I’ve always had this lurking anxiety about what would happen to my pets in case of an emergency or a natural disaster. So, my husband and I decided to make a go bag for our little chunkers. Consider this the over-prepared guide to creating an emergency pet bag.
It is always a good idea, in times of stress, to make sure your pets have their own bed, and ideally a crate. We have a giant foldable, lightweight crate that can fit two of our pups in it. If we ever had to evacuate to a crowded area, or needed to spend the night elsewhere, it would definitely help our more high strung pup acclimate. In terms of beds, we have a few, thin waterproof pup beds that wouldn’t take up much space if we needed to pack them.
If your pet takes medication regularly, make sure you always have a good supply of it in case you need to bail quickly and don’t have time to refill their prescription. It is also a good idea to keep about a month’s worth of flea meds in the bag, in case you need to take your pet to an animal holding area, or you are staying in a temporary space. Fleas not only are annoying, but can cause skin irritations, allergic reactions and gross diseases.
Food is such an important necessity to take with you, and if you’re feeling flustered, it is something you may even forget to take. In a large sealed contained or baggie, measure out about 10 days worth of dry food. We typically switch this out every few months, just to keep it as fresh as possible. If you feed wet food as well, pack about 5 cans. These tend to last longer, so make sure to check the expiration when refreshing your supply, as you will probably need to do this less frequently.
Make sure you pack at least a week's worth of water for your pets. Depending on how many pets you have, and how much they drink per day, you can calculate the appropriate amount. It is also a good idea to bring along a couple of refillable water bottles that can keep the water chilled.
Pack some extra blankets and sweaters to keep your pups warm in the evenings. For pups with short fur, make sure you get thicker sweaters and blankets. Remember warmth contributes to your pup’s overall comfort in their environment, so if you aren’t going to be home, make sure to prioritize their toastiness.
A pup first aid kit should include bandaging materials, oral syringes, cotton balls, tweezers, scissors, towels, disposable gloves, stethoscope, cold/heat pack, rehydrating fluids, wound disinfectant, antibiotic ointment for skin and eyes, anti-itch cream and emergency eye wash solution. You may also add more items according to your specific pet’s needs, but this is a good base for you to work off of. You can purchase pre-made first aid kits on amazon.com, or at your local pet store as well. If you do choose to make your own, make sure to store it in a sealed container so items remain as clean as possible.
Make sure to pack several packs of poo bags, so you can clean up after your pets. Dog poo contains a ton of bacteria, so be sure to keep your space nice and tidy.
If your pet has a license or identification number, be sure to keep those together in a sealed, waterproof bag. This documents that you legally have rights to the pet. Vet record copies, in particular shot records should also be kept in a waterproof, sealed bag. Many crowded areas like boarding facilities will require these documents before admitting your pet.
Always make sure your pets have the proper tags, as another means of identifying them in case they get lost. Tags should note your pet’s name, and at least two contact numbers.
Familiar toys and bones can create a sense of comfort for your pet, as it may remind them of home, and keeps them mentally occupied. Purchase a couple replicates of their favorite toys and keep them in your emergency pet bag just in case.
Being prepared for an emergency can relieve a lot of stress if that day ever comes where you have to evacuate, or stay in a temporary shelter with your pets because of a natural disaster. The less stressed you are, the calmer your pets will be. Happy Packing!
About the Author: Gabrielle Applebury is a Marriage and Family Therapist intern who specializes in working with individuals who have experienced trauma. Together with her husband she has adopted three dogs, two cats and two horses. She uses her horses to provide equine assisted therapy, and her three-legged pup Lily often accompanies her to work. Find her on Instagram:@lilythetripod, Twitter: @gabbyapplebury, and on her Website: theptsdcenters.com.