Dr. Katy Nelson DVM Shares Must-Have Items for a Pet Emergency Kit

By: Dr. Katy Nelson, DVMUpdated:

pet emergency must-haves
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Dr. Katy Nelson DVM Shares Must-Have Items for a Pet Emergency Kit

Do you have a pet emergency kit? Right now, before an emergency or natural disaster, take the time to gather items for a pet emergency kit. Having what you need on hand can help you respond quickly and appropriately when needed. It's not a huge list and there is nothing you can't find at a drug store or online in the case of some pet specific items.

Here’s what pet parents should have on hand in a pet emergency kit to be prepared for most emergency situations. (And if you're wondering whether you need to take your pet to the vet now vs. waiting, what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do if your vet is closed—read more from Dr. Nelson here).


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  • A copy of your pet’s medical records (not just a folder of receipts)
  • ER contact card with Poison Control’s number and that of your local emergency animal hospital on it
  • A commercial pet first aid kit, like this kit from Kurgo, stocked with non-stick pads, bandage gauze, alcohol swabs, pressure wraps, small tweezers, blunt scissors and bandage tape
  • Emergency eye wash, like Espree’s Opti-Soothe eye wash, for rinsing out foreign matter
  • Oral-activated charcoal administered in case of toxin ingestion (call your vet first)
  • Plain canned pumpkin (the puree, not the pie filler) in case of diarrhea
  • Hydrogen peroxide, which can be used to do the initial cleaning of a wound (only once, not daily) or, if advised by your veterinarian, to induce vomiting
  • A pet thermometer, like Pet-Temp’s ear thermometer
  • Petroleum jelly can be used as lubricant for a thermometer, or to cover a wound under a bandage before you seek treatment
  • Paw balm, like Bag Balm for pets, is useful in both winter and summer for dry, chapped or burned paws
  • A calming aid, like Rescue Remedy drops, to use in times of stress
  • Nail trimmer and styptic powder to stop the bleeding of minor cuts or if you cut the nail back too far. One option is Miracle Care’s Kwik-Stop.
  • Gloves
  • Plastic oral syringe, like this one by Lixit for small pets, for administering medicines or flushing wounds
  • Flashlight or pen light
  • Fluffy towel to wrap scared kitties in or warm cold puppies up
  • Treats to give a little comfort in a scary situation

If your pet is on prescription meds, it’s recommended to keep at least a 2- to 4-week supply of the medicine on hand in case of an emergency, an evacuation or an illness. This includes heartworm, flea and tick preventive medications and any prescription diets that your pet has been prescribed. Also, have an extra bag of kibble or case of cans of your pet’s regular diet on hand at all times, as well as extra litter for your kitties. While you’re getting supplies together, it’s also a good time to check pet tags and microchips to ensure all are up to date.

By taking a little extra time to gather all of this while you’re calm and able, you’ll certainly save yourself a lot of anguish if an emergency strikes. A large, flat plastic container will hold most of these items. Check twice yearly to ensure no products have expired and to update your pet’s medical records.

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By: Dr. Katy Nelson, DVMUpdated:

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