When Disaster Strikes, Here Is What Should Be On Your Dog Emergency Checklist

dog by fire

With Californians recently falling victim again to another horrendous fire, it wasn’t only the people impacted in the state: animals were affected, too. 

While much of the fires are now contained, many dog parents had to act quickly to escape the fires with their four-legged friend. (Others, sadly, were forced to leave their animals behind.)

Whether you are expecting an emergency or not, it is always a good idea to have a pet emergency kit prepared. This way you can get you and your pet out safely in a timely matter while still bringing everything you need with you.

The below checklist will help ensure your dog is happy and safe when a disaster strikes. 

Related: Dog Emerges From Rubble Nine Days After Earthquake Hits Italy

Food and Water 

It is important to have at least a seven-day supply of food and water for your dog in case you are stuck in your home for an extended period of time, or if you must evacuate to safer locations and are on the move. Make sure you ration correctly and store the food in a secure, water-proof container to avoid it getting ruined. You can also stock up on wet food. It not only has a long shelf life, but because it contains moisture, it can offer your dog some extra water when resources are scarce. 

Don’t forget to pack bowls for water and food. We suggest picking up a few collapsible bowls, as they take up virtually no space, leaving room for more essentials. Or if in a bind, simple Tupperware containers work. 


Just like humans, some dogs need medications to stay happy and healthy. When preparing your pet emergency kit be sure to speak with your veterinarian to secure an emergency supply of your dog’s medications. Make sure they are in a plastic container, safe from any elements. 

Up-to-Date ID Information

As much as you may not want to think about it, some owners are separated from their pets when a natural disaster strikes. Because of this, it is always a good idea to have proof of ownership such as photos, microchip information or an adoption certificate. This will make it a lot easier to find your dog, as well as prove that your dog is in fact yours. Make sure that these are in plastic containers or Ziploc bags to protect them from getting wet and damaged.

Also, make sure that your dog’s ID tags are up to date and accurate. They should include your pup’s name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs he or she might have. If your dog is small enough to travel in a carrier, write this information on the side of it, too. 

Related: The Best Dog Travel Bags to Carry All Their Supplies

Medical History and Emergency Contacts 

Trying to collect your pet’s vet records while also trying to evacuate your house can be nearly impossible. This is why it is important to have copies of these made and packed in advance. These records will make it easier for your dog to get the necessary medical attention he may need in an emergency situation. Also, put together a list of contacts — family, friends or colleagues — that you trust to take care of your dog in case you are not able to do so. As with all documents, make sure you protect them so they don’t get damaged.

Extra Dog Supplies

When a natural disaster hits, it can come out of nowhere. The things you never think you are going to forget may slip your mind, including ensuring your dog remains safe. That is why it is always a good idea to pack an extra leash, collar and/or harness.

Also, don’t forget about packing supplies for when your dog needs to go to the bathroom. Have a few rolls of poop bags, along with wee-wee pads, if needed.

Comfort Supplies

It is important to try to keep your dog as comfortable as possible when traveling during this very traumatizing and stressful time. Having on hand bedding, blankets or towels will not only ensure your dog stays warm, but also, since they smell like home, they can help comfort your dog.

And although this may not seem like a necessity, toys can come in handy. Having some of their favorite stuffed animals or chew toys may help your dog feel more at home and also more relaxed when traveling for long periods of time. Try purchasing long-lasting toys that your dog can’t destroy in minutes. 

Related: A Guide for Dog Owners on How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

By Kristen Catalano

Kristen Catalano is a dog-loving, New York City-based writer. When she is not writing she enjoys spending time with her two adorable corgis and family! Kristen is passionate about educating pet parents on the best products for their pet as well as bringing as much attention to rescues.

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