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Pet Emergency Kits

Updated on October 15, 2017
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.


Make It Easier For Rescuers and Emergency Shelters

From June 1st through November 30th is Hurricane Season along America’s Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; when tropical storms spin off the West coast of Africa and meander towards the U.S. Sometimes they make landfall, anywhere from Texas to Nova Scotia, and sometimes they stay out at sea.

Other coastal regions have slightly different begin and end dates for their hurricane season. But I’ll bet every year sees this one common thread: we think about putting together an emergency kit. But we never do, do we?

When a hurricane is 24 hours away, we strip every super market and convenience store of its milk, bread, bottled water and potato chips. Do we always think of pet food and pet supplies?

In recent years, we've seen loads of videos of natural disasters in which pets were isolated from their owners and trapped on rooftops or floating logs. Sometimes they were rescued, sometimes they weren't.

There are groups of dedicated volunteers who travel to disaster areas solely for the purpose of rescuing pets. We've seen them on the news and in documentaries. It all seems so distant and remote, like it could never happen "around here." Deep down, we know better.


Not All Shelters Accept Pets

And there are emergencies that aren't natural disasters, but that could cause us to become separated from our pets. We may have to evacuate our neighborhoods because of industrial accidents that release hazardous materials, or gas leaks, for example.

Your community may have predetermined shelters, usually in schools or the National Guard Armory, for just such emergencies, but they usually don’t allow pets. Can you imagine the chaos of a few hundred people and a few dozen pets crammed into the high school gym?

Those evacuations, which perhaps are intended to last for hours, could stretch into days, creating serious problems for our pets which are left at home. As part of a family disaster plan, prearrange evacuation sites for people and pets in your household.

Since you may not have the time or the opportunity to bring your pets with you, or otherwise attend to their needs, leave plenty of food and water where pets can help themselves.


Rescuers May Not Have Medical Supplies For Pets

A pet first aid kit is a good idea, too. That would help rescuers, whose supplies may be depleted, and is something you may need if you're able to bring your pets with you.

An appropriate sized pet carrier makes a good container for your kit, and, on its own, is a useful item in an emergency.

The kit should contain the name and phone number of your veterinarian and nearby relatives or friends who would be willing to take your pets.

Document any health problems and include medications being taken, and instructions on dosages.

The well-equipped first aid kit also contains a muzzle, collar and leash, an extra ID tag, immunization record, and a variety of medical supplies. Include rolls and pads of gauze, ace bandages or vet wrap, and adhesive tape (perhaps the hypo-allergenic type which won't hurt so much when removed).

A sheet or blanket (which can also be used as a stretcher) is a good idea, plus clean towels and an extra blanket if there's room.

Other materials to have in your pet’s first aid kit include isopropyl rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sterile saline solution, styptic powder, and activated charcoal. Include supplies such as tweezers, scissors, an oral syringe or eye dropper, and a rectal thermometer.

Get Your Veterinarian's Input For An Emergency Kit

There are medicines that should be included, but you'll need to check with your vet on what to include and instructions for their proper use.

For starters, write down and include instructions for Benadryl, canine aspirin or other analgesic, antibiotic ointment, and ophthalmic ointment.

You can include remedies such as Pectillin or other diarrhea medicine, anti-itch ointment for insect bites, and eye and ear wash solutions.

A cold pack is another item that should be included in your first aid kit. Keep in mind the fact that medicines and some solutions have expiration dates.

If you’re assembling an emergency kit for your pets, talk to the staff at your vet clinic about it. They may already have established a checklist that is more detailed than what I’ve included here. With any luck you'll never need the kit, but it's a good idea to have it.

HURRICANE SANDY OCT. 30, 2012 | Source

The past couple of decades have wrought calamitous disasters, not only in this country, but worldwide. We've witnessed gut-wrenching human suffering and billions upon billions of dollars in damage from hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding and landslides.

The havoc wreaked upon the Northeast United States by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was another in a series of wake-up calls reminding us that we really should be prepared for disasters, both natural and man-made.

How prepared are you for an emergency evacuation?

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    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hey, DrMark, if your beach ever gets whacked by a hurricane or tsunami, please leave your stash of mother boards where I can easily find them. God how I hate rummaging through rubble! Sorry, a little macabre humor, there.

      Actually, I think a high number of people are probably with you. I've seen news coverage of folks who are ignoring evacuation orders because they can't take their pets with them. You've gotta respect that much heart! Thanks for commenting, nice to have you stop by, as always. Regards, Bob

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Thanks for commenting, Patty, and you get an extra Attagirl for having a kit. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm one of those who stock up on bread, milk, water and potato chips the day before! And it drives me nuts when people lecture others, then don't comply with their own words. I'm finding it more and more difficult to find myself lovable anymore! Nice to have you stop by. Regards, Bob

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Sorry Bob, I am of that camp that says "If they dont want my dog, they dont want me." I would no more leave her at home alone than I would have abandoned my children as infants. It is a great idea to point out how we should all have first aid kits and be prepared, but...

    • Pages-By-Patty profile image

      Pages-By-Patty 5 years ago from Midwest

      A great hub, Bob! Kits for animals are similar to those for people so they're pretty easily assembled which is nice. Living in the Midwest, we're in tornado territory so I have a carriers readily available for each of my animals, just in case!

      And I also travel with a lost dog kit in my car which has a slip lead, canned food, water & bowl and list of vet clinic numbers. There's no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to animals!

      Thanks for the reminder, Bob!