Do I need an Emergency Pack for my pet if I already have a travel bag? The answer is yes! Let’s dive into some of the differences and why you might need both.
Depending upon the type of disaster or emergency, you might not have time to gather the supplies for your pets. The first 72 hours of any disaster or emergency can be very chaotic. It can take the Red Cross or FEMA a day or two to get emergency supplies flowing.
All agencies recommend at least 72 hours of emergency supplies because during that time it’s usually determined if you can either return home or you will need to make long terms plans. Neither the Red Cross nor FEMA will have any supplies for your pets. They normally partner with local Animal Control offices to help with setting up pet shelters and supplies. The Red Cross will be focused on saving human life.
If you travel with your pet, even for day trips you should have a different pack. You never want to take apart your emergency pack, it should be a dedicated bag that you have in your closet or by your front door in case of an emergency and you need to get out quickly. Now with that said, when I take road trips, I take both packs because I had to evacuate when I was on vacation.
Your Pet Travel Go-Bag should consist of the things your pet needs daily, like their food and water along with travel bowls, a toy maybe their blanket, some first aid supplies, poopy bags and medications. For your cats make sure you add a litterbox and scoop. These are the things you have time to plan for.
Crates are always a good thing to have when you are travelling to keep your pets safe, especially for your cat. Both dogs and cats are den animals and should be crate trained. My pup sleeps in his crate every night with the door open. It’s his safe space.
I worked at the Red Cross shelter with my Therapy Dog during and after the Caldor and Dixie fires and found so many people were unprepared to care for their pets even for a short time. When you went to the local grocery store, they were out of so many items that everyone needed to keep their pets safe.
The Campfire in Paradise taught us that moments matter. If there is a fire sweeping towards you, you might only have moments to grab your pet and their pack and get out. One of the best tools you can have in your pet’s go-bag is a slip lead, because if you hear a bullhorn that says you need to evacuate now you and your pet could panic. A slip lead used properly can save your pet’s life and keep them from panic running.
Food in your pet’s bags can be different. Did you know when you open a bag of any dry kibble dog food it can start to go bad within 2 to 3 weeks once the air hits it? If you plan on using your pet’s daily ration, we recommend buying a small bag and do not open it until you need to. Rotate it based on the expiration date on the bag. We like the Mayday dog and cat food because it comes in a foil-sealed 8-ounce bag and comes with a 5-year shelf life.
Water is essential for your pet’s survival, for your weekend getaway it’s easy to grab a few bottles of water and throw them in their travel bag. Did you know that plastic water bottles are made with fossil fuels and also have an expiration date? It’s usually 1 year from the date of manufacturing. Never drink or give your dogs, water after the expiration date on the bottle. Toxins will leak into the water once the bottle passes the expiration date. We use the Mayday Emergency Drinking water because it comes in a foil-sealed pouch and has a 5-year shelf life.
Identifying your pet is also critical. During most disasters when pets are found you have to be able to identify that they are your pets. It could be a photo that you have in your emergency kit that shows you and your dog together. If you are like a lot of people and don’t always have a collar with an ID tag on your pet, we add an ID tag to each first aid kit so you can write their name on one side and your phone number on the other side. You should also have an ID Card with all your pet’s information filled out in case you need to board them or leave them at a shelter.
Other key items to have in your pet’s emergency pack are not only their medication and shot records but a way to keep it dry like with a waterproof pouch. You should also have a Mylar Blanket. If they get cold or wet it can help to keep 90% of their body heat in and keep them from going into shock. Another great item is to have some type of light in their bag so if you have to bug out at night you can clip the light to their collar so you can keep track of them. Emergency phone numbers like the local veterinarian, police, pet-friendly hotels, and local animal control.
Optional items would be a muzzle, grooming supplies, and toys.
Make sure you check out our new Pet Travel Go-Bag by Pet Evac Pak. Add your pet’s food and water and hit the road. It makes for a great starter kit if you plan on building your pet’s emergency pack.
We wish you all safe and happy travels this holiday season! Prepare today to keep your pet safe tomorrow.