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Disaster Preparedness: Putting Together a Pet Emergency Kit

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As pet parents, we do everything we can to turn our homes into safe havens for our furry friends. But what happens when disaster strikes, requiring you and your pet to evacuate your perfectly pet-friendly home

As much as we hope against disasters, natural and otherwise, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Keep reading for some helpful disaster preparedness tips so you and your pet can stay as safe and comfortable as possible in the event of an emergency.

Pet Emergency Kit vs. Pet First Aid Kit: What’s the Difference? 

While the concept is somewhat similar—a kit prepared in advance to help with unexpected events—pet emergency kits and pet first aid kits serve two different purposes. 

A pet first aid kit is designed to be useful in times when your pet becomes sick or injured, whether you’re at home or on the road. Even in cases of medical emergencies, the environmental circumstances don’t necessarily change. 

A pet emergency kit, on the other hand, comes in handy in times when you and your pet may be required to evacuate your home on short notice, either temporarily or permanently—floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires, for example. 

Ideally, you will have an emergency kit prepared and ready to go for both you and your pet well ahead of time. That way, you have one less thing to worry about in the event of a disaster. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use those disaster preparedness kits. But, as the adage goes, it’s always good to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Pet Emergency Kit Checklist 

When you compile emergency kits for both you and your pet, it’s helpful to keep everything consolidated and easy to carry. Keep it clearly labeled and stored near an exit so it’s easy to grab on the go without much warning. 

Your pet’s emergency kit should include: 

Travel Carrier

Ideally, you’ll have one carrier for each pet. It should be large enough for your furry friend to stand, turn around, and lie down, keeping in mind that he may need to stay contained for several hours at a time if you’re on the road

Comfortable bedding and favorite toys certainly don’t hurt, either! 

Leash, Harness, and ID Collars

The last thing you want is to lose track of your pet during a time of crisis. In addition to a crate or travel carrier, you’ll also want to bring a leash and harness for those times when it’s safe to remove your pet from his travel carrier. 

Your pet’s collar should have an ID tag with up-to-date contact information; it’s also a good idea to get your pet microchipped as an added precaution. 

Food and Water

Your pet should have familiar food and safe drinking water to last at least five days. If your pet eats wet food, don’t forget to pack a manual can opener. 

Rotate the food every so often—at least every six months—to ensure that it’s not expired if and when you need to use it. 


While times of crisis don’t exactly call for a consistent routine, it’s important to stay on top of your pet’s health as much as possible. 

Have a decent supply of your pet’s medications and supplements prepared and ready to go. As with food, keep this supply in a rotation so they don’t go bad. You’ll also want copies of your pet’s medical records, as you never know when you’ll need access to that crucial information. 

Bathroom Supplies

If you have a cat, you’ll want a portable litter box, or even a cardboard box or disposable aluminum pan. You’ll also want a supply of familiar litter, a litter scoop, and garbage bags for cleanup. 

For dogs, you’ll want plenty of poop bags and maybe even a pooper scooper. 

Because you don’t know how long your pet may need to stay contained in a travel carrier, it’s also a good idea to bring paper towels or newspapers to act as a crate liner. 

First Aid Kit

Every disaster preparedness kit should contain a first aid kit with the essentials for handling a sick or injured pet. 

It also doesn’t hurt to take a pet first aid course so you’re confident about what to do in case of a medical emergency while you’re away from home. 

Additional Considerations 

Some other items you may want to have on hand include: 

  • Current photos of you and your pet. These will come in handy if you need to make a poster for your lost dog or cat, or if you become separated and need to prove that the animal belongs to you.

  • Grooming items, depending on your pet’s needs.

  • Flashlight. 
  • A list of preferred boarding facilities, animal shelters, or hotels that allow pets.

  • Information about your pet’s meal schedules, medications, and any other health or behavioral issues in case you need to temporarily place them in a boarding facility, foster care, or with a family or friend who can act as a backup caregiver.

Man in black shirt hugging tan and white dog

Soothe Your Anxious Dog with Pet Honesty

Understandably, a sudden change in environment and routine can be stressful for your pet (and you!  

Pet Honesty’s Calming Hemp Chews are made with a blend of natural calming ingredients including chamomile, ginger root, passion flower, and hemp oil, which work together to soothe your anxious dog during stressful situations. For those who need to spend lots of time on the road, these chews are also helpful for relieving motion sickness.