Pet Disaster Preparedness: How to Prepare Your Dog for Emergencies

white shepherd dog lying on a couch with a first aid kit

During any disaster, your family’s safety is your number one priority. And as a beloved member of your family, this includes your dog. When putting together a plan for any potential disasters, be sure to include your pets. Here’s how to put together a pet disaster preparedness plan and prepare your dog for emergencies:

1. Assess the Most Likely Disasters

Not every area has the same types of common natural disasters. Some areas are prone to earthquakes, while others are more likely to experience hurricanes or blizzards. Take this into account when preparing your dog for emergencies.

Stay up-to-date with websites like These sites offer resources and important evacuation information.

2. Put Together an Emergency Pet First Aid Kit

Every dog owner should have a dog first aid kit but in case of an emergency, have a second one with the rest of your emergency supplies.

Your kit should have basic medical supplies like bandages, antibacterial ointment, and backup doses of medications your dog may take. Also, be sure to have an emergency supply of food and water.

3. Write Up a Checklist

A checklist is a wonderful tool when preparing for emergencies. Using a checklist helps you stay organized and lessens the likelihood of forgetting something important.

When preparing your dog for emergencies, include their supplies on your checklist. Be specific! List things like the first aid kit, crate, comfort item, medical information, and important numbers, like the veterinarian, shelters, and pet-friendly accommodations.

Keep your pet’s medical information close by, or even store it electronically so you can access it whenever. Be sure you have photos of your pet in case you get separated. If you have family members or a pet sitter, make sure they know about the checklist and understand the plan.

4. Work on Commands

A well-trained pup is more likely to listen to you, even in times of uncertainty. Work on the basic commands like, sit, stay, and drop it. If they are lacking leash skills, try to work on those, too. Being leashed will be imperative in an emergency. Without a leash, you and your dog could easily become separated, and they could get hurt.

Another way to prepare your dog for emergencies is to go over evacuation plans. If you have a tornado shelter or plan to go to the basement, run a few drills with your family and pet. Not only will it help your dog get accustomed to the shelter area, but it will also help your family practice what to do in emergencies.

It may also benefit your dog to brush up on crate training if they have a crate. Crates will be useful in emergencies, especially if you have to evacuate. Make sure your dog is comfortable in their crate. Keep some favorite toys and a soft blanket in the crate to make the crate familiar and safe.

5. Stay Calm

Dogs can feel your emotions. Staying calm in emergencies will help your pup feel safe and secure. While you may not feel calm, acting calm will be helpful.

Try not to yell or panic. These actions will help your dog transition more smoothly. Plus, pretending to stay calm may trick you into being calmer.

These are just a few essential tips for pet disaster preparedness. Preparing your dog for emergencies is a necessary part of being a pet owner in order to keep everyone safe.