With natural disasters on the rise, you may already be prepared to protect your family and your home during emergencies like forest fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes. But does your emergency plan include your pets? As much as we love them, dogs and cats are often forgotten when it comes to emergency planning. Thankfully, there are ways you can plan ahead to keep your pets safe when the unexpected happens.

What to pack in your pet’s emergency kit

Whether you’re stuck inside during a storm or you have to hit the road to get to a safer location, having a well-stocked emergency kit for your dog or cat is essential.

According to the British Columbia Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) — one of Canada’s oldest and largest pet welfare organizations — an emergency kit for your pet should include:

  • A seven-day supply of food and water
  • Your pet’s identification tag and collar
  • A reliable crate and/or carrier
  • A pet first aid kit
  • A blanket
  • Plastic bags
  • A leash and harness
  • Food and water bowls (collapsible are great)
  • A litter box and litter for cats
  • A manual can opener
  • A copy of your pet’s current vaccination history
  • Any special medications and instructions

How to keep your pet calm

Although you may be feeling stressed, it’s important for your pet that you stick to routine as much as possible; try to keep feeding times, walks, and play times on schedule. If you can’t take your pet outside and he has an accident in the house, try to remain calm to keep their mind at ease.

If your pet recognizes that something is wrong and begins to show signs of stress (e.g., restlessness, aggression, or decreased appetite), you can pet them, talk to them in a calm manner, or offer them fresh water. You may also want to consider wrapping them in a heavy blanket specifically designed for relieving stress or consulting your veterinarian to see if there is appropriate medication to reduce stress.

If you have to evacuate your home and relocate, it’s important to make your pet feel as “at home” as possible to keep them comfortable in a temporary space. In your new location, designate a space to keep items like your pet’s food, water, bedding, and a litter box if you have a cat. Familiar sights and smells will help your pet stay calm in unfamiliar surroundings.

It’s also important to ensure your pet has proper ID and is microchipped. Pets often get loose during natural disasters, but with the proper identification, they’re much more likely to be safely reunited with you.

Protect your dog or cat with pet insurance

In the event that your pet suffers an injury or illness as a result of an emergency, pet insurance can help cover your veterinary bills and ease the financial stress so you can focus on your pet’s recovery. If you’re shopping for pet insurance, it’s a good idea to get a free, no-obligation quote from an insurance provider who is knowledgeable about pet health.

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