How To Prepare You And Your Dogs For An Emergency

Even though we hope to never be involved in any kind of emergency situation, we still do everything we can to prepare just in case. And that goes for our pets as well.

To help ensure you are ready for anything with your dog, here are 5 important tips to follow.

5 Emergency Preparedness Tips for You and Your Dog

1. Place a Pet Alert Sticker near your front door noting the number of pets, their species and contact numbers for you and your veterinarian. You may not be home when tragedy strikes, so this lets trained professionals know to help pets inside.

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2. Create a Plan by designating a meeting place for family members—identifying ones that accept pets (Red Cross Shelters do not). Make arrangements with out-of-town friends and relatives, but also check with pet day care and boarding facilities and your veterinarian to see if they will accommodate during a disaster. Compile a list of hotels where pets are welcome and set aside one credit card for emergency use (but use it regularly for small purchases and pay off quickly to keep it activated). Make sure ALL family members know how to handle pets since you cannot predict who will be home with the dog when emergency strikes.

3. Stash the following for each dog in an easy-to-carry backpack near the crate you’ll evacuate each pet in:

  • A two-week supply of food & medication stored in an airtight container. Make sure it is your dog’s normal food (do not change diets during stressful times) and replace every 6-months so that it is fresh when needed. Canned food helps with hydration, so include a manual can opener unless your cans have pop-tops. Don’t forget water (one gallon a day per pet for medium to large dogs), which also has a shelf life and shouldn’t be stored in direct sun.
  • Vaccination & Microchip Records as well as photos of your pet with the family as proof of ownership. Include pictures from various angles prominently showing special markings and colors as they identify your unique animal.
  • Basic Supplies including: treats, toys, bedding, food & water dishes, collars, harnesses and leashes, disinfectant for clean up, doggie bags, paper towels, zip ties, duct tape, garbage bags, and for the two-legged family members…food, water & medication, clothing, rubber-soled shoes, battery or solar-powered radio and a flashlight near your bed so that you can help your pets to safety. It’s also a good idea to have cash (in bills smaller than 20s) easily accessible, as ATM Machines may not be working.

Consider storing your goods in several locations so they’re easily accessible. Positioning items close to an outside wall in your home will allow easier access. Stowing duplicate items in your car is also a good idea.

4. Have a well-stocked and up-to-date Pet First-Aid Kit. SunnyDogInk pet first aid kids are a great way to prepare, but you should always have at least the following items:

  • Muzzle
  • Bandaging supplies
  • Antacids for upset tummies
  • Antihistamines for allergies & bee stings
  • Eyewash and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in the event of poisoning.


Taking a Pet First-Aid & CPR Class can teach you how to prepare for dog emergencies so that you can help Rover feel better!

5. In addition to Steps 1-4, Special Preparations for Specific Dangers may be in order:


  • Never position dog runs, crates or enclosures underneath objects that could fall.
  • Add bolt cutters to your disaster kit in case damaged cages or fencing need opening.
  • Know where to turn off the gas to your house, barn or kennels.
  • Confine pets immediately. Dogs that escape sometimes return at mealtime, but there are no guarantees, and be prepared to handle cut and burned paws, know how to splint broken bones and stop bleeding.


  • Keep pets indoors should you need to suddenly pack up and leave, and crate your dog if they’re likely to sense a storm and hide.
  • Stay tuned to news stations for evacuation routes.
  • Prep your house by boarding-up windows, stowing loose items and securing gates.


  • Plan several escape routes.
  • Create a “fire break” around your home by clearing away vegetation, especially dead brush, 30 feet from all structures.
  • Use fabric or leather leashes and collars. Nylon ones melt when hot and can badly burn your pet.


  • Map out several evacuation routes so that you can head for the nearest high ground, and leave early.
  • Disease can be an issue after a flood. Keep pets away from standing water and have fresh drinking water on hand for everyone.

In all events, take all animals with you, and monitor for any injuries. Knowing how to perform CPR could save your dog’s life!

With proper preparation, you’ll be able to act quickly and smartly, and keep your dog and yourself as safe as possible.

Are You and Your Dogs Prepared for a Disaster?

By Denise Fleck

deniseDenise Fleck is an award winning author and freelance writer. After extensive training and practice, she developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPR curriculum as well as a 5 month long Animal Care course for high school students in conjunction with the Burbank Unified School District. She has shared animal life-saving skills on CBS –TV’s The Doctors, Animal Planet and other shows. To complement her teachings, Denise created a line of Pet First-Aid Kits, posters and books for children teaching animal respect and care! Visit or call (818) 951-7962.

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