Make an Emergency Plan for Your Pet in 3 Easy Steps

April 20th, 2020

By Sara Miller

COVID-19 is a scary time filled with a lot of uncertainty. You’ve probably thought through an emergency plan for yourself. But, are your pets included in your emergency plan? What happens to your pets if you get sick and have to go to the hospital? Making an emergency plan for your pets is absolutely essential and prevents them from having to go to a shelter because you didn’t make preparations for their care., We’ll walk you through making a plan in three easy steps. There’s also a great printable worksheet that is free for you to download and use.

1. Decide Who Will Take Your Pet If You Get Sick

When you think about making an emergency plan for your pets, you should plan as though you are going on a long vacation! Firstly, if you get sick, your pet needs somewhere to go! Who is the best person to take care of them?

When you consider who could care for your pet, keep these things in mind:

  • Who is your pet comfortable with?
  • Who knows and loves your pet like you do?
  • Who is nearby to be able to take your pet?
  • Does their living situation allow them to care for your pet more than one night in a row?
  • Who are YOU comfortable with leaving your pet with?

After thinking through those points, you probably have someone in your life in mind to take care of your pet. That’s your plan A person. Now, think through these questions again and consider who could be your backup plan. You don’t want to be stuck without a plan B if plan A falls through!

Don’t forget to ask your pet’s potential caretakers if they are okay with caring for your pet.

2. Make a List of What Your Pet Needs and Pack a Bag

Think through what your pet needs on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, etc. Remember, you’re planning as though you’re going on a long vacation. All of these things need to be packed up in the same location, that way they are as ready-to-go as possible!

Your Basic Pet Packing List

  • Food and bowls
  • Medications (Be sure to include monthly medications like heartworm preventative.)
  • Leash, harness, collar, etc.
  • Toys
  • Bed and comfort items

3. Write out Your Pet’s Routine and Other Important Details

As you’ve thought through what items your pet uses everyday, you’ve likely thought through their routine some! But, let’s get that down on paper. While you and your pet might be on autopilot with these routines, someone else is taking care of your pet and they aren’t familiar with your pet’s routine.

Pet Routine Information to Provide

  • Meal times and amounts of food
  • Medication dosage and timing
  • Routine for walks
  • Normal bathroom breaks and behaviors
  • Normal bedtime routine
    • Where do they sleep?
  • Kennel/crating practices (if applicable)
    • Do you crate your animal when you leave your home or while you sleep?
    • How long are they used to being in their crate?

Expert Tip: Add to your pet’s bag (or your packing list for them) as you go through step three. You’ll likely remember items you would have forgotten had you not walked through their routine.

You’ll also want to include things like your veterinarian's information and other emergency contacts in these written instructions!

Other Important Details to Provide

  • Regular veterinarian’s information
  • Emergency veterinarian’s information
  • Allergies
  • Unique behaviors and “quirks” your pet might have
  • Your medical emergency contact’s contact information (In case you are unable to communicate yourself.)

This sounds like a lot of information! So we’ve consolidated all of this into a printable worksheet. Just fill it out and leave it in the bag for your pet’s caretaker. Your emergency plan is complete!

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