Skip to main content

Soft Paws: Creating a pet emergency supply kit

Pictured are CGHS/SPCA Animal Caretaker Lydia Bush and our friend Kevin. Kevin is a very friendly, cuddly kitty who loves attention. Kevin would do wonderfully well with a family that has children. He loves to play with other cats, and when it’s time to settle in he loves nothing more than to snuggle. Kevin is a 5-year-old domestic short-haired kitty who would love to find his forever home.
April 12, 2019 11:44 am Updated: April 12, 2019 11:53 am


In hopes you never need to use one, out of precaution you may wish to create a pet emergency supply kit. Use this checklist to help you gather everything you may need for your pet.

Basic Supplies (definitely include):

At least a 5-7 day supply of food and water; A 2-week supply of medication with dosage instructions (and any needed medical supplies); A flashlight with extra batteries; Food and water bowls (or water bottles for smaller pets); A can opener and spoon for canned food, if necessary; A cage or carrier for smaller animals; An extra collar, lease, or harness for larger animals; A litter box, litter, and a scoop (for cats); Plastic trash bags, paper towels, soap, and bleach (for waste).

Other supplies (consider including): Comfort items (such as bedding, toys, or pet treats); Latex gloves (for handling waste); A hot water bottle or other heating source in cold weather (for birds or reptiles); A spray bottle for misting in hot weather; Cage liner and perch (for birds); A blanket or sheet to cover cages; Exercise equipment (for small animals, such as hamsters or ferrets); A soaking bowl (for reptiles).

Important information and records (definitely include): Feeding schedule and dietary instructions, including any food your pet should not eat; A recent photo of you with your pet (in case you become separated); A description of your pet (include species, breed, size, age, gender, coloring, special markings, etc.); A copy of your pet’s medical records, including vaccination dates; A copy of adoption or purchase records; An emergency release form for your pet’s backup caregiver; Contact information for you, your pet’s veterinarian, and a friend or relative that lives out of town; A list of places where your pet can stay in an emergency (see above); Microchip information, if applicable.

A first aid kit. Ask your pet’s veterinarian about what to include. He or she may recommend: An animal first-aid book; Saline solution; Hydrogen peroxide; Antiseptic wipes; Cotton swabs; Antibiotic cream; Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, and scissors; Flea and tick medication; Latex gloves.

To maintain your emergency supply kit, make sure you rotate food and water supply regularly (about every two months) to keep supplies fresh. Replace medication that is past its expiration date. Keep food, medication, and papers in airtight, waterproof containers. Also, store the kit in a cool, dry place.

Get your pet microchipped. Ask your pet’s veterinarian about implanting this grain-sized computer chip under your pet’s skin. Most animal clinics and shelters have scanners that can read the chip for a special number. If your pet gets lost and turned in to one of these facilities, the number can be used to find you in an animal database.

Any form of identification should include your pet’s name and the current contact information for you and an out-of-town friend or relative. Consider putting all of this information on your pet’s collar tags, leg or neckband, and cage or carrier (using permanent ink).

Charlene Marchand may be contacted at