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Tips and Advice on Creating Emergency Disaster Pet Plans

Check out these tips so you're not caught in a disaster without a safety kit and a plan!

I was sitting on my porch with my bassador (basset hound/labrador mix) when a slight storm started to come through. Typically, we’d hang out and watch the rainfall, but not long after the colony of clouds started rolling by, a deep siren was blaring from a distance.

Living out in the country gave me the advantage of seeing far over the land, and so as the siren kept up, I looked around. The storm seemed to barely be on us, and yet a tornado warning was wailing through our county. I quickly moved down our steps and around the house to the side carport, my energetic bassador heavy on my heels. It was there I saw the dark clouds. Almost as dark as the tornado making its way across the land.

The tornado was far enough from my house, so I didn't completely panic. However, the winds were picking up, and my old pup was getting anxious, so we went inside. My parents were with me, and we discussed our next moves. At that moment, I realized I wasn't prepared to fully protect my dog while dealing with a tornado or its aftermath.

Luckily, the tornado didn't cross our path this time, but that doesn't mean it won't happen one day. We live close to the mountains in North Carolina, and our area is known to have quite a few tornadoes.

I love my dog, and I want to make sure she is safe during these tremulous moments. I'm sure you feel the same, so here is some advice on what you can do to give your pet the best chance of surviving and overcoming emergencies.

Set Up an Evacuation Plan

During an emergency is probably the worst time to develop a plan (though it's sometimes the only option). But, if you can set yourself up with some "in case of emergency" safety measures, then you're saving yourself a lot of stress. It's easy to grab a go-bag and head for safety compared to crossing your fingers and confusingly snatching up supplies on a whim. Some people don't even have time for that, so try to at least create a basic plan for emergencies.

  1. Know the types of disasters that happen in your area and plan ahead!
  2. Make an emergency bag with extra collars, leashes, food, treats, and information/paperwork on your pet. Make sure everything is up to date and not expired. (See below on what to add to your pet first aid/emergency kit.)
  3. Contact your friends and family now to ask if they're willing to take in your pet during an emergency. (You can ask if you're allowed in the house too, but let's face it, the animal is more important.)
  4. Connect with your friends, family, or neighbors now on the chance you are out of town and need someone to take your pet in and ensure their safety during an evacuation order.
  5. Have a list of shelters and vets outside your area that can take in pets during emergencies, and make sure to have 24-hour phone numbers.
  6. Have a list of pet-friendly hotels.
  7. Keep pet carriers in a consistent place, so you know where to grab them during evacuations. Put your contact information and pet name on the crates in case your crated animal is somehow separated from you.
  8. Make sure all tags and microchip information is up to date. If you get separated from your animal companion(s), this will help ensure the highest probability of reconnecting.

Pet First Aid Kit/Emergency Kits

You may have similarities to your pet, but when it comes to medication, broken bones, or cuts, our animal friends usually need a different kind of care. Most medical advice can cross over, but be sure to KNOW before you apply. Here's some advice on what to add to your kits.


1. If your pet uses medication, it's good to have up to two weeks of an updated supply for your bag.

2. Keep medical record copies of all up-to-date vaccinations, prescriptions (and their instructions), tags, microchipping info, and medical history.

3. A month of flea and tick medicine.


  1. Extra leashes and collars/harnesses
  2. Carriers
  3. Two weeks supply of water for each pet
  4. Two weeks supply of food for each pet
  5. Waterproof container for documents
  6. List of 24-hour numbers for shelters and vets
  7. Blankets for pets
  8. Muzzles
  9. Poop bags
  10. Cat litter and travel box
  11. Your contact information on everything!


1. Toys

2. Cleaning supplies for "accidents"


The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) put together a printable brochure of a first aid checklist, space to put your pet's medical contacts, and instructions on "if your pet is" situations (i.e., choking or injured.) We are adding their list for convenience, but we encourage you to fill out the pamphlet and keep it with your emergency bag.

  1. IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (veterinarian, emergency clinic, poison control, animal control, non-emergency police)
  2. A copy of your PET’S MEDICAL RECORD
  3. DIGITAL FEVER THERMOMETER to take your pet’s temperature
  4. MUZZLE to prevent bites (DO NOT muzzle your pet if he/she is vomiting)
  6. GAUZE ROLL for wrapping wounds or muzzling an injured animal
  7. CLEAN TOWELS for restraining cats, cleaning or padding
  8. NONSTICK BANDAGES OR STRIPS OF CLEAN CLOTH to control bleeding or protect wounds
  10. ADHESIVE TAPE for securing bandages
  11. EYE DROPPER (or large syringe without needle) to give oral treatments or flush wounds
  12. K-Y JELLY (or generic version) to protect wounds, eyes
  13. MILK OF MAGNESIA OR ACTIVATED CHARCOAL to absorb poison (Use only if instructed to do so by your veterinarian or a poison control center)3%
  14. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE to induce vomiting (Always contact your veterinarian or poison control center before inducing vomiting; do not use hydrogen peroxide on wounds.)
  15. SALINE SOLUTION for cleansing wounds (Saline sold for use with contact lenses works well for most purposes.)
  16. LOCATION OF PET CARRIER (for cats and small dogs),(American Veterinary Medical Association)

If you're anything like me, you don't always think of preparing for a disaster. But, when my pet is in danger, I'm hurrying to figure out how to ensure their safety! Which, in many ways, will help me prepare for my own needs and safety measures. Remember, breathe and keep calm during emergencies. Your pet is relying on you, and they pick up on your energy.

If your pet has gone through a trauma involving a disaster, consider Animal Reiki. It could be the element that helps boost the healing process for your anxious pet. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to sign up for animal reiki.


American Veterinary Medical Association. Pet First Aid [Brochure].

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