Since you never know when a disaster might strike, you probably have some kind of emergency plan in place for your family. Perhaps you have an emergency supply and first-aid kit on hand as well as an evacuation plan in case the worst happens. But what about your pets? What emergency precautions have you taken to ensure their safety?
Stocking an Emergency Kit for Pets
Having an emergency kit for your pet is incredibly important for a number of reasons. Not only will it come in handy if your pet sustains an injury, but it is also something that you can pass along if you have to have someone else care for your pet temporarily. The easiest way to develop an emergency kit for your pet is to buy a human first-aid kit and then add to it certain pet-related items, including:
- A pet first-aid book with basic instructions
- Contact information for local vets and veterinary hospitals
- A copy of your pet's health records (vaccinations, medications, photo, etc.)
- A nylon leash and muzzle
- An extra collar and temporary ID tag
- Self-cling bandage wraps (that won't stick to fur)
- Absorbent gauze pads (in various sizes)
- Cotton swabs and/or cotton balls
- Adhesive tape (and scissors)
- Disposable gloves (non-latex)
- Ice pack and heat pack
- Sterile saline solution
- A blanket (for emergency warmth)
- Tweezers and nail clippers
- Rectal thermometer
- Antibiotic ointment
- Plastic syringe or eyedropper
- Styptic powder (to stop bleeding)
- Flashlight or penlight
- Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
- Tongue depressors and/or splints
In the event that your pet sustains an injury, you need to remain calm and do what you can to keep him calm as well – if you panic, your pet will only become more frightened and could injure himself even further. Consult your pet first-aid book to determine whether the injury is something that you can treat yourself. Even if it is, you should take your pet to the vet after he has been stabilized just to make sure that he is properly treated. This is especially important for things like broken bones, arterial bleeding, and heat stroke. Even for minor wounds that you are able to treat yourself, you want to know that your pet receives the right medical care – taking your four-legged companion in for a check-up is never a bad idea. Your vet will be able to tell you if you followed the right treatment protocol and if your pet needs anything else to facilitate his recovery. If nothing else, taking your pet to the vet after treating an injury will give you peace of mind in knowing that he will be okay.
In addition to stocking your pet emergency kit with various first-aid items, you should also consider including an emergency supply of food and water. Gather supplies to sustain your pet for at least three days and keep them near the first-aid kit. You will need things like gallons of fresh water, non-perishable food (cans last the longest) and supplies of your pet's medication (if he takes any). Besides the extra leash and collar listed above, you should also keep a crate or carrier with your emergency pet supply kit. If the worst should happen, all you will need to do is grab these items along with your pet first-aid kit, pile it (along with your pet) in the car, and go!
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.