For those of you who aren’t already painfully aware, my dogs are kind of my life. They just turned 6 years old last month, and they just complete me. I rescued them as puppies, and it’s ridiculous how spoiled they are. So when I started researching this whole prepping business, I kept wondering to myself, “what do people do to prep for their animals?” Surely, an emergency pet kit must be a thing, right?
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Cut to a few months later, and a wildfire in California got scary-close to my uncle’s house. My uncle is a vet, and his family has just sort of… found themselves with 10+ cats that they’ve rescued from various situations. And they had no plan. Thankfully, they didn’t have to evacuate. And thankfully, all their animals are still safe and sound. But it really got me thinking, and worrying about if something was to happen here. What plan did we have in place for safely caring for the dogs long-term or in the event we needed to evacuate?
I won’t leave without my dogs, plain and simple. So, with some research, I found some other amazing, like-minded pet owners who weren’t willing to prepare for themselves without also preparing for their furry children. And so one of the very first kits I set up was for Keira and Spencer.
With some planning and research, am emergency pet kit is painfully easy. Note: my kit is designed with dogs in mind, but it’s also a great base for a cat kit, or really a kit for any pet. You’ll want to make some adjustments based on your specific pet and their needs. This kit is highly customizable so it’s easy to set it up to fit your needs.
Our kit is tucked neatly into a medium Sterilite container that stays in the front hall closet with my go-bag. It’s relatively light weight and easy to grab in the event of evacuation. Be sure to include enough for all of your animals — I have two dogs, so the below kit is doubled in order to accommodate.
I’m a huge, huge fan of freeze-dried food. It lasts a long time and is lightweight, so it won’t weigh you down. Plus it’s nutrient-packed and most contain no by-products, corn, wheat, or soy.
Dogs require approximately a 1/2 gallon of water per day. I have three extra gallon jugs stored nearby specifically for them, and a couple of disposable bottles in their backpacks (more on that below!).
Collapsible bowls are the best! There’s a bunch of different kinds out there, but I prefer the canvas folding ones. They’re light and can be easily squished into any nook. For water, I bought up a couple of nifty H204K9 stainless steel water bottle travel bowls. It’s a stainless steel bottle with a cap that doubles as a water bowl. We’ve used them for hiking and they’re just amazing.
Consider items like toys, treats, and bedding that your pet will require or simply enjoys. Pack a favorite toy or bone to occupy them in the car. Also bring along blankets or towels for your pet to sleep on, and a sweater for smaller pets in cool weather. I have two towels and a fleece blanket rolled in our kit.
Backpacks are an item I danced around for a long time as a trainer. I thought people looked silly hiking their dogs with their own pack, but there’s really a TON of good reasoning behind them. If you have a medium-large breed dog, I highly recommend investing in backpacks. We even use our backpacks a few times a week on walks or when we go hiking! They’re stored with the emergency pet kit in the event we need to leave quickly, and as a bonus they have a bottle of water in each pouch (4 total), so they’re carrying some of their own supplies.
Pet first aid kits are readily available at most pet stores and are essential for an emergency pet kit. Heck, they’re essential to any home with pets. You can also easily create your own. Be sure to include gauze, vet wrap, vinyl gloves, scissors, tweezers, a pet thermometer, syringes for administering medication and hydration, a muzzle (they make these for cats too!), and styptic powder. You should also include some allergy medication (children’s Benadryl), Pedialyte or other electrolyte supplement, and any medications your pet requires.
Remember, in the event of evacuation, your pet may be way from home for an extended period of time. Consider a way to contain your pet for their safety or the safety of others. Even the best behaved pets might take off if startled. For smaller dogs, cats, and other small pets, a soft-sided crate would be a great option. My dogs are over 90 lbs each, so I found a couple of folding wire crates on Craigslist for $80. Also make sure you have an extra collar and leash, or a couple of sturdy slip leads. Slip leads are great for cats, small pets, and even reptiles in a pinch by using as a figure-8 harness. You may also want to consider a tie-out.
Your kit should contain essential information about your pet — most important of all, copies of your pet’s vaccination records. My vet has an app, but I also request physical copies at each visit. I keep an updated copy in their folder, and another in our emergency pet kit. It’s also a great idea to store some first aid prinatables for on choking, CPR, seizures, and basic pet first aid procedures for your pet.
That’s it for this week’s Practical Preparedness! With just a little time and thought, it’s easy and affordable to pull together a emergency pet kit! Want to read more? Check out the rest of our series below, and stop by next week for our 4th and final week.
Do you have any emergency preparations made for your pets? What do you plan on putting into place? Let me know in the comments below!