pet might need medical care. Dutch telemedicine for pets is the solution to the vet shortage crisis, allowing you to access a vet online to ensure your pet gets the care they need no matter where they are, even if you're staying at a pet-friendly hotel waiting out a storm. We also offer pet insurance to help you cover the costs of your pet's care. Learn more about Dutch today. 

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References

  1. "Common Natural Disasters across U.S." The Most Common Natural Disasters Across The U.S. | Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/common-natural-disasters-across-us.html.

  2. "Pet Disaster Preparedness & Recovery." American Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/pet-disaster-preparedness.html.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $15/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.