A small white dog standing next to a pair of boots and a backpack near the door.

National Disaster Preparedness Month: Building a “go-bag” for your pet

You never want to think about something bad happening to your home, your pet or your family. But alas, life comes at you fast, and it’s better to be prepared for whatever it throws your way. For Natural Disaster Preparedness Month, we’re helping you and your pets be as prepped as possible.

Most people have some form of disaster plan for their families and pets, usually focusing on what to do and where to go in case of a fire, an earthquake, a hurricane or whatever else might force you to take shelter. These plans generally include a “go-bag” that includes the essentials you might need to make it through the situation safely, and maybe a little comfortably. Typically, every member of the family will have a go-bag prepared. But should that preparedness extend to the family pets?

We think you know the answer.

Here are some tips on how to put together a go-bag for your furry family members.

Also known as a “bug-out bag,” a “grab-and-go” or simply an emergency bag, these packs include everything your pet would need to survive without stable food or shelter for up to three days. You can pack as much as you feel they’ll need, but it’s important to consider portability, especially if you’re carrying a pack for yourself or a child. Ideally, the pack is something your dog or cat could actually carry on their back, but that all depends on the size of the dog. This list is arranged in a loose order of importance, so if you have to trim for space or weight, start at the bottom.


  • A three-day supply of food and water.
  • Collapsible bowls for food and water. Regular bowls will work in a pinch, but collapsible versions take up less space and are usually lighter.
  • Extra collar and leash. Things may be chaotic and the last thing you want is a loose pet if you had to leave in a hurry.
  • Pet meds. It can be difficult to have extra meds continually updated just for the go-bag, and the last thing you want is to accidentally give your pet expired medication. Talk to your veterinarian about a plan for the emergency kit. Most importantly, try to grab any necessary medication on your way out the door.
  • Make sure each collar/leash combo is equipped with your pet’s name and your name and contact information.
  • Animal first-aid kit. You can buy these ready-made, but if you want to build your own, you can mimic a human kit by including gauze, bandages, scissors, alcohol and peroxide, etc.
  • Vaccination records
  • Poop bags for dogs or a litter box for cats. For the cats, you can find collapsible litter bowls or boxes online.
  • Pet carrier. There won’t be space in the actual go-bag for this, but if you have an opportunity to keep one on your vehicle, it can be a lifesaver to have a secure space for your little buddy.
  • Blanket or portable pet bed
  • Toys. Much like with children, toys can be comfort items for pets in times of stress.


It’s never fun to consider the bad things that might happen. But if you’re prepared, those bad things can be less bad for your entire family. Even the furry members.

RELATED POST: Are You Prepared for a Pet Health Emergency?

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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