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11 Ways to Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Bill Colclough

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Bill Colclough

National Disaster Preparedness Month (NPM): Week #2

The theme for Week #2 of NPM is: How to plan for specific needs (i.e. pets, disabilities, businesses) before a disaster. We begin this week with specific information about the needs of pets when disaster strikes.

Those who take the time to prepare themselves and their pets for emergencies will likely encounter less difficulty, stress and worry. Take the time now to get yourself and your pet ready. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if you can. For more information about service animal/pet preparedness, visit

The following list was developed in partnership with the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Homeland Security.

1)   Get a Kit of pet emergency supplies. Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, particularly food and water.

2) Food: Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.

3) Water: Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets, in addition to water you need for yourself and your family.

4) Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a  regular basis in a waterproof container.

5) First aid kit: this should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first aid reference book.

6) Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times

7) Important documents: Place copies of your pet’s registration information, adoption papers, vaccination documents and medical records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container and also add them to your own kit.

8) Crate or other pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation, take your pets and animals with you in crates if the pets are small enough to carry

9) Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach (diluted, as a disinfectant). You can also use the bleach to purify water. Use 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon, stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before use.

10) A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, this will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet. Include info about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.

11) Familiar items: Put favorite toys, treats or bedding in your kit, to help reduce stress for your pet.

Consider compiling two kits. In one, put everything your pets will need to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you and your pets have to get away quickly. #LSSDR

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