What To Include In A Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit
Boy, this year has really been a challenging one. The pandemic has really hit home how important it is to keep our pets clean and healthy. But... sorry to say, we're now moving into tornado season, hurricane season, and fire season. So, to lessen your worries, and because June is National Pet Preparedness Month, we thought you could use help with putting together a pet emergency preparedness kit to help keep your furry BFFs safe at all times of the year.
Why You Need A Pet Emergency Preparedness KitWe never know when an emergency will hit. That's why they're called emergencies. But when an emergency does come our way, it can really throw us off balance and have us scrambling. Particularly for things to help keep our pet's safe. One of our colleagues was given 10 minutes to flee her cabin due to fires. She had just enough time to close up the cabin, grab her dog and pet emergency kit and get in the car and go! There was literally no time for missteps. It's always best to be safe and prepared - our pets depend on us. Depending on where you live, you can find yourself in the midst of a tornado, a forest fire, a hurricane, an avalanche, a tsunami, a flood, and apparently even giant murder hornets!
Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit Must HavesThe rule of thumb is to create a kit that can provide 5-7 days worth of emergency relief. A good pet emergency kit has enough items in it to keep your pet safe, fed, healthy, and happy. During an emergency we'll have enough on our minds, so we don't want to add to our own struggles by creating a stressful environment for our pets. Here are the items you'll need to pack in your pet emergency kit:
MedicationsIf your pet routinely takes medications, including monthly flea treatments, make sure to include these in your pet emergency kit. Also, consider those periodic medications like ointments, itch and infection sprays, eye drops, etc., and include them as needed.
Food, Water, and BowlsWhen it comes to your pet's food, it's best to put dehydrated dog food in to your kit. This way you don't have to worry about 'use by' dates, and can just rotate the food annually. Stainless steel bowls are easily kept clean and don't absorb odor or stain, so we recommend them. Water is important, we can't stress this enough! You'll want at least 3 gallons of water, and this will need to be monitored - 5 gallons in a portable container with a spigot is ideal.
ID Tag InfoYou'll want to have an extra identification tag ordered when you get them made for your pet. Place the copy, along with a hook to attach it to your pet's collar, in your emergency kit. If you are like some of us and get fancy ID tags for your pet, you don't have to spend twice the amount of money - just order a simple, stainless steel pet ID tag.
Collar, Leash, and HarnessThis one is super important! Most people think that their day-to-day collar and leash is fine - but, many times emergencies can cause things to break, rip, or fail from overuse. This is why we always recommend having a brand new collar, leash, and harness packed in your pet emergency kit. There is no need for them to be fancy - just sturdy. Slip rope leashes are great as they have a built-in collar, and an illuminated rain-proof harness can be a lifesaver.
Sheets and TowelsYou want to keep your pet dry and warm and comfy. Drawing on their natural nesting instincts, most pets will want some softness to push around to create a comfortable space. The easiest thing to do for this is to pack some well-used sheets and towels into your kit.
Crate or CarrierA pet crate can be the difference between safety and danger in an emergency. Even if your pet is not used to being in a crate, or carrier, don't let that dissuade you. Plus, a crate makes for the perfect container for your pet emergency kit items! The best crate for an emergency is one that won't melt, so this excludes plastic carriers. Select a solid crate with a sturdy yet easy to open/close door.
Photo Card and DescriptionThe worst case scenario is that you become separated from your pet in an emergency. Heaven forbid that happens, the one saving grace may be that you have a current photo and description of your pet. We recommend that you keep your pet's picture up-to-date, with a detailed description sheet that includes a listing of all medications. This information should also include your contact information as well as your emergency contact's telephone name and number.
Microchip and License InformationAs a good pet parent you've likely had your pet microchipped and licensed in compliance with the regulations where you live. You'll also want to include this information in the national database. Once you do all of this, make a copy of the paperwork and store in a plastic zip bag and place in your kit.
Favorite ToysWe all know the exact toy, or toys, that makes our pets absolutely crazy with joy! That special toy that keeps your furry child peaceful, happy, and contented no matter what's going on around them. Whatever that toy is, or toys are, buy an extra. Place the extra toy(s) in your pet's emergency kit. This toy will help keep your pet occupied and stress-free during uncertain times.
Liquid Dish SoapBelieve it or not, you'll definitely want a little travel size of this liquid dish soap! Why? Because if your pet gets anywhere near fleas while you are on your emergency travels, it gets rid of them within a minute or two of bathing. It's also great if you happen to get into any oily residue while traveling to a safe place.
Pet First Aid KitDon't count on the pet first aid kit you keep in your house - in an emergency your mind can get so busy that you may not remember it. Get a second pet first aid kit - this is the one we recommend - and keep it in your emergency kit. We love this one because it has all the essentials, comes with a weather shelter wrap, and a how-to handbook.
Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit Hacks:
- BPA-free reusable storage bags make great emergency waste bags, so no need for packing something extra.
- This portable straw turns river water into potable water just in case your emergency happens while camping.
- Dog boots aren't just for the snow! They could come in handy if you have to walk rough terrain.
- If your emergency has you traveling distances on foot, you can make a dog/baby wrap out of a sheet.
- Emergencies can happen in your own home - have the Pet Poison Helpline telephone number (855.764.7661) saved in your phone.
- Get more pet safety information from the Department of Homeland Security's pet page.
Planning For An Emergency Makes It Less ScaryEmergencies happen. And, when they hit, they can be scary. We hope this article helped take the 'bite' out of what otherwise would be a stressful time. If you have a pet emergency tip that our readers should know, leave it in the comments below.
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