Pet Emergency Preparedness Guide

May 27, 2024

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Having a well organized plan for your pets in an emergency can be life saving! Learn to be prepared for pet emergencies.

Pet emergency preparedness is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership, ensuring the safety and well-being of our beloved furry family members during unexpected crises. By creating a detailed emergency plan and assembling a well-equipped pet emergency kit, pet owners can care for their pets’ specific needs in times of distress. Having a comprehensive emergency plan in place, in addition to creating a kit, can make a significant difference in how pet owners and their furry friends navigate through challenging situations, including natural disasters or medical emergencies.

Why a Written Emergency Preparedness Plan is Important

Whether you’re traveling with your dog or cat or at home, it is important to have emergency management plans for pets.
Understanding the importance of having an emergency preparedness plan for pets is crucial for several reasons.

  1. Act quickly: Emergencies can strike at any moment, from wildfires to sudden medical crises affecting our pets. Having a well-thought-out plan enables pet owners to act swiftly and decisively, potentially saving their pets’ lives in the process.
  2. Support system: Establishing a strong network of support, including neighbors, friends, colleagues from work, and local officials, is crucial in pet emergency situations. Neighbors or friends residing in safer areas may offer temporary shelter for pets during evacuations, while local officials can provide guidance on safe evacuation routes.
  3. Help from the vet: Veterinary offices can offer guidance on pet care during emergencies, including medical assistance and temporary boarding options.
  4. Increasing the chance of reunification: Regularly updating contact information, identification tags, and microchip details for pets is crucial for swift reunification in case of separation.
  5. Safe transportation: Ensuring you have a reliable and safe mode of transportation for pets, including a sturdy carrier or leash, can facilitate a smooth evacuation process.

Consider Geography When Planning Evacuation Routes During Natural Disasters or Other Emergencies

Considering geographic factors when planning pet evacuation routes is important for pet parents. Understanding your surrounding terrain, potential pet hazards, and safe pathways allows pet parents to have a solid plan in the event that they need it. As the phrase goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In areas prone to flooding, identifying elevated evacuation routes or nearby shelters can ensure pets are relocated to safe zones promptly. Once you factor in geographic considerations, pet owners can tailor their evacuation plans to address specific challenges posed by their surroundings. Keep in mind that it doesn’t hurt to have a plan B if that’s possible.

Building Your Pet Emergency Kit

It’s especially important to have your pet microchipped in case of an emergency to ensure you can locate your cat or dog

Beyond the essentials like food, water, and medication, pet owners should include additional items in their disaster kit to ensure their cat or dog’s safety and comfort during a crisis. Here’s what else you should consider adding to your kit:

  • A sturdy collar with an updated ID tag
  • A recent photo of you with your pet
  • Extra medications for pets with health conditions
  • Dietary supplements
  • Traveling bag including grooming items and sanitation needs

A tailored first aid kit is also advisable to address common pet health issues like cuts or insect bites, providing immediate care when needed. To help ease stress, include familiar items such as favorite toys, blankets, or bedding in the emergency kit. These can comfort pets in stressful situations, providing a sense of security and reducing anxiety in unfamiliar settings.

The Role of Full Spectrum CBD in Your Pet Aid Kit

Part of your first aid kit for dogs should include updated vaccinations and having CBD for dogs can help with anxiety.

High-quality full spectrum CBD for dogs and cats, like those available at Earth Buddy, may help with occasional discomfort, promote relaxation, and support normal inflammatory pathways in pets during emergencies. Including full spectrum CBD extract in a pet first aid kit can help maintain contentment during separation, travel, motion sickness and tension caused by changes in your pet’s daily routine.

It is recommended that pet owners obtain a veterinarian consultation before incorporating full spectrum CBD into their pets’ first aid kits. If your vet isn’t comfortable discussing hemp extract, you can look into complementary or holistic vets in your area. Veterinarians can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and usage of pet CBD products based on the individual needs, behavior, and health conditions of each pet.

Adding Safe Haven Details in Case Disaster Strikes

In addition to transportation arrangements, identifying safe haven options for pets is key to making a hard situation a lot smoother. This involves researching pet-friendly hotels or shelters in advance that can accommodate pets during an evacuation.

If you plan to keep your pet with a designated caregiver, providing them with detailed instructions on pets’ needs, medical history, and any specific care requirements can facilitate a smooth transition during high-stress situations.

Preparing for Specific Disasters

Tailoring emergency plans and supplies based on the type of disaster is essential for effectively safeguarding pets and ensuring their well-being during crises. The emergency kit you create for your furry family in Kansas will likely be slightly different than one created while living in Florida or California.

Safety Tips During Hurricanes and Tornadoes

During hurricanes, having a waterproof container for storing essential documents, medications, and supplies can help protect them from water damage or loss. Ensuring pets have access to clean water, food, and medications is important for sustaining their health and vitality during prolonged evacuations or disruptions. It’s not uncommon during a hurricane, or a tornado, for clean water to be hard to get.

Animal Safety During Wildfires

Canine first aid kits can include Earth Buddy CBD for dogs & cats stress along with basic first aid supplies for humans

In the case of wildfires, being proactive about monitoring air quality and minimizing exposure to smoke is crucial for pets’ respiratory health. Keeping pets indoors and using air purifiers can reduce their inhalation of harmful smoke particles, helping support normal respiratory function and health and promoting long-term health during this type of natural disaster.

Creating a designated safe area within the home where pets can seek refuge from smoke and flames can provide a secure environment for them during wildfire emergencies.

One specific study, conducted by Leslie Irvine and Casara Andre, examined pet loss during a wildfire that destroyed over 1000 homes in southeastern Boulder County, Colorado. The research, published last year, discovered that over 1,000 pet lives were likely lost due to this wildfire in 2021. The main reasons for the loss included:

  • Lack of ability to return home to rescue their pets due to how quickly the fire was spreading combined with evacuation requirements.
  • Residents disregarded notifications that were released by the local police department.
  • Some pets were left behind due to being left with pet sitters who evacuated quickly.

This study highlights the importance of preparation for the unexpected, especially when you leave your pets while you’re out of town.

Preparing for the Cold of Winter Storms

In the case of a winter storm, make sure you have enough food and water for at least 3 days. Grab dry kibble for the emergency kit since it’s easy to store and manage. Items like sweaters or booties can protect them from the cold and prevent frostbite on sensitive paws. Don’t forget to add warm blankets, pet-safe heating pads, and the general necessities.

Keep an Eye Out for Toxins During Emergencies

During natural disasters in particular, there could be toxic items tossed around. Poison prevention is important for cat and dog safety. Pet owners must be vigilant and take proactive steps to safeguard their animals from exposure to toxins.

This includes keeping pets away from damaged areas where hazardous materials might be present and ensuring that any chemicals or potentially harmful substances are securely stored or removed from accessible locations. Prioritizing poison prevention, pet owners can significantly reduce the risk of their pets suffering from toxic exposure during natural disasters.

Important Documentation for Pet Emergency Preparedness

Creating basic evacuation kit for your pets will help reduce the stress of having to relocate or board dogs in emergency

Maintaining up-to-date medical records, proof of vaccination, and all other essential documentation can ensure you’re prepared during emergencies. Having access to vital information about your pets’ health history can expedite medical care and treatment in emergencies, potentially saving their lives.


If your pets require urgent medical attention during an evacuation, having their medical records and other documentation readily available can help veterinarians make informed decisions about their care and treatment. And keeping proof of vaccinations up-to-date is essential for complying with shelter requirements (and sometimes hotel requirements).

A pet evacuation checklist, including points of contact, can make a world of difference for pet owners in times of crisis. Create a card with contact information, alternate contact persons, and essential details about pets’ needs to facilitate communication with rescue organizations or shelters.

Pet Preparation for Emergencies

Training pets to become familiar with emergency procedures and evacuation routines is another proactive measure that can enhance their safety and well-being during crises. By gradually introducing pets to their carriers and practicing evacuation drills, you may reduce stress from traveling, hospitalization, moving or other situations that may cause anxiousness.

Leaving carriers open in a familiar environment with treats and toys inside can encourage pets to view them as safe spaces and reduce resistance during evacuations. This positive reinforcement approach can help pets feel more comfortable and secure during emergency transitions.

Familiarizing pets with specific commands or signals can help the evacuation process move faster in cases of emergency. For example, teaching pets to respond to a distinct sound or phrase can help guide them during chaotic situations when verbal communication may be challenging. Adding in some clicker training, for example, could be beneficial, especially if you reside in areas at higher risk of emergency than others.


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