Pets and Preparedness

Being prepared for our pets is something that we haven’t covered much on the blog, but it is VERY important as many of us feel like pets are part of the family and/or they can also provide needed food in emergencies (i.e. eggs, milk, meat, etc.) We have received a number of helpful tips and links from our readers and we have compiled them here so you can start thinking about and planning for your pets.

Pets and Preparedness

Disaster Kit Ideas For Cats/Dogs

-1 gallon of water
-1 plastic gallon jug filled with dry food
-1 12 pack box of wet food packets
-1 small bag of treats
-Small litterbox (for cats)
-Litter scoop (for cats) or pooper scooper shovel (for dogs)
-Plastic gallon jug filled with kitty litter (for cats)
-Small plastic trash bags for scooped waste disposal
-Towel
-Mini pet first aid kit
-Vaccination/vet records
-Color photo of cat/dog
-Extra collar w/contact info
-Leash and harness
-Carrying container (optional)

Free Handouts

From Ready.gov
Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
Trifold Brochure or 2-sided handout

From American Veterany Medical Association
Saving the Whole Family – Disaster Preparation
(14 page brochure, includes info on regular housepets, livestock, and other non-traditional pets)

Helpful Links

American Humane Society – Preparation for Pets and Livestock
FEMA – Disaster Information for Pet Owners
Reader Submission – Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Do you have any other links or tips to share for prepping for your pets? We’d be happy to add them to this list if you post them in the comments!

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Pets and Preparedness


  • Carol

    When a massive category 5 cyclone was going to descend upon us I put a 1 man tent in my laundry room, rounded up my little flock of ducks and put them in the tent with water and food to last a few days. Then, if we had to vacate during the emergency and couldn’t get home due to blocked/flooded roads for a day or two, they had food and water to last them through the crisis. They were safer inside the house than being locked in an outdoor pen, coup or shed. As it was, a tree fell on the duck pen, so they would have been terrified and possibly injured or killed if they had been shut in the pen. When it was again safe I only had to open the laundry door to the garden, unzip the tent and let them go. For cleaning I turned the tent inside out, hung it on the clothesline, thoroughly hosed it down and left it dry in the sun. I gave it a few days sun exposure to disinfect it before rolling it up, labelling it “Ducks” (we wouldn’t to grab the wrong tent for human use after that!) and put it in the garden shed for future emergency duck use. I have since added a large airline animal carrier to my collection of emergency duck housing that will fit inside the laundry. It is more solid and easier to clean.

  • Cheri Young

    I have a large dog and live in AZ. I’ve got the food, water, medical and the usual miscellaneous pet supplies & documents taken care of. He has his own backpack that he carries as well as booties to protect his feet. In addition I have his leash hanging by the door with an extra leash, muzzle and collar in his backpack. He has been rattlesnake trained (avoidance). This was for his protection as well as ours. As soon as he smells a rattler he retreats in the opposite direction and lets us know. He is obedience trained and we are working on teaching him when to bark and when to be quiet (on command).

  • Good post. If hurricane Katrina has taught us anything it should point out that pets are among the first victims post-disaster given that hundreds of thousands died or were abandoned. People need to be as responsible for their pets as they are for their children.

  • Anonymous

    After a few hurricanes where people refused to evac because hotels and shelters refused pets, more hotels started accepting pets during evac’s. But only if the pet is in a pet carrier – not a box, but an actual pet carrier.

    Also, I’d include a mylar blanket for pets having to ride in the back of a truck. For summer evacs, put the mylar shiny-side out (maybe put a sheet over the mylar as not to blind other drivers), and in winter, shiny side in. Tuck the blanket under the cage, but also put additional things to hold it in place – like bungee cords – in case of shifting.

  • Anonymous

    After a few hurricanes where people refused to evac because hotels and shelters refused pets, more hotels started accepting pets during evac’s. But only if the pet is in a pet carrier – not a box, but an actual pet carrier.

    Also, I’d include a mylar blanket for pets having to ride in the back of a truck. For summer evacs, put the mylar shiny-side out (maybe put a sheet over the mylar as not to blind other drivers), and in winter, shiny side in. Tuck the blanket under the cage, but also put additional things to hold it in place – like bungee cords – in case of shifting.

  • Cheri

    I used my food saver to vacuum pack serving size dry food for my dog.  It helps keep it fresh and eliminates spillage.  Also helps keep the critters away.  I also bought collapsible water and food bowls.  They have the rubber/plastic collapsible ones as well as the canvas ones

  • nobodyssister

    A gallon of dry food?  TuxGirl may think me pathetic, but I am working toward a year’s worth of dry food on hand for each of my 3 cats.  and a year’s worth of water too.

    • Midnight_Train

      I am well on my way toward a year of the dry, canned, and the litter (the litter I have). The first thing to stop being shipped before a disaster (or as soon as one is known to be inbound) is cat/dog food and litter. And the last thing to pick back up on the shelves is cat/dog food and cat litter. Stock up! My cats would quite miserable if I ran out of food while sheltering-in or in an evacuation.(Yes, to the water! That is covered).
      Each cat has a carry crate and a wire crate (wire crates lay flat in transport), a cooling pad (we live in the south) and also a self-heating pad (stress), and electric fan. On my blog, I am doing a “one small thing” for 2015 so folks can assemble a simple pet first aid kit and learn basic first aid skills (taking a temperature) before they call the vet. January, our “one small thing” is the thermometer (10-second digital/flexible thermometer, covers and lubricant). Each month, we stock up a bit more on the food (canned, dry, and water, and any keep an extra bottle of pet medications in the pet go-bag).

  • Cathy

    We also keep a few bags of lactated ringer’s solution and needles on hand for being able to give the fluid bubbles.  You’d probably have to talk to your vet about this, though, as at least in our state we need a prescription for the LRS.  They also showed me how to do this back when one of our cats was in renal failure.

  • roxy2711

    Where would I find a pet first aid kit? My vet maybe?

    • Midnight_Train

      You can assemble one yourself!:) There is an app for cats, “Cat First Aid Buddy” that tells you now only what you need, but prices and how to use. I am doing a “one small thing” on my Facebook for 2015 to get both dog/cat owners to put together a pet first aid kit (low cost) and learn how to use everything. Thing month we covered the thermometer, temperature and how to take the temperature. Very easy. Always ask your vet if you have questions or need guidance (or a demo).

  • We have a 72 hour kit for our cats, we packed it in a rolling carry-on suitcase that we got at goodwill. Why would you include a gallon of dry food tho? We have 3 days worth of dried food in seperate little bags for each meal…  Is it because you are less likely to have access to cat food in 72 hours than you are to have access to human foods by then?

    • GoodyScrivener

      Buying individual-meal sized bags of food is much more expensive than buying even the small 3 pound bags of food. Packing food into individual meal-sized portions increases the amount of waste you need to deal with later. Even with 3 cats, a whole gallon of food is more than necessary for a 72 hour kit, but I’m more likely to re-use a washed out milk or water jug to store an emergency supply than to go out and acquire a smaller container.

    • GoodyScrivener

      Buying individual-meal sized bags of food is much more expensive than buying even the small 3 pound bags of food. Packing food into individual meal-sized portions increases the amount of waste you need to deal with later. Even with 3 cats, a whole gallon of food is more than necessary for a 72 hour kit, but I’m more likely to re-use a washed out milk or water jug to store an emergency supply than to go out and acquire a smaller container.

  • TuxGirl

    I had to laugh at this article. I don’t have any pets, but around these parts (western washington), they have put up some billboards advertising emergency preparedness. All of the ones I’ve seen have the slogan “Who’s depending on you?” then a picture of a cat or a dog. I’ve been on the lookout, certain that there must be at least one someplace that shows a human (children, grandparents, something like that), but so far, I haven’t found a single one. 

    I know that around here there are quite a few people who have pets instead of children, but seeing this article after spending quite a bit of time pondering those billboards made me laugh. 🙂

    It is important to plan for protecting our pets in emergencies, but remember the humans too! 😛

    • James

      Providing for ones children in an emergency is common sense. The point of the billboards (and the article) is that people don’t always think about what their pets are going to need.

  • carole

    ty, i’m honored you included the bisquits! Pet co routinly gives away can’s of cat food in our area check their web page! great tips you listed!