While most individuals work hard to avoid emergencies as much as possible, the fact is that the best way to handle an emergency when it actually happens is to be prepared. Since pets are entirely dependent upon their owners for their every need, it follows that they are entirely unable to sufficiently care for themselves in an emergency situation. It is therefore simply good planning to have a pet emergency kit on hand.
Stocking a Pet Emergency Kit
There may be many things you can think of to include in a pet emergency kit, and while all may have some usefulness, there are ten basic items that are the most important, basic and useful, including:
- Water. Many natural disasters involve the at least temporary cut-off of normal utility services, including water. Fresh water, however, is a top priority for every living thing, and you should always have at least one week’s worth of water for each family member, including your pets.
- Food. In an emergency, where stress tends to run rampant, it can be important to keep things as normal as possible. This includes feeding schedules and rations. Canned, wet food is best for a pet emergency kit because it keeps better and provides more moisture than packaged dry food. Remember to include a can opener in your kit as well.
- Medications. Not all pets are on regular medications, and not all pets need to be. However, if you pet suffers from a chronic condition that does require the regular administration of medication in order to keep them healthy, your pet emergency kit should have an emergency supply of this medication on hand. You can speak with your pet’s veterinarian in order to determine the proper amount of medication to store for an emergency, and how to ensure it remains fresh for use.
- Proof of ownership. Your pet emergency kit should definitely contain photographs and ownership papers of your pet in a sealed, airtight container. It may be that you will have to evacuate your home and move to some sort of shelter, and proof of ownership is likely to be necessary should you want to keep your pet with you.
- Proof of recent vaccinations. Like proof of ownership, proof of your pet’s recent vaccinations can be critical in times of emergency, especially since most emergency shelters will require that your pet be entirely up-to-date on their vaccinations before they can be taken in.
- An emergency help list. The normal friends and neighbors you call on for help with your pet may not be available during an emergency, if they too are in basic survival mode. It is therefore very helpful to have a list of emergency contact points, including pet shelters and boarding facilities, that you can call for help.
- Leashes and pet carriers. No matter how well-trained and well-behaved your pet normally is, severe weather and disaster situations can cause them to panic and try to hide. Unfortunately, many pets may become injured or fatally trapped when this happens, so it is important to keep them on a leash or in a carrier while moving them from one place to another.
- ID tags. If your pet does somehow become separated from you during an emergency situation, your best hope of being reunited is with the help of their ID tags. A microchip can also be incredibly useful, as even ID tags can be pulled off if your pet tries to wiggle through tight spaces with their collar on.
- First aid kit. With the help of your pet’s veterinarian you should put together an emergency medical kit that can be used in the event that your pet becomes injured. This kit can include gauze or bandages, hydrogen peroxide, milk of magnesia and other important first aid tools.
- Comfort items. While your pet may no more relax during an emergency situation than you do, the fact is that favorite items like a pet bed, extra litter, clean blankets and towels and more can help to soothe them at least a little.
Being prepared to take care of your pet during an emergency situation can not only place you at greater ease, it can better ensure your pet’s and your family’s safety.