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Natural Disaster Preparedness

Tips on packing a disaster preparedness kit for our pets.


With the recent devastating fires in Canada as a reminder, it's a very good idea to always have a emergency/natural disaster kit specifically for pets prepared and ready to go in case you need to quickly evacuate. Here's a short list of key items to include:

1. Medications - If your dog is on any prescriptions, or has special over-the-counter medication he needs for special conditions such as skin problems, make sure you have some on hand in your bag. Include a copy of your prescriptions and your prescribing veterinarian's contact information as well in case you become incapacitated and someone needs to care for your pets.

2. Water - You can either put in a few bottles or a jug of water, or consider a tip from AAHA's Dr. Jane Demming, who suggests a water purifier instead, which is easier to carry and can be used for larger quantities of water.

3. Extra Collars and Leashes - Having extra on hand is a good idea if one becomes lost or broken. It's a good idea to have tags on all the extra collars with your up to date contact information.

4. Toys - Having one or two toys on hand can give a dog something to focus on when they are in a stressful situation.

5. Blanket or Substitute - Since your dog is likely to be stressed or anxious during this time, as will you, bringing something familiar for them to snuggle with, such as a blanket or even an old sweatshirt or towel that smells like you can be helpful for them.

6. First Aid Supplies - In case your pet is injured in transit and you cannot make it to a veterinarian quickly, have some basic supplies on hand such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, skin ointment for burns and cuts, wound cleaner such as iodine, and medical tape.

7. Food - Have a couple days' worth of your dog's food on hand, which you can keep in airtight container. You might also want to bring some of their favorite treats which can be useful when your dog is frightened or anxious.

8. Photo - Having a printed photo of your pet on hand can be a lifesaver if your pet gets separated from you during evacuation.

Some other things that are worth considering:

  • Microchip your pet and/or make sure tags are up to date.
  • Have a plan in place so that if you ever need to evacuate in a hurry, family members know where to meet up with you and reunite with you and your dog(s).
  • If you don't have family or friends nearby you can stay with, keep a list of pet friendly motels handy. Or, another option, have a app on hand on your smartphone that can find pet friendly locations, although with some major emergencies, be aware that cell phone reception may be disrupted some having an "old fashioned" printed list as back up in your bag is a good precaution!

Sources: "Its An Emergency! What to Pack in an Evacuation Kit" (AAHA) and theĀ American Red Cross

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