Disaster Prep Your Pets

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Are your pets ready for anything? My cats Pumpkin and Bean are excited to share some tips and tricks to help you create your pet preparedness plan!

orange tabby with homemade pet emergency kit

Protecting the animals you love is a load off your mind, and will save you time and heartache if disaster strikes. A little bit of planning now can do wonders to help your pets later…plus, it’s a great excuse to pick up a few fresh toys or that stylish new collar your pets have been drooling over (if your pets are anything like Bean, they drool a lot!).

Take a moment now to follow these steps and ensure your pets are ready for action. You won’t regret it!

Basic Steps to Preparedness Planning

  1. Know your enemy
  2. Make a plan
  3. Pack a K9 or kitty emergency kit
  4. Disaster-proof your home
  5. OK your pet ID

# 1 – It’s helpful to know in advance what you might be up against. Is your area more likely to face snowstorms or earthquakes? Will a tornado make your pet the next Toto the dog (or Toto the cat)? Wildfires and hurricanes may also pose a threat to your pets, in addition to home-specific emergencies such as electrical fires or localized flooding. Knowing what to expect means you know how to prepare.

Bean’s Helpful Hint: “Contact your local Red Cross to see which disasters might bark (or climb) up your tree.

# 2 – One of the simplest things you can do to protect your pets is to make a list of the steps you would take in an emergency. Who would grab the leashes? If you were out of town, would your neighbors know to get your pets? If your home was unsafe, where would you stay? Not all emergency shelters allow pets, so it’s good to have some housing options ready that fit your family’s needs and budget.

Pumpkin’s Planning Tip: “Make a list of pet friendly hotels in your area…I can haz continental breakfast?

tortie cat in the curtains

# 3 – Because transportation (and access to supplies) may be limited in an emergency, make sure to have enough food, treats, litter, water, medicine, and other consumables to last your pets at least five days. You should also set aside a sturdy kennel or carrier, pet bed, spare leash, bowls, and any favorite toys. Try to fit the small items into one container – that way, if you need to make a fast exit, you can put your pet in the carrier, grab the supplies, and go go go!

Bean’s Helpful Hint: “Keep the yummies in a sealed plastic or metal container…I like mice, but not in my kibble.”

Pumpkin’s Planning Tip: “Check expiration dates and replace items as needed. Kits are also purrfect for travel!”

Emergency supply checklists for dogs and cats

emergency kit for dogs

# 4 – Your pets may be home alone when a crisis hits, so be sure their daily environment is secure: check that heavy items are not suspended up high, especially near pet beds or litter boxes. Place emergency pet alert stickers on windows and doors so first responders will know how many animals you have, and make it clear where their supplies are located – I recommend keeping everything in a closet near the front door, and leaving a sign: “pet emergency kits inside.” Try to keep pet areas free of clutter so rescuers won’t trip over toys on their way to save your pets.

Bean’s Helpful Hint: “As a certified scaredy-cat, I know all the good hiding places in my pad. Why not make a list of my favorite spots so the first responders can find me?”

# 5Pet Identification is always a must. Make sure your pets are microchipped, and that their microchip registrations and external ID tags have your current phone numbers. Even if your pets are indoor-only, it is absolutely necessary to keep identification up-to-date…and here’s the tricky part: your pets actually have to be wearing their tags! 24/7 is the best way to go. You never know when “the big one” will hit – if your pets make a run for it while their collars and tags are sitting on the bathroom counter, they might not make it home. You wouldn’t let your kids run around naked; don’t let your pets go nude either.

Since even the best collars can break or fall off, microchips are an excellent safety net and provide permanent ID for your pets. Still, a microchip is useless without a current registration, so check with your registry to ensure your information is up-to-date. You can also register your pet’s microchip for free in the Found Animals  Registry. Remember, the chip itself does not store your information; that info has to be in a registry.

Pumpkin’s Planning Tip: “As an indoor cat, I consider my ID a savvy feline fashion statement. I wear my parents’ phone numbers like a locket by my heart, and my stunning tag tells everyone, ‘If I’m outside, I’m LOST!’”

Want more information about pet microchipping? Visit our microchip FAQs, or email the microchip registry team.

What’s in your Pet Preparedness Kit? Tell us below!

3 Responses

  1. Denise Fleck says:

    In a water proof container or baggy you should also have copies of your pet’s medical records and photographs of your pet with you…proof that you belong together. Additionally if your pet has special markings, photos from all different angles are like fingerprint helping you show others what your dog or cat looks like. And don’t forget your well-stocked up-to-date PET FIRST AID KIT! sunnydogink.com/products

  2. Cat's chief of staff says:

    Good info, but I would suggest getting a plastic storage box to use as a litter box. Other emergency items can be stored in the box until needed. Also, for large cats, or cats who stand up to pee, a storage box is the perfect litter box, you can tailor the size and height of the box to the size of the cat.

  3. Jill McAlister says:

    What a great article. Thanks for the helpful info!