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Getting Your Pet Ready For Disasters

May 1, 2024

Here in Canada, the first week of May is Disaster Preparedness Week. This awareness event is generally targeted towards people, but it is also extremely relevant to pets. Taking a few simple precautions can have a significant impact when it comes to keeping your furry companions safe in emergencies. You can get helpful tips from a Burlington, ON veterinarian on how to be ready for situations as a pet owner in this article.

How to Prepare Pets for Natural Disasters

One good thing about Canada? It’s more likely that we’ll have blizzards, fires, and floods than tornadoes and earthquakes. None are exactly good, but at least we typically get some advance notice. That said, disasters can happen unexpectedly. There are several steps you can take to become well-prepared.

Keep Up With Your Pet’s Preventative Care

Staying on top of your pet’s wellness and preventative care is essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being. It’s also very relevant in case of an emergency. During disasters, there tends to be a significant number of animals that become lost or separated from their owners. There may also be displaced wild animals running around. Many could be carrying diseases or parasites.

Additionally, many shelters and hotels may ask for documentation to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are current. If your pet is overdue, contact your Burlington, ON vet right away. 

Keep Your Furry Pal’s ID Current

Microchips and identification tags could be the only thing linking you and your pet if you get separated. Disasters can be incredibly overwhelming and frightening. Even the most affectionate pet may flee if they get scared. Take a few minutes now to ensure that your beloved pet is microchipped and has proper identification tags and that the information is correct. You can check the info at the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup here.

Smart tags and GPS tags are also worth considering. These inventions are truly remarkable!

Have Your Pet’s Paperwork Handy

You may need proper documentation to verify that your pet is up-to-date on the necessary vaccines and parasite control before being admitted to a shelter or hotel. Have this prepared in advance to avoid wasting time searching for it during an emergency.

We have some suggestions on this:

  • Take pictures of them and store the photos in your phone’s gallery.
  • Send yourself scanned copies via email.
  • Store copies in a cloud drive.
  • It is also important to have copies of your pet’s medical records and any necessary prescriptions.
  • Keep physical copies in your glove box. This is also beneficial if you plan on bringing Fido to a park or going camping with him.

Make A Pet First-Aid Kit

Pets are at risk of many different types of injuries that can occur during fires, floods, and other incidents. Having a pet first-aid kit prepared is highly recommended. Make sure to keep this in or near your pet’s carrier for easy access.

Online, you can easily find a wide variety of first aid kits designed specifically for different types of pets. You could also begin with a kit designed for individuals, and then incorporate a few items tailored for pets. You could use a tackle box, overnight toiletry bag, or a small backpack as potential options.

Some of the things you may want to include are:

  • Wire Cutters
  • Styptic powder
  • Scissors
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Flashlight
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Iodine 
  • Towels
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Turkey Baster
  • Pliers
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Gauze
  • Clean rags
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Medical Tape
  • Syringes
  • Eye Droppers
  • Eye Wash Solution
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Disinfectant/Alcohol Wipes

Undoubtedly, a first-aid kit, no matter how good it is, will not work if you lack the necessary knowledge and skills. Buy or print a high-quality pet first-aid brochure and keep it readily accessible in your kit. Downloading a pet first-aid app can also be quite helpful. The Red Cross has an excellent one. However, keeping physical copies of these is still a good idea, as cellular networks may be unavailable during emergencies. If you don’t have a muzzle in your emergency bag, including one in your first-aid kit would be wise. Even the most gentle dog has the potential to bite when they are feeling hurt and scared! Plus, hotels or shelters may need them.

Create a Pet Emergency Bag

We highly recommend that pet owners keep bags readily available for their beloved furry, scaly, or feathered companions. These bags can also serve as travel bags for those who enjoy bringing their animal companions along when traveling.

Here are some of the items you should consider including:

  • Collapsible dishes
  • Water
  • Food and Treats
  • A harness
  • Tie-out line
  • A leash
  • Blankets
  • Toys
  • Products designed to help calm pets, such as sprays or treats. (If approved by a veterinarian.)
  • Wipes and towels
  • Any medications your pet is currently taking
  • First-Aid Kit for Pets

The exact items needed may vary depending on the type of pet you own. For instance, Fluffy will require a litterbox and litter, while Fido will need waste baggies and a tie-out line.

It’s also not a bad idea to include a muzzle for Fido, just in case an emergency shelter requires it. If your canine friend has thin fur and needs some extra warmth during the winter, include a cozy coat. Including a thermal blanket can be quite beneficial. Consult with your Burlington, ON veterinarian for personalized guidance.

Get A List Of Shelters

It’s crucial to have a well-prepared plan in place prior to a disaster, as it can have a significant impact. Printing out a comprehensive list of pet-friendly hotels within a few hours’ drive can be incredibly helpful. It’s also wise to have a map on hand in case you encounter any issues with cell service or GPS.

Have A Pet Travel Carrier

We always suggest people keep their pets crated for travel, just for safety purposes. This is definitely true when it comes to emergencies. We suggest investing in a high-quality hard-shell carrier, as it provides better protection than a cloth one. Including your contact information on the carrier is highly recommended. A luggage tag would work.

Have A Fire Plan

House fires are also disasters. If you have children, you may already have put up window stickers indicating the number of children in your household. You can also use this method with your pets by providing key information about the kinds of pets you have and where they might hide.

Finally, take time to establish an emergency plan with the members of your household. Remember to involve your furry friend in those plans, too. You may want to have one person in charge of the pet, for instance.


This one mostly applies to our canine pals. Making sure that Fido knows and obeys simple commands, such as Sit, Stay, and Come, isn’t just important for petiquette: it can become critical in an emergency. If your pooch hasn’t been fully trained yet, take time now to finish his petucation.

Make An Appointment At Your Burlington, ON Animal Hospital

Do you have any questions about taking care of your beloved pet? Feel free to reach out to our pet clinic at any time! As your Burlington, ON pet clinic, we are here to help! 

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