September 21, 2017

The Comprehensive Pet Emergency Preparedness Plan

According to a National Pet Owner’s Survey, an estimated 62% of US households, or 72.9 million homes, have pets. On a survey completed by the American Kennel Club, only 61% of those households have included their pets in an emergency preparedness plan.


A simple fact in most emergencies is, the more prepared you are, the higher your pet’s chances of survival. Pets constitute some of the most vulnerable members of our family and they rely on their adult guardians for safety.

The following plan is a comprehensive and easy to prepare emergency kit, tailored for the millions of pet households who may believe “It won’t happen to us” or who perhaps, “Don’t know how” and “Haven’t had time yet”. All you need to do is prepare the paperwork and pack the duffel bag.

The Paperwork

Preparing the paperwork in advance of any kind of emergency will ensure your pets have an alternative adult guardian to care for them in your absence. It will also ensure that your pet has a safe place to stay with or without you, and it will maximize your pets overall health and well-being.

Most of the checklist details in this area can be done from your home. In order to prepare, you will need paper, a pen and a telephone. It will also be helpful to have access to the internet. Store all your completed paperwork in a large Ziploc bag or waterproof container.


Emergency Contacts And Telephone Numbers

Emergency Contacts And Telephone Numbers

In the event you and your pets need to evacuate:

Research and document telephone numbers for pet-friendly hotels, emergency shelters or boarding facilities in and around your immediate area. Add to this list, friends and family who may be willing to house you and your pets.

Choose a variety of options and geographic locations in order encompass any kind of emergency. Write these numbers down in your emergency contact page. It is also a good idea to include these numbers in your cell phone, if you have one.

In the event your pet is stranded at home alone:

Arrange with your neighbour, friend, family member and/or your local pet boarding facility to care for your pet in your absence. Your emergency contact person will need to have access to your home and as such, will need the location, or a copy, of your spare key. As well, your emergency contact person will, ideally, be familiar with your pet’s specific needs.

For instance, it would be helpful to know about their daily routines, feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavioural issues. Write these details down and add this to your waterproof document holder. Finally, let this person know the location of your emergency kit and add their number to your contact page and cell phone directory.


Health And Safety

Health And Safety


Ensure you have all your pet’s vaccinations up to date and make photocopies for your records. This is important not only for their healthcare, but also to increase your options if boarding or sheltering becomes a necessity.

Health Records and Instructions:

If your pet has any special needs, medications or allergies, it is necessary to document what they are to ensure that anyone, from your best friend to a complete stranger, can attend to your pet’s needs in the safest way possible.

Two Kinds of Identification:

Take a photo of each one of your pets. This is important if your animal is lost and you need to search the animal control facilities and shelters in your radius. These photos will also help you if you need to post “lost” notices in your neighbourhood and surrounding areas.

The second kind of ID that is critical is the one attached to your pet’s body. There are various options such as ID tags, microchips, or tattoos. Make sure you have at least one of these in place.

The Duffel Bag

The Duffel Bag

Locate a carrying case that is just big enough for your emergency supplies. Find one (or two) that you can grab-on-the-go, and ideally, one that is waterproof. A duffel bag, backpack, suitcase, or double-lined garbage bag will work just fine. Now that you’ve completed your paperwork, the following is a list of what to pack.

  • The paperwork you just completed, compiled in one Ziploc or waterproof container.
  • Non-perishable food in a waterproof container and bottled water, enough to last 5 days or so.
  • Pet carrying case and/or control devices if appropriate, such as an extra leash and collar.
  • Pet waste bags and/or litter and litter box. A towel or paper towel might also come in handy.
  • A toy and/or blanket and bedding. This is optional, but if you have the extra space, these “creature comforts” may help reduce stress.
  • First Aid Kit. You can assemble one yourself with direction from your veterinarian or animal care organization. Also, these organizations will often sell First Aid Kits and refer you to your local First Aid Training classes for advanced emergency preparation.
  • Medications. If your pet depends on medication, you will need to ask your veterinarian for an extra two week’s supply. Keep an eye, however, on those expiry dates.


If you have a vehicle that you often depend on for transportation and especially, if your pet travels with you, it is recommended that you make two of everything. This emergency action plan kit is portable and practical enough for you to store one in your home, as well as one, perhaps abbreviated version, in your vehicle.

Tragically, the very nature of an emergency often involves unforeseen, rapidly unfolding events that jeopardize the integrity and safety of ourselves and loved ones. Though there will never be a day where it “rains cats and dogs”, preparing the paperwork and packing your pet’s duffel bag will ensure that you’ve prepared for the unexpected.

No matter how tumultuous a crisis may be, it is important to know that you did the best you could. As such, the completion of this emergency preparedness plan for your pets will help you get through without regret, so you and your pet family can concentrate on healing and recovery.

Read more: Creating A Memorial Tribute To Your Pet

Lucy Sheppard

Hi, I’m Lucy Sheppard. I love pets, especially dogs. My love for these true friends of humans turned into a passion. This passion led me to start this pets website so that people like me can benefit from my study and research.

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