Earthquake? Hurricane? Fires? What do I pack for my dog in an emergency?
Recently, we’ve had some earthquakes in Southern California which have put lots of people on edge wondering if the Big One will strike soon. During the serious Northridge quake of 1994, I was 8 years old and the world was a very different place. We didn’t have cell phones to call and check on everyone or facebook to update our status to safe but what I took away from that is to always make sure we have a working flashlight in the house and to know my local resources in case of emergency.
But there’s a lot more to have on hand than a flashlight, especially when we take into consideration our pets. I know Maggie and Rossi aren’t packing their own emergency bags so it’s up to me to be sure I have everything ready should an earthquake (or another natural disaster) come our way.
There’s a ton of preparedness lists online focusing on humans and what we need for ourselves so I’ll be focusing on our furry family members. Because we’re responsible for saving them, I’d be sure to leave a pair of shoes near your bed. If that sounds odd to you, let’s think about this: in an earthquake, there’s often glass and other debris from broken windows, light fixtures and other objects. You want to be able to escape and help your other family members get out safely. A pair of shoes at the ready will protect your feet and make you a more effective rescuer. The same goes for your flashlight – keep it next to your bed so you can reach for it without bumping around in the dark.
Here’s my top list of things in my dogs’ emergency kit:
Dog bowls. My top two choices would be two collapsible bowls as they’ll take up less room. Or the SleepyPod Yummy Travel bowl. This has three bowls in one, which during an emergency is great and you can keep water in them and it won’t spill. During an emergency, we don’t want to waste any good drinking water so I absolutely love this option.
Food! Having an extra supply of your pup’s food is huge. I personally try to keep at least 5 days worth of food on hand but at a minimum, aim for 2-3 days. If you feed a dehydrated or raw food, I would make sure you have adequate water storage or consider going for a different option to have as a backup for emergencies. I use Ziwi which is an air-dried food. There are a few reasons I love it – from being family owned and operating their own production facility to the high percentage of meat (96%). It’s also grain- and filler-free AND the shelf life is 21 months, meaning I can buy a small bag to keep in our safety kit for about two years.
Water. You probably have this in your human supplies but don’t forget that your dog will be needing this too.
Medications that your pet may need or takes regularly, including CBD, injections or prescriptions.
Vaccinations. Copies of your pets’ vaccinations and microchip number. Have a printed copy of this on hand as well as photos stored in your phone.
Printed photos of your pets in case they get lost, including a photo of your pet with you. You can also keep these stored on your cell phone.
Crates. If possible, bring their crates with you or have some sort of containment like a Sleepypod for a smaller pup. You don’t know where you’ll be and having somewhere safe for them to stay out of harm’s way is important. I’m a huge proponent of crate training (blog here) and in an emergency, it would be so helpful to know my dogs can relax and be safe in their crates while I load the car or clear debris. Animals often hide and get skittish when they sense danger, keeping them in their familiar crates lowers the chance of a lost pet.
Clothing. It might be cold at night or it might be winter or you might not have power for days. A good coat will keep your dog at a comfortable temperature.
Dog shoes. From glass to chemicals and contamination, keep your pets’ paws safe by having some shoes they can wear in a disaster.
An old towel. You’ll be surprised how useful you’ll find this. Even better – pack two towels.
Muzzle. If you have a muzzle-trained dog that gets nervous in new situations or in crowds or commotions, I highly recommend having an extra muzzle packed.
Chew toys. Because (1) boredom is likely to occur and (2) toys give our pups something to focus on in chaotic circumstances.
For cat owners: Extra cat litter. Of course.
Other necessities which need no explanation:
- Poop bags
- Extra leash
- Pet first aid kit (we keep ours in the car)
- Baby wipes
- Space blanket (this is good for lining a crate in cold weather)
There’s no guarantee if or when or how the next big disaster will happen but hopefully, you can worry just a little bit less about it now that you know that your pets will be well-prepared when you feel the room swaying. 🙂