Prepare The Best Dog Emergency Kit

Are you prepared for any disaster? I mean do you have a dog bug out emergency kit prepared? When an emergency hits like a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or human-caused disaster, our survival mode tends to kick into high gear. I live in a wildfire-prone area with my dog, Henry. This past winter was intense snow that lasted through April. Over the years I’ve learned the key to any emergency is being prepared. Today let’s dig in and learn how to build the best dog emergency kit today. What goes into this may surprise you!

*Updated: May 23, 2023

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a dog has a life vest on as dog emergency kit was prepared for him
Budget Tip:

It might surprise you to know that the simple task of being prepare for the unknown can save not only your dog, but expenses as well. For example if you're not prepared, your dog may be left and becomes lost. If that scenerio plays out in a huge disaster your dog could become hurt with a huge vet bill or you could become separated from your dog forever. Both are awful to imagine! Thus, an emergency dog kit saves your dog from unknown stress and you as well. Plus, it saves on your dog expenses. It's really a no brainer. Additionally, most of the items you will want to put into a dog bug out kit you can rotate from your daily supplies. This means no additional expenses. That's a huge win-win and a must do! 

What does it mean to have a dog emergency kit?

Basically, having a dog emergency or dog bug out kit means you have supplies for your dog ready to go at a moment’s notice in case you must evacuate your home or an area for any length of time.

Being prepared for any disaster with your pets is a topic that hits home to me. I remember my home burning down to the ground on December 23 when I was a child. My mom was the drill sergeant for that disaster. She ensured that everyone in the house made it out safely, this included our family dog, Tag.

While he and Mom were slightly burned by the fire, we all survived. She also made sure that we not only were more prepared from that day forward but also the town was as well. At that time there was only one fire station in our town. Our house became the worse fire in the history of the town. So, Mom took it upon herself to mom walk the neighborhood, and gather petitions, which helped to establish a new fire station on the north end of town where we lived.

Additionally, as other people experienced emergencies over the years, Mom made sure our home could be a refuge for both people and animals alike.

Why do you need a dog bug out kit?

As I just illustrated, you generally never know when a disaster will strike. Thus, the nature of an emergency. You will most likely have to act quickly. This means you need to be able to have things prepared and ready to grab and go for you, your family, your dog(s), and your pets. A dog bug out kit is your dog’s survival kit for a short period of time.

Who to include in your dog’s evacuation plan?

dog being evaluated after a disaster

Keep in mind that when an emergency hits you may not be at home. Or who you may naturally think of to call, might be involved in the same disaster. Perhaps it might even be the middle of the night and the person simply won’t answer or answers the phone very groggy. The latter is what happened when Mom called a neighbor to come to pick up my brother, me, and Tag. The neighbor never did live that one down. So, you may need to rely on several neighbors, friends, or family to help you in evacuating your dogs, especially if you are away from your house and can’t get back home.

You should have a list of A, B, C, D, and E people that can step in and help. Make sure you have backups for your backups when it comes to securing your precious dog(s) and pets in times of disaster.

NOTE: One great idea is to have a portable cell phone charger. They are fairly inexpensive, but can be extermely handy in times of disaster. Just make sure you keep it charged. You may even want several portable chargers. I have a few and they are great!

How wide should I cast my net for my dog evacuation plan?

When you consider your dog’s evacuation plan, you want to think about possible scenarios. Imagine where your dog could go and you could pick him or her up. Your dog’s evacuation plan will probably include:

  • Dog Community
  • Trusted neighbor(s)
  • Local relative(s)
  • Nearby friend(s)
  • Veterinarian’s office
  • Doggie daycare
  • Boarding facility
  • Pet-friendly hotel
  • Animal shelter

Always ask before putting people on your dog’s evacuation list. However, if you’re out of town, it’s possible you may not be notified until your dog is safe. For instance, a wildfire sparks and your trusted neighbor (maybe your A evacuation person) grabs your dog and then calls you to let you know about the situation. This might be your perfect situation for evacuating your dog. Or you may need to be notified and then contact your dog evacuation people. You’ll need to decide.

Make sure that whoever you decide to put on your list also has authorization to approve emergency care for your dog, just in case it’s needed.

Additionally, make sure you have at least your A and if possible B person on your dog’s microchip, vet records, doggie daycare, and boarding facility records. Don’t forget to revisit these lists and make sure they are up to date each year.

And finally, make sure your evacuation person knows exactly where your dog’s emergency bug out bag is located. This way he or she can easily grab it and go.

What should be included in your dog’s emergency bag?

1. Dog food

Yes, your dog will need food. Your dog may need to be evaluated for a while. I always recommend at least enough food for 7-14 days. Although, if your dog is like my dog, Henry, his or her eating will probably decline a bit from stress and not need as much food. But I still include the regular amount of food.

2. Water

A critical piece of the emergency dog kit is water. You’ll want to set aside enough for at least 7-14 days (or have a purifying system). Remember if the water isn’t clean for you to drink, then your dog shouldn’t drink it either. Dirty water can make your dog very sick and lead to a vet bill.

Often dirty water can unexpectedly make your dog sick. In this article, I discuss and explain what dirty water is and how to keep your dog safe.

3. Portable bowls

You’ll need to think about bowls for both water and food. I like portable bowls because they are easy to pack and wash. You can often even find them on sale in the off-season or on special holidays like Memorial Day or July 4th.

4. Your dog’s medications and supplements

I always like to have a 30 days supply of medication for Henry on hand. This includes any medications you give your dog for anxiety or calming aids.

Do the costs of your dog’s medications shock you? In this article, I walk you through how to find vet-approved quality dog medications for less.

5. Leash

I have a couple of leashes for Henry. At the very least, I would recommend at least a 6′ leash in your emergency dog kit. In a pinch, you could use a rope as a leash. I’ve used a horse lead line as a leash more than once.

6. Harness

I always recommend a harness because it’s easier on your dog and gives you greater control. For the most part, harnesses aren’t that expensive. In fact, I have a few harnesses for Henry and one is designated for his emergency kit.

7. Muzzle

Some evacuation centers will require that dogs, regardless of how sweet they are with you or others, are muzzled. The good news is that you can get a good muzzle and be prepared for very little money. For instance, this muzzle from Cherrybrook is good and not very expensive. Yet, it allows your dog to be as comfortable as possible.

8. Current dog tags

While these should be on your dog, check them at least once a year for accuracy and readability. I scrub Henry’s at least once a month when he gets a bath. I’m always amazed at how dirty they get.

9. Update microchip information

Yes, always keep your dog’s microchip information up-to-date. It can mean the difference between a successful reunion and a permanent separation. The best part is this is free to update and register to your dog’s chip.

Not sure how to transfer your dog’s microchip information? Or you’re just not sure about the whole microchip thing for your dog or pet? This article is a complete guide to the world of microchipping your dog or pet and how it saves on your dog’s expenses.

10. Poop bags

Yep, those poop bags are essential even in an emergency dog kit. These are the poop bags that I use for Henry.

Are you sick and tired of those dog poop bags never opening easily? In this article, I show you a quick, easy, and free hack to end what often seems like torture forever.

11. Blanket

You’ll definitely want to include a blanket in your dog’s emergency kit. However, if you sleep with the blanket first to put your scent, it will help your dog even more. Basically, it will provide a sense of calm for your dog in the middle of what feels like chaos. You may be like me and have a lot of blankets that are great for the fur kid. Some I even got even I donated to different charities. Those blankets are great for an emergency kit.

12. Towels

Often during an evacuation or emergency, there’s a lot of water. That’s where a towel or better yet absorbent towels come in handy. You’ll be glad you packed them and your dog will as well. If you’re like me, I have a lot of towels that may not be in guest shape. But they are in perfect Henry shape and excellent emergency kit shape. That’s the kind of that that gets designated for Henry’s bug out bag.

13. Brush

I always think keeping with a routine is a good idea, even when things seem out of sorts. Thus, if your dog is able to remain with you, then brushing is a good way to continue bonding, soothe your dog, and keep his/her fur maintained while inspecting his/her fur and skin. I know Henry loves being brushed daily. For Henry’s bag I have a few brushes that have been used. They aren’t my favorite. But they work just fine. They’re perfect for a bug out bag.

Confused about dog brushes? In this article, I walk you through the world of dog brushes and let you discover what’s best for your dog.

14. Tooth cleaning system

Again, this is part of keeping with a daily routine. I encourage folks to continue brushing their dog’s teeth daily and not to sacrifice their health. It’s part of the daily routine, so keep it up if at all possible.

15. Cooling vest

An emergency may have you evacuate to a location that is hot without AC. I know Henry gets hot rather easily. I definitely have a cooling vest for him in his bug out bag year-round. Even in the winter, a crowded location could be hot for your dog. Besides a cooling vest seems to calm Henry and that’s a bonus in my mind. For Henry’s kit, I always have last season’s vest, which doesn’t cost a penny, still works well, but may not look so great. However, it works perfectly fine for an emergency kit.

16. Sweater

On the other end of the spectrum is a sweater for your dog. Some dogs seem to be cold more. Or you could live in a high-snow country which could mean outages or a cold dog if you’re forced to evacuate. For your bug out bag, think about a sweater that’s been worn, but has or needs to be replaced. Yet it still is in good shape.

17. Dog life vest

If you live in a hurricane-prone area or flood areas then, you’ll definitely want to put a dog life vest in your dog emergency kit. Don’t assume your dog can swim. And don’t assume your dog can swim for hours. That’s just wrong and it’s mean. No one in a high-stress situation should be asked to do this that’s why you prepare.

18. Toys for your dog

This is thinking ahead about ways to calm your dog in a stressful situation. Yes, often toys will help your dog. So, definitely include them in your dog’s bug out bag.

19. LED flashlight with extra batteries

Often an emergency knocks out electricity. This means you will need to take your dog out to potty that aren’t lit. Besides you just want to see what’s around you. A great flashlight will help. Make sure to check the batteries at least once a year.

20. Pet first aid kit

Yes, a pet first aid kit is a must! Anything can happen in a high-stress situation. It may not even be with your dog, but you might be able to help someone else’s pet and it’s best to be prepared. While you can create your own pet first aid and save money, you may want to save time or energy, which I realize is also valuable. In that case, this pet first aid kit by Alcott is perfectly equipped and well-priced.

21. Vaccination, rabies, and medical records

Always make sure your dog’s vaccine records are up-to-date. This includes rabies information. Evacuation centers will most likely need current records in order to accept your dog or pets’.

Are you looking for a way to cut your dog costs? In this article, learn how to find vet-administered low-cost dog vaccines.

22. Emergency contacts, including the veterinarian’s office

It always amazes me that when an emergency strikes everything goes haywire. You may be out of town, sick, in a dead cell area, or have a dead phone. This is why it’s super critical to make a list of contacts (that’s your A, B, C, D, and E contacts). Then connect all your contacts. Additionally, provide this list to your vet’s office. This way everyone is on the same page

Not sure how to find a good vet that you and your dog love? This article guides you through the process which some surprising critical questions and steps.

23. Copy of pet insurance

Definitely make a copy of your pet insurance with contact information, website, and coverage and put it into your dog’s emergency kit. This could be very useful if your dog needs medical assistance or lands at your vet’s office. Additionally, make sure your vet’s office has your update pet insurance information.

24. List of medications and allergies

Also, include in your dog’s emergency kit when and how each medication is to be given and what it’s supposed to do for your dog. Additionally, include any medications your dog may be allergic to and should avoid at all costs. This is helpful in case your evacuation person or facility is unable to get your dog to take his medication. However, knowing for example the medication is only for mild allergies will put everyone at ease. They won’t worry that it’s a dire situation to get your dog to eat and take medications. Keep in mind some dogs and pets may be too stressed to eat for a bit. That’s to be expected in severe emergency evacuation cases.

Does your dog have allergies? Do you know that your dog can take an OTC medication for years and suddenly develop a severe allergy to a medication like Benadryl? In this article, I walk you through what happens when a severe allergy suddenly happens and the costs of an OTC medication for your dog.

25. Current photos of your dog

It’s really critical to have a current photo of your dog. This is in case your dog should become lost in the commotion of the disaster and evacuation. You need current and good photos. Additionally, any photos of unique markings are a huge plus!

Of course, you can include other items in your dog’s bug out bag like dog treats, but these are the most essential items.

NOTE: The trick to handling dog food issue and keeping it fresh in your dog’s bug out bag is when you get a new bag or shipment of dog food, slowly rotate it with what you have in your dog’s emergency bag. This way it will never be old or stale. Do the same with the medications, supplements, tooth brushing supplie, and treats. However, if you only feed your dog homemade food, then you’ll want to look into a long-term solution such as a raw freeze-dried option.

Can a dog emergency kit save on my dog’s expenses?

This is really the fun part that often surprises folks. I’ll just simply say yes and let you explore the details below.

Dog foodNo additional cost – rotate daily product
WaterNo additional cost – rotate daily product
Portable bowls (2) $10/each$20
MedicationsNo additional cost – rotate daily product
LeashFREE – $8
HarnessFREE – $25
Muzzle$7
Current dog tagsFREE
Microchip information updatedFREE
Poop bags $8.39
BlanketFREE
TowelsToothbrush system rotate
Brush FREE – $14
Tooth brush system rotateNo additional cost – rotate daily product
Cooling vestNo additional cost – rotate pup’s vest
SweaterNo additional cost – rotate pup’s sweater
Dog life vest (if live in water prone area)$24
ToysNo additional cost – rotate pup’s older toys
LED flashlight (+batteries) $10
Pet first aid kit $26
Copy vaccination records $5
Emergency contactsFREE
Copy of pet insurance info $5
List of medications and allergies $2
Current dog photo $2
Injured dog $200-10,000
Lost dog $34-100 +$9/day (cost in my area)
Dog euthanized because of an attack or bite IMMEASURABLE
Cost of creating a dog emergency kit $85.39-$166.39
Money saved by creating a dog emergency kit$9,914.61+

Related posts:

Summary of shocking ways to prepare the best dog emergency kit

Preparing a dog emergency bug out kit is one of the best gifts you can give your dog. Yes, it will take a bit of time to plan your evacuation people and your plan. However, your dog deserves it and you deserve to know that your dog is safe even if you aren’t there when disaster strikes. The good news is that once you put your dog’s survival kit together, you only need to make sure it’s current every so often.

I know I feel better knowing Henry, is in good hands no matter what should happen.

a dog is ready to bug out in dog emergency kit

Have you thought about preparing a dog bug out kit? What will you put in your dog’s emergency kit that I forgot? Are you someone’s evacuation person?

16 thoughts on “Prepare The Best Dog Emergency Kit”

  1. We have to update our bug out bag for the cats. It has been a while! You are so right about having to have back ups for your back ups. Disasters like to strike when you are not home. We almost had a situation a couple of months back. There was a day when we were out for about 4 hours. We came home and you could smell a horrible odor coming from our apartment before you even got inside. After some searching for the source, we realized that one of the cats had knocked a knob on the stove and our apartment was filled with gas! Luckily our apartment aired out easily and no one was hurt. That would have been a great time to have a bug out bag for the cats though!

    Reply
    • Oh my! I’m glad everything worked out fine for you and the kitties. That is scary! There are child-proof stove knobs you can get for around $10 us. That might be worth the investment and put your mind at ease when you leave your home. I’m glad you’ve got some good ideas for putting together your own pet bug out bag. Tell your kitties to stop having parties when you leave home. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

      Reply
  2. This is a great guide with all the essentials for an emergency. I would not have even thought about a muzzle or a life jacket. Being prepared definitely takes some of the stress out of planning a quick exit. Thanks for sharing this great guide.

    Reply
    • It’s crazy the things you need in a time of an emergency with your pet. I agree it’s always best to be prepared and not be completely caught off guard.

      Reply
  3. This is so important! In my 13ish years of owning dogs now, we’ve had to evacuate our home twice. Both times I was SO thankful that I keep emergency supplies for everyone, people and pets, in the trunk of our car. Once in a while I go through everything, to replace some things. I add new stuff here and there, too. I hope I never need to use the stuff in our kit again, but I know it will be a blessing to have it there if/when we ever need it.

    Reply
    • I hope you don’t have to evacuate anymore either. It’s always scary. At least being prepared with an emergency dog bag does help put your mind at ease a bit. That’s perfect to go through your dog’s bug out bag every so often and make sure it’s got all current items. I’m really glad you and your dogs are prepared.

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  4. HAHA yeah don’t forget the muzzle.

    So many people think their dog is an angel but the moment that dog comes within sight of another it transforms into a fierce defender of its family (and boy does that surprise the owner). I wish people would get a grip on themselves and realise their dog can, if frightened or threatened become a different animal.

    We are encouraged to have emergency kits ready here in NZ all the time being on the edge of the Ring of Fire volcanoes!

    Reply
    • OMG!!! I totally forgot about volcanoes! That’s another whole level of preparation. A stressful situation can make anyone or any animal act differently than they would under a normal situation. It’s sometimes difficult to realize this change until you witness it firsthand. However, preparation for any possible incident is always best. Thanks for reminding me about volcanoes. Be safe with your family and kitties.

      Reply
  5. I think that your dog emergency kit covers it all. We have a dog kit that contains a first-aid kit and all current medications and supplements. As for food, my dog eats raw but can eat any whole foods, so we could always cook something up or share from our rations as long as they don’t contain foods poisonous to dogs, such as onions.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you have an emergency dog kit plan. It’s also great that you’ve thought through what to do for their food as well since your dogs eat raw dog food. Kudos, Jana! Here’s to being prepared and never needing it.

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  6. It is important to have an emergency bag for our pets packed and ready to go! I never thought of having backup emergency contacts for my backups, but it seems like a great plan!

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    • Backups of backups are a critical step to take. It’s amazing how people are either tied up in your exact emergency or unavailable when you need them the most. I’m glad I was able to bring this one to your plan. Don’t forget to ask your evacuation people and all your backups before you add them to your list. You may even find that you can be a backup for one of your backups. Good luck putting your list together.

      Reply
  7. I have lived through wars with pets, earthquakes with pets so when I moved to San Francisco one of the first things I did was make up an emergency bag for Layla and Me which has everything. I am fortunate that her medical files are online and accessible by me so I do not need to worry about them. I also have a document and a friend who will take Layla if anything happens to me

    Reply
    • I’m glad you have an emergency dog bag for Layla. You are absolutely correct, San Francisco is earthquake country. I hope you never need to use your bug out bag for Layla or you. I also hope you don’t experience any more wars firsthand. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

      Reply
  8. I am so very sorry your family went through that disaster, but happy all turned out okay. We have always had a “bug out” kit (we called it a to-go bag) especially with one of our Huskies having epilepsy. We always had one on hand, just in case while praying we never needed it. Great post. Pinning to Share.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words. I think that’s kind of the nature of an emergency bag for our pets and for us. We do them to be prepared but hope and pray we never need them. And you’re absolutely correct, a dog bug out bag does have many names. As long as you’ve got one, the name isn’t that important. Thanks for your continued support. 😊💖🐶

      Reply

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