Top 5 Tips for Household Pet Emergency Preparedness

For those of us that are pet lovers and wouldn’t leave home without Sparky there are certain tips we recommend for dealing with pet emergency preparations. Feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions below.

1. Get a FREE Pet Rescue Alert Sticker. The ASPCA offers a sticker that alerts people that pets are inside your home or in the general premise. Make sure it is placed in an area where rescue workers could see it. There is space to include the types and number of pets and the name and contact info of your animal’s veterinarian. If you are able to evacuate your pets write "EVACUATED" across the sticker.

2. Arrange a Safe Place Post-Rescue

You might need to find a place for your pet to stay, you can do this by contacting your local veterinarians for a list of boarding kennels and facilities. See if your local animal shelter provides emergency shelter or foster care for pets. You can also identify hotels outside of your immediate area that accept pets so you have an action plan. Maybe you have a friend or relative outside of the area that would be willing to take in your pet in case of an emergency.

3. Emergency Grab N Go Kits

While we don’t sell animal emergency products at The Ready Store there are some components of our kits that could be beneficial to helping your household pet. For the other items you are going to need to collect them on your own (not aware of a company that sells animal emergency kits). Anyways this is the list from the ASPCA along with some of our suggestions:

- Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
- 3-7 days' worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
- Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
- Litter or paper toweling
- Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
- Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
- Pet feeding dishes
- Extra harness and leash (Note: harnesses are recommended for safety and security)
- Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember some medications need to be rotated otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
- Water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet
- A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
- Blanket
- Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
- Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
- Especially for dogs: Long leash and yard stake, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner.

4. Make Sure Tags are Current and In Place

Make sure identification is on the per, namely: name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet's name, your name and contact information on your pet's carrier as well. Microchipping is also a nice option as well for tracking purposes.

5. Make and Evacuation Plan

You should already have one for you and your family, if not check out our ReadySteps resource, but you should also think about how your pet fits into the overall plan. Have items near your other grab-n-go kits so you can save time and get out as quickly as possible. Most importantly think through the “what ifs” and be prepared for the different scenarios that might come your way given your location’s unique geographic and climate considerations.

For additional information for birds, reptiles, and small animals such as gerbils go here for additional information.

13 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips for Household Pet Emergency Preparedness”

  • Rebecca

    This is a good topic, thanks for writing about it. I just wish that some of the items on a list had an explanation for why we would need on. I don't understand why I would need a pillowcase for my cat, for example, or liquid dish soap.

    Another thing to note... I do animal rescue and have contacts throughout the U.S. Please do not plan on trying to contact a local shelter or rescue group during an emergency. If that is your plan of action, it is going to fail. Our foster homes across the board are over flowing. It appears that people these days think pets are dispensable. During good times they get a dog to fulfill the "American dream" and then when times get bad, they are unwilling to plan for their pets care, either... so they dump their pet at a shelter, rescue or even on an empty country road. Or worse yet, as they leave their foreclosed home, they lock their pet inside!!!

    Or, they don't have their pet altered, so puppies arrive, oh, so cute! Yes, but as a result of THAT careless stupid decision of theirs, another 10 pets were euthanized at a shelter that morning.

  • Mona B

    Rebecca, about the pillowcase ... Not sure if this is what they have in mind ... During Hurricane Hugo, we saw TV footage of a women being rescued by boat off of Sullivans Island (bridge had been destroyed), with her cat inside of a pillowcase. She had it knotted at the top, with a hole cut out just big enough for cat's face to see through! It was a heartbreaking to watch but the pillowcase worked!!! Cat was secured and safe!!!

  • John

    One company that offers pet kits and accessories is at . You may still need to find a few specific things on your own, depending on your situation.

  • John

    At the risk of mentioning a competing company, QuakeKare sells pet emergency kits. You may still have to get some specific items on your own, depending on your situation.

  • Ann

    Thanks Rebecca for your comment. It's so true. America has become a very thoughtless, disposable nation.

  • Laura Patterson

    I have been giving this a lot of thought. I plan to go get a roll of horse wire and keep it in the truck. My husband and I decided if the kind of ER came up where we had to leave town, we would be all going in our truck. So the stakes and wire will make a quick pen at my sister in laws property. I also got sturdier harnesses and leashes, along with extra dog food, ear wash for my Golden, and extra medication for the one that needs it. We don't want to be caught unprepared.

  • Laura

    One more really important thing.
    Keep a copy of your shot records in your boogie pack. We have what we call the "football" with all the important paperwork we need to take with us. The shot records are there so we have documentation that our pets are safe around others.

  • Linda

    I don't understand why dry cat food has to be replenished every two months. Then how can we store up a year's supply?

  • Colleen

    Amen Rebecca. Ther are's who sell pet emergency kits;,, (they have components for do-it-yourself kits too), and also check and ebay. I made my own kits. For ease of use and storage, I bought doggie backpacks (I have large dogs so they are able to wear a backpack). They have food, water, etc. plus their blankets are rolled up sleeping bag style and attached with velcro. For the cats, I put a bed, litter, food, etc. in their carrier with plenty of room for them inside as well.Linda, I'm not sure why they said replace the food every two months. Dry food is good for at least a year and canned at least two years, as per manufacturer. The important thing is we prepare for our pets.

  • nancy

    I was wondering about the storage of cat food also. I thought about getting those oxygen packets to put in with the food. Does anyone know if that would work?

  • Ramie

    You have to be VERY cautious when sealing/canning ANY food. The higher the fat content the shorter the shelf life. I would carefully research this first. Try
    You may also find other websites with helpful canning information. I don't think I would can dry pet food with the oxygen packs. Personally, we keep a special container by the pet food and know that in an emergency, we will fill it. We have an family emergency evacuation list posted with assignments for these types of tasks. Good luck!

  • Jeannie

    When it comes to the dry food, if you have a vacuum sealer, it works wonders in keeping dry food in packages that will last quite awhile. I have two cats and took dry food and made several smaller vacuum sealed packs. When the time comes, I just open one of the packs and it holds enough to feed them both out of one bag and I have several in a backpack to last a few days if need be.

  • dale

    thank you, you all gave great ideas, very helpful. my nikki,cammy,arny and nala thank you a bunch.

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