Emergency Kit for Your Pet

Pet Travel Center

We never want to experience a disaster or an emergency, but as the adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you have pets, it’s as important to be prepared for a potential emergency for them as it is for you and have an emergency kit for your pet ready at all times.

Emergency Kits

Emergency kits are h andy to have well stocked in case of a crisis. Depending on where you live, you might need to have one on h and just for problems that crop up before you can get to a veterinarian. For some people who live in areas where wildfires and other natural disasters occur, having an emergency kit can make the difference between life and death because you might not be able to get to a veterinarian readily.

Maintaining an Emergency Kit

While an emergency kit may sound like something small, it should contain all the things your pet will need, including food and a carrier if you have a cat or small dog. When preparing for this, make sure you have identification for your pet that they will wear at all times, and you should also have a spare in your emergency kit in case you need to remove your pet’s collar—such as it getting stuck on something while evacuating. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), basics of your emergency kit should include: 

  • Anything to safely transport your pet:
    A well-fitted carrier or a harness and leash.
  • A pet first aid kit and book with directions on life-saving methods:
    This should be regularly maintained to ensure no supplies are expired. 
  • Several days of food and water for your pet:
    Canned food that can easily be opened is great, but if your pet isn’t used to canned food it could give them an upset stomach. Consider dry food that you rotate out every couple of months instead. Typically you want to have at least three days of clean, fresh bottled water for each person and pet—a week’s worth is even better. 
  • Food and water dishes for your pet:
    You should also be prepared with something to clean these dishes, such as dish soap or disinfectant to prevent germs and grime from building up. 
  • Any medicine your pet needs:
    Keep at least a two week supply h andy of any medications. Like with food, these should be rotated out regularly to prevent them from expiring. 
  • Disposable litter trays and cat litter for your cat:
    You can often pick up aluminum pans from your local dollar or discount store to pick up a couple of these. 
  • Anti-anxiety pheromones for your pet:
    While these aren’t essential in every case, they can help keep your pet relaxed while you are traveling or in a new area during an emergency. 
  • Garbage bags:
    Bags for you to pick up any messes and dispose of them to help prevent rodents or pests.
  • A flashlight:
    Disasters might strike at night or to help find a runaway pet. Be sure to check on the flashlight’s power source regularly.
  • A copy of all medical records:
    While you need vaccine records for entering places such as hotels or shelters, a copy of your pet’s medical record can help temporary veterinarians if you have to seek care while you’re out of town and your veterinarian’s office is closed. 
  • A blanket for each pet:
    This can help them stay comfortable and warm. In an emergency situation, it can also help ward off shock for pets and people. 
  • Recent photos of your pet:
    You will need photos to identify your pet in case you get separated and need to make lost posters or claim them from a shelter situation. 
  • Toys:
    These provide the comforts of home even when you’re traveling or stuck in a shelter. 
Keep a blanket in your emergency kit for your pet well to keep your pet warm.
Keep a blanket in your emergency kit for your pet well to keep your pet warm.

Emergency Preparations and Your Pet

The following items help to identify and protect your pet in case of a disaster.

Pet collar with identification

Each pet should wear a collar with its identification on it. This id should include as much information as possible to help rescuers. At the minimum you want to add:

  • Pet’s name
  • Your name
  • Your contact information
  • Any medical conditions, if necessary


While keeping a collar on your pet is great; in some circumstances, these can come off or need to be removed. More permanent identification is also recommended, such as a microchip. Your veterinarian can usually place these at any time, but consider having one placed when they get spayed or neutered. Many adopted pets are automatically microchipped when you bring your new pet home.

It is essential that you update the microchip with your information so that your pet is linked to you if they get scanned.

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Pet rescue stickers at home

Put rescue stickers near your doors or in windows to identify the pets you have in your house to potential rescuers. If a fire occurs, it can help firefighters to know that there are two dogs and one cat to look for while they clear the house. 

Know your shelter locations

Make sure you have a designated location or locations that you can escape to in the case of an emergency. Not all shelters allow pets, so having this information ahead of time is essential. 

Be prepared, just in case

While we hope you never need to use your emergency kit and supplies, it’s essential to keep them well-stocked and prepared, just in case. Remember to update any pet identification, including tags and microchips, if you move or change phone numbers. 

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