No one wants to think about disaster striking but it's important to have a just-in-case plan for you AND your pets. An important first step in being prepared is developing a Disaster Kit that you can grab on the go.
A basic Disaster Kit should include:
- Food and water for at least five days for each pet and food bowls and. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand to use for your pet. If you are packing canned pet food, be sure to include a manual can opener.
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first-aid kit. A pet first-aid book is also a good idea. Oftentimes, your pets' veterinarian can give you extra copies of your pets' medical records. Digital records are good to have, but in the event your phone or laptop does not work, paper copies are ideal.
- Garbage bags, cat litter, and a litter box to collect all your pets' waste. A shallow cardboard box can be used as a litter box when a plastic one is too cumbersome to pack.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and secure carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. Extra leashes and harnesses can ensure you aren't scrambling to find them when the time comes. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. (They may have to stay in it for hours at a time.) If your pet is prone to chewing, inspect the carrier's inside to ensure that your pet can’t dislodge or ingest items that could cause injury.
- Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited. This information can be kept digitally as well.
- Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in the care of someone else.
- A favorite toy for comfort and a familiar blanket for warmth, particularly for smaller pets.
You can learn more about preparing your pets for disasters at the ASPCA.