Disaster Preparedness for Pets: The Ultimate Vet-Approved Checklist

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Disclaimer: The information about these products has been fact-checked by one of our licensed veterinarians. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the veterinarian. We recommend contacting your pet’s veterinarian before purchasing any product from this list, to ensure they are right for your dog.
Did you know that over 80% of pet owners live in communities threatened by natural disasters? It’s true, and according to a survey by the ASPCA, only 46% have a disaster plan in place.1 Most pet owners will think to grab some non-perishable food and bottled water, but there are several other items you should consider. The last thing you want to do when faced with a disaster is scramble around your home to find the supplies you need to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe.
Read on to discover our disaster preparedness checklist so you can begin putting together all the supplies you’ll need if your community were to ever be in critical danger.

The 23 Supplies Necessary for Disaster Preparedness
Feeding Supplies
1. Collapsible Food Bowl

Your pet’s food and water bowls from home can take up space in your emergency kit, so it’s best to have collapsible bowls to save space. The Prima Pets Collapsible Silicone Travel Dog & Cat Bowl with Carabiner is a portable option made of pet-safe and non-porous materials to provide a healthy and convenient way to feed your pets in an emergency. It is lightweight and easy to clean after use.

2. Collapsible Food Scoop

A collapsible food scoop will allow you to keep your pet’s portions in check even in the midst of an emergency. The three-in-one Dexas Popware for Pets Collapsible KlipScoop acts as a food scoop, measuring cup, and bag clip to keep your pet’s kibble dry and fresh.

3. Water

Bottled water is a must for your emergency kit, but if you don’t have the space, a portable water filter is your next best bet. The LifeStraw Peak Series – Collapsible Squeeze Bottle Water Filter System protects against 99.9% of bacteria and parasites, using a microfilter, to keep you and your pet’s drinking water safe during an emergency. The collapsible bottle is super easy to use and very durable.

4. Food and Treats

Pack some long-life food that your pet is accustomed to eating as well as some treats. We recommend packing your pet’s usual treats in your emergency kit; however, if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, you might consider the Pet Naturals Calming Dog & Cat Chews. These treats have L-theanine, Calming Colostrum Complex and vitamin B to promote a calming effect and manage everyday stress.

5. Can Opener

If your pet’s canned food doesn’t come with a pull tab to open it, you’ll definitely need a can opener in your disaster preparedness kit. The KitchenAid Classic Multifunction Can Opener may not have all the bells and whistles of its electric counterparts, but its manual operation doesn’t require the use of batteries, so it’s a winner in our books.

First Aid Supplies
6. First Aid Kit

Your emergency preparedness plan would not be complete without a first aid kit. The 50-piece Kurgo First Aid Kit for Dogs & Cats contains almost all the things you’ll need if your pet were to get hurt while you’re away from home. It includes items such as tweezers, bandages, gauze pads and rolls, prep pads, scissors, and an emergency blanket. Avoid using a first aid kit designed for humans as some of the items in it may not be pet-safe.

7. Styptic Powder

Styptic powder is a great item to have in an emergency as it can quickly clot blood for light wounds or grazes. The Chew + Heal Styptic Powder Dog Treatment is great for cats, dogs, and even birds, so it’s a great product to have on hand in case your pet begins bleeding.

8. Antimicrobial Gel

An antimicrobial gel is a natural antibacterial and antifungal product that can promote pain relief and protection when your cat or dog is healing from a wound. The Forticept Blue Butter Antimicrobial Gel for Dogs & Cats is a pH-balanced and non-toxic option that promotes wound healing. It’s also great for clearing hot spots or skin irritation, so it’s worth having one in your home as well as your emergency kit.

9. Liquid Bandage

Liquid bandage is a great product as it seals cuts and reduces the chance of infections since the wound is closed shut. We like the Miracle Care Liquid Bandage Spray for Dogs & Cats as it provides breathable protection while keeping out any debris or dirt your pet may come into contact with. Additionally, it has a bitter agent to discourage licking at the wound, further protecting your pet.

Sanitation Supplies
10. Doggy Waste Bags

Dog poop bags are a must-have for every dog owner. Just because you’re in the midst of an emergency doesn’t mean you can let all sanitation fly out the window. The Earth-Rated Dog Poop Bag Holder with Dog Poop Bags comes with a handy dispenser so you can take it with you wherever you go. It comes with 900 scented or unscented bags.

11. Grooming Wipes

Grooming wipes are nice to have on hand to clean your cat or dog if they get dirty while you’re away from home. The Hepper Wash Wipes are made with moisturizing ingredients to promote healthy and clean fur, skin, and coat. Plus, they have a fresh aloe and cucumber scent you’ll love.

12. Travel Litter Box

In a perfect world, our cats would learn to pee and poop outside on command like their canine counterparts. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic for most kitties, so your emergency kit should contain a litter box. The last thing you want is your kitty to be holding in his waste and potentially creating serious health problems. The IRIS USA Travel Litter Pan is a lightweight box with a zipper top to keep all waste and litter contained when it is not in use. The PVC-coated interior prevents leaks to keep your vehicle or hotel room accident-free.

13. Cat Litter Scoop

Unless you want to clean your cat’s litter with your hands, you’ll need to add a scoop to your emergency kit. The DurAnimals DuraScoop Original Cat Litter Scoop is a standard option with an ergonomic grip that fits comfortably in your hands. Its sturdy design won’t recoil, so you won’t inadvertently flick litter or waste out of the litter box.

14. Dry Pet Shampoo

A dry pet shampoo is essential in an emergency kit. You have the ability to clean up tough and unexpected messes by working this through your pets fur and brushing out. Hepper No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo is all natural, is formulated for all skin types and has a light scent.

Comfort Supplies
15. Travel Bed

If you can’t bring your pet’s favorite bed along with you, the Chuckit! Travel Pillow Dog Bed is probably your next best option. It folds out to be 30 x 39 inches, so it’s ideal for almost any size dog or cat. This cozy bed is great for camping and car travel, and because it comes with a stuff sack, it’s practically made for emergency kits.

16. Anxiety Relief

Pets can pick up on our moods, and if you’re stressed or anxious during the emergency (who wouldn’t be?), your beloved fur baby can definitely start feeling that way, too. Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are scent-based calming remedies that have been shown to reduce signs of anxiety in a veterinary hospital setting. Although this one is non-prescription, speak to your vet about stress relief and then what is best for your pet.

17. Blanket

A blanket is necessary for your emergency kit not only to keep you and your pet warm but to provide some much-needed comfort in times of stress. The Best Friends by Sheri Throw Shag Dog & Cat Blanket feels like a luxurious shag material to promote coziness amidst the chaos. It’s machine washable and has a dirt- and water-resistant bottom to prevent accident seepage.

Safety Supplies
18. Safety Vest

A reflective vest is a must-have, especially if you’ll be spending any amount of time outdoors during an emergency. If you don’t have access to your vehicle, you’ll need to walk places, so a vest will ensure passersby see your pet. The SafetyPUP XD Reflective Dog Vest comes in sizes from extra small to extra large, so there should be an option there that will fit your dog or cat.

19. Reflective Collar

Like a reflective vest, a reflective collar ensures your pet will be seen in the dark. Chai’s Choice Comfort Cushion 3M Polyester Reflective Dog Collar is made with mesh padding, so it’s soft and breathable. This is important, especially if your pet isn’t used to wearing a collar. Its stainless-steel ring will attach securely to your pet’s leash so you can keep tabs on him at all times.

20. Leash

A leash is necessary, along with the collar to keep tabs on your pet during the chaos. The Frisco Solid Nylon Dog Leash is a durably made option available in different widths and lengths to suit the needs of your pet. It has a loop handle that’s comfortable to grip and easy to control and is available in four colors.

21. Harness and Leash Set (for Cats)

If you have a cat, we recommend buying a harness and leash set specifically designed with cats in mind, especially considering this may be the first time your kitty has ever worn a harness. The Hepper Harness and Leash Set is made with a lightweight, comfortable velvet material and breathable air mesh to keep your cat comfortable. It has multiple adjustment points so that you can get the perfect fit for your kitty’s frame.

22. Travel Carrier

A travel carrier will come in handy when transporting your pet from A to B. The Petmate Vari Dog & Cat Kennel comes in several sizes, so you can choose the one most appropriate for your pet(s). The kennel has vents throughout to ensure your likely-to-be-stressed-out pet can get enough oxygen. It is a durably-made crate with a secure lock to keep your pet safe during travel. Make sure your pet is accustomed to the crate by crate training them prior to evacuation.

23. Rescue Stickers

This isn’t a supply for your emergency kit stash but rather something you buy well in advance of a disaster. The Imagine This Company “Rescue Our Pets” Decal“ Decal allows emergency personnel, like firefighters, to quickly identify how many and what types of pets you have in your home. If the disaster results in you having to evacuate your home without your pets

Tips for Setting Up a Disaster Preparedness Plan
One of the most important components of disaster preparedness is setting up an emergency plan. Here are some tips on how to do so safely:
Have an action plan.
Make a plan with your family members where you’ll meet if you’re not together when disaster strikes. Ensure everyone in the household knows where the emergency supplies are located so they can grab them on their way out the door.
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock
Communicate with neighbors.
If you have larger animals, such as horses, team up with your neighbors or other local horse owners to pool your resources so you can still all provide your pets with the care they require. You may want to discuss sharing trailer space, hay, and other necessary items.
Find a shelter.
Make a short list of local pet-boarding facilities or nearby family members that will let you stay with your pet or care for them during an emergency. Be proactive and include places out of your hometown in case of an evacuation emergency.
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock
Have spare medication.
If your pet is on medication, make sure you have 7–10 days’ worth of extra medicine for each pet in an airtight container. Leave this in your emergency supply kit so you don’t need to go searching for it when you’re in the midst of an emergency.
Have records handy.
Have a binder in your emergency kit that details important information such as your veterinary clinic’s contact info, proof of ownership, medical and vaccination records, and service animal documentation (if applicable). It’s also not a bad idea to have updated photos of your pet in the binder in case you are separated.
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock
Have your kit at the ready.
Store your disaster preparedness kit in an easy-to-access place, preferably near your front door. This allows you to grab it and go when disaster strikes without having to hunt for it amid the chaos.
Check your kit twice a year.
Put a reminder on your phone to check your disaster kit every six months. Remove items that are close to their expiry date and replenish your stock as necessary.

Things to Consider for Other Pets
While this article focuses primarily on protecting dogs and cats, let’s not forget about our other beloved household pets. We know there are countless birds, reptiles, guinea pigs, and other little critters sharing your homes with you, so make sure you’ve given them some thought as you prepare your emergency plan.
You should, at the very least, have a small cage you can use to transport your other pets easily. In the case of reptiles that may require heating and UVB sources, you may wish to have extras on hand you can take along in case of emergency.
Additionally, you may be asked to evacuate with only minutes to spare, in which case you may not be able to hoist your bearded dragon’s 50-pound tank out of your home while also grabbing your other necessities. Some owners like to have a travel cage they can grab quickly on their way out.

You can never be too prepared for a disaster. The last thing you want to do when you’re panicking while facing an immediate evacuation order is run around your home gathering items that should have been all ready to go for you. The above checklist is a great jumping-off point to begin putting together your disaster preparedness kit. Feel free to add to it as you see fit to personalize the equipment for your family and pets. Also, reach out to your vet to see if they have additional suggestions on what to have ready.

Featured Image Credit: speedshutter Photography, Shutterstock

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