Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earthquake Preparedness for Your Pets

With the earth shaking the way it has the last few weeks, I thought we should include a blog post about Earthquake Preparedness for our four legged family members. Here is what I have included in ours:

Food – 2 bags each (dog and cats)
Bottled Water
Bowls (food, water)
Medication (Lily)
First Aid Kit (which includes a booklet on first aid for companion animals)
Poop Bags
Litter box/Litter/Liner
Extra Leash
Extra Collar
Copy of all Medical Records

We always have two bags of food for the pets at all times. You want to have at least a week supply of food in case the pet stores aren’t open to get your pets food. We use one bag and keep the other for reserve. As we start to get to the bottom of the first bag, we immediately buy a new one. This way, we always have at least a bag and a half of food for our pets. We also keep wet food. Should anything happen and water be in short supply, canned food will give them some hydration. Canned food can keep outside of the refrigerator for 24 hours if stored properly (covered, in a cool location).
I included treats because Lily is food motivated. If we need her to be focused on us, the treats will help grab her attention immediately.
I have enough water in the earthquake kit that our four animals can drink half a gallon of water a day. We have supplies for seven days. Even though pets can drink from sources unsuitable for humans, we don’t know what kind of contaminants will be in our water supply. It’s not worth risking stomach and intestinal irritation when there won’t be a vet handy to treat our girls.

We picked up a first aid kit for animals at a sale that included a booklet on treating your pet’s injuries. You don’t have to purchase a complete kit, though. You can google pet first aid kits and simply make your own (shout out to Anthony and Molly who hike with one Anthony made himself that rivals ours!).
We have Lily’s medication in an easily accessible place where we can grab it in an emergency, throw it in the kit and go. We never let it get below a seven day supply. Better safe than sorry.
We have copies of the girl’s medical records in the kit. I put them in a plastic bag to keep them dry. Lily’s shot records, microchip information and registration are in hers. The cats have copies of their shot records in theirs. We also have a current picture of each of them in case we become separated.

Just because there has been an earthquake doesn’t mean we no longer have to clean up after our pets. This will be especially important for sanitation in the event of an earthquake. We have included biodegradable poop bags for Lily. We also have an extra litter box and some litter in the kit because we don’t know where we will end up with the girls. Some experts recommend using sand in an emergency, which is certainly doable, but you will need to include litter box liners with your kit if you plan to do this. We have relatives in San Diego, Arizona, Oregon and Washington that all have opened their doors to us in an emergency. Because we will be indoors, we won’t need to resort to sand.

We’ve included familiar blankets for our pets that we rotate with each laundry cycle. In the uncertainty of the situation, it will help them to have familiar things like blankets and toys around them. The cat carriers and extra leashes are kept together in our den. They are easily accessible should we need them.

If an earthquake does hit, do not try to pick your animals up during the shaking to comfort them. Animals will instinctively seek a place to hide in safety. Wait until the shaking has subsided to locate your pets in your house. Assess the damage and decide if it is safe to remain indoors or if you will be moving to another location. Remember that this is a traumatic event for your pets. Use caution in handling them. They will be upset from the trembling and the noise. Even a gentle pet can bite or scratch when scared.


  1. One more thing to consider for your kit - I bought rubber soled hiking booties for their paws. I have 2 big dogs, and if there's broken glass all over the floor after the quake, I can't carry either dog more than a few feet. The booties will protect their paws :)

  2. I'm interested in pets. I finally am not afraid of dogs. Can't be. My children and grandchildren have dogs (and cats). So does one of my best friends. I'm also interested in preparedness. You never know when disaster might strike. An excellent list. BTW, I like your blog title: Paws and Learn. Great pun, and right on.