When disaster strikes, do you panic, or do you keep a cool head and lead the way to safety? No matter what role you take during emergencies, you’ll always fulfill a key position—your pet’s caretaker. As a pet owner, you must ensure your furry pal is packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice should a natural or man-made disaster occur. Plus, with proper prevention, you can avoid many potential problems that can harm your pet. Need help planning your pet’s “bug-out bag?” Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center has you covered—follow our essential checklist for packing your pet’s emergency gear and ensuring they are safe and protected during any disaster.   

☑️ Keep your pet protected by engaging in routine preventive care

Nothing keeps your pet more protected than routine preventive care, which includes wellness visits, physical exams, screening tests, vaccinations, and parasite prevention. Your family veterinarian can help keep your furry pal in tip-top shape, and healthy enough to handle whatever life may throw your way. By investing in routine preventive care for your pet, you can ward off preventable diseases, and detect those that cannot be prevented early, giving your pet the best prognosis, easiest management, and most successful treatment. After each wellness visit with your family veterinarian, keep a copy of your pet’s medical records, including vaccination and prescription history. Email yourself a copy, or take a picture to ensure you have an electronic copy for backup.

☑️ Pack your pet’s gear in a waterproof tote

Water can quickly turn all your pet’s supplies soggy or moldy, and ruined food and medications are no good for an emergency. Purchase a large waterproof tote that can hold a seven-day supply of the essentials, which may include:

  • Food, and a can opener if needed
  • Water jugs
  • Bowls
  • Litter and disposable trays
  • Waste bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Long-lasting treats
  • Favorite toys
  • Bedding
  • Spare leash and collar or harness
  • Updated collar ID tags
  • Current color photo of you and your pet for “Lost Pet” signs
  • Medications and parasite prevention

If possible, store a spare folding crate or carrier next to your pet’s essentials. A spare will make evacuating your home much faster and easier if you don’t need to break down a giant crate or pull out bedding and toys from the current set-up.

☑️ Rotate your pet’s supplies to maintain freshness and efficacy

You may have prepared for a disaster three years ago, and packed up your pet’s supplies then, but if you haven’t swapped out their food, water, and medications, those items have likely spoiled or expired. To keep prescriptions and food fresh, rotate supplies every three months. Supply rotation is a good habit, as your pet’s diet and medications may change over time, leaving them outdated if an emergency occurs.

☑️ Create an evacuation plan

Being prepared to rush out of your home if a disaster strikes is a great first step, but where do you go from there? Create a pet-friendly evacuation plan that includes hotels, campsites, restaurants, boarding facilities, emergency veterinarians, and other amenities along your route that cater to pets. Check out websites like BringFido or GoPetFriendly to plan your route. 

☑️ Pair up with a neighbor or nearby friend

If the worst happens and you can’t reach your home and your pet in time, having a neighbor or nearby friend as backup can be a lifesaver. Form a petcare partnership and vow to care for each others’ pets in emergencies. Swap spare house keys, emergency contact info, and evacuation plans to be fully prepared for a disaster. 

☑️ Crate train your pet for easy travel

In an emergency, you don’t want to be stuck trying to convince your freaked-out feline to load into their dreaded carrier. Take the time to properly crate or carrier train your pet as soon as they become part of your family to make all travel situations easier. Dogs are generally more familiar with their crate, as crates are left out all the time, but cats tend to bolt at the sight of a dusty, cobweb-covered crate that comes out only for veterinary visits. To ensure pets of both species load easily into their crates, try these training methods for cats and dogs

If disaster strikes the Spokane area and your furry pal needs an emergency animal hospital, look no further than Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center. Our team is standing by to care for your beloved pet. Give us a call before heading to our hospital to ensure we’re ready for you.