A Paws For Pets — Preparing an emergency kit for your pet

By Nicci Lawrence, York Adopt A Pet

The recent stories and postings on social media about missing pets after the tornadoes across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa serve as a good reminder to take the time to prepare now for dangerous weather events and other emergencies for ourselves and our pets.

Here are a few ideas to get you started assembling an emergency preparedness kit specifically for your pets.

First and foremost, make sure that your pet has ID tags on their collars. Microchips are great but might not be immediately available in an emergency. A custom tag with your current phone number and address is the quickest way to be reunited with a lost pet. Make sure to keep these updated if you move or change phone numbers.


  • Copies of recent medical records including rabies and other vaccination records for each pet. These may be needed if you need to seek veterinary care from someone other than your regular vet or if you need to temporarily board your pet somewhere if you are displaced.
  • Copies of registration or adoption paperwork proving ownership
  • Recent pictures of your pet as well as a physical description (breed, sex, weight, any identifying markings, etc.)
  • Microchip information
  • Contact information for yourself as well as a trusted friend or relative that lives outside of your immediate area that could serve as a contact person in an emergency.

Food and medications

  • Minimum of a 3-day supply of food, a 2-week supply is even better. Don’t forget a manual can opener if needed and remember to rotate dry food out every few months.
  • Water, up to a gallon per day, per pet depending on the size of your pet. A minimum of three days’ worth.
  • Food and water dishes
  • A 2-week supply of medication is ideal as well as instruction for giving the medication.

Other supplies

  • A sturdy crate with a bed, blanket or towels to keep your pet contained
  • Extra leashes, collars or harnesses for all pets
  • Small first aid kit
  • Cat litter supplies — disposable aluminum pans and cheap litter work in a pinch
  • Trash bags, small waste disposal bags, disinfectant wipes and other cleaning supplies for cleaning up after your pet

And last but not least make sure to bring pets in, well ahead of storms so they don’t get spooked and wander away or try to hide. Preparing now will save you from scurrying around, trying to round up supplies at the last minute, and leaving you with more time to go outside and stand in the driveway looking for the tornado, you know, like a true Nebraskan. Just kidding, don’t do that.


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