By Pamela Chan, Contributor

In the hours and days after a major natural disaster, there is one media story you can be certain will appear on your local television.

“Are you ready for the big one?”

“Do you have an emergency kit?”

Some of us do, some of us have a partial kit compiled and some of us haven’t made any preparations.

But how many of us are fully prepared to look after our pets without resources at home or on the road?

In the Envelope

PetSmart Charities of Canada sent me a pet inside stickers window seal, a printed cardboard with an emergency kit supply checklist and a page with tips about assembling your kit and other guidelines.

The Window Seal

The window seal can be placed by the entry door to your home. On the seal the message asks that “in the case of an emergency, please save my dog/cat/bird/other pet”.

Imagine that your home is on fire or there has been a mudslide, flood, tornado, hurricane or earthquake. When rescue teams come to your home, they will know the situation in your home in terms of pets on site.

The Check List

The checklist covers 8 key items that you should prepare and add to your emergency kit. Some are of the suggestions are items you buy and others are those that you prepare (such as a list of regional, pet friendly hotels).

Paper With List of Tips

This paper provides more critical tips for how you should assemble your kit, what additional items you should put in the kit and other guidelines you should consider. This is a concise but comprehensive list of tips that, to be honest, I couldn’t have compiled. The tips are based on information from PetSmart Charities, the American Red Cross and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Speaking with a pet owner who has deep experience planning for emergencies, she was very impressed by the package sent out by PetSmart Charities. One tip that she added was to buy a second foldable, soft sided carrier (perhaps new or second hand) and keep your kit inside or right next to this carrier.   This would be an alternative to using the main carrier that you use.  After an emergency you will have many items that you will want to collect. It is best to have a complete package ready to go.  Add in pillows, a blanket, and toys that would comfort your pet. If you have the space, keep the carrier open and store the kit inside.

The e-mail alert system programme internet address mentioned on the page of tips doesn’t appear to lead to a sign-up page. If you are interested in this programme, it would be a good idea to contact PetSmart Charities.

The hardest challenge immediately after an emergency is to move quickly and efficiently to a safer location – or to get by in your current situation without access to supplies. I once had the opportunity to prepare for the imminent arrival of a hurricane. It was a grim prospect to think that the roof could be peeled off of our home and all of the contents could be pulled out by the wind. We intended to bring our dog with us to the emergency shelter but we didn’t have this type of comprehensive kit available to take with us. (Fortunately the hurricane passed over the top of the island where my family was living and missed our home.)

If you have pets in your home, you will feel more assured about your level of preparedness after using the PetSmart Charities Emergency Preparedness Kit. This is the kind of resource that you will want to get for yourself and mention to your friends.


To learn more about the Emergency Relief programme visit

Disclosure: I received an Emergency Preparedness Kit to facilitate this post. All views and opinions are my own.