In Case of Emergency: Being Prepared with Your Pet

Unexpected trouble can unfortunately strike at any time. While it’s not something we like to think about, being prepared for an emergency in advanced will give you peace of mind that both you and your pets will have what you need if a crisis occurs.

June marks National Pet Preparedness Month, so we’re sharing recommendations to build your own pet emergency kits. You can also download this list as a PDF to print at the bottom of this post to be kept as part of your emergency kit.

Step 1: Prepare Your Supplies, Including…

  • Food & Water: Non-perishable foods are best and should be kept in airtight, waterproof containers. Also ensure you have enough water for yourself, family, and pets. We recommend having 10-14 days of consumables for all members of your pack. 
  • Medication & Medical Records: Important medications and health records should be kept in a waterproof container. Prepare a document that outlines the feeding and medication instructions for your pet. Include copies of up-to-date vaccination records, in case your pet needs to be housed at a boarding facility temporarily.
  • First Aid Kit: Work with your veterinarian to determine what these supplies may include for your pet. Standard kits often include: cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, medical gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and saline solution. A pet first aid reference book should also be included. To learn more about Pet First Aid, check out our course.
  • Collar with ID tag, harness and leash: Permanent identification such as microchips, tattoos, and database registration (e.g. pet licensing through your local animal control) are always recommended. Additionally, pets should always wear a collar with ID tags and current vaccinations. Keeping a backup of these items in your supplies along with any pet registration and recent photo can be helpful if you become separated.
  • Crate or other pet carrier: A carrier large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in will aid in their safety and comfort. Be proactive and ensure your pet is trained to comfortably enter and stay in a kennel for a period of time. See our free behaviour resources for information on crate training.
  • Sanitation: Include litter and box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and cleaning supplies such as pure chlorine bleach without scents, added cleaners, or marked as color safe. Bleach can be used as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach) as well as to purify water in an emergency (16 drops to one gallon of water)
  • Familiar Items: Favourite toys, treats, or bedding will help reduce stress for your pet.

Step 2: Plan for Action

  • Gather information: Ensure you gather as much information as possible and listen to the advice of local authorities, trusted media sources and follow all recommendations if told to evacuate, shelter-in-place, or seek medical treatment.
  • Speak to your local veterinarians: They can provide information on possible shelters and services that your pet might need in an emergency. Have a list of these resources handy in your kit. You can also pick up a sticker or note for your home that indicates the number of and type of pets in your home for authorities, in case it isn’t possible to take them with you — for example, if you are taken to hospital.
  • Plan for where you or your pets may need to go: In case you’re unable to care for your pet due to an emergency, make a list of family, friends, kennels or boarding facilities where your pet could possibly go. Speak with these possible caregivers in advance so they have all the necessary details should anything happen.
  • Secure your kit and assign buddies: Having your kit in a designated location and roles for family members can help save valuable time in an emergency. Assigning jobs and buddies helps give a sense of purpose and focus during times of uncertainty. Buddies can also be neighbors, friends, and relatives.

Step 3: Stay Informed & Confirm Your Kit

  • Building your kit, having resources, as well as contact lists ready, and keeping informed of the most likely types of events in your region will help you navigate difficult times as safety as possible. Review trusted information from government agencies about the types of events and seek out additional recommendations and resources to strengthen your plan.
  • Conduct an annual review your kit’s contents to update any information that may have changed, and manage any perishables in your kits by checking expiration dates on both food and medications.

The more you can do to prepare for an emergency, the less you will have to worry about if the unthinkable happens. Planning for your pets makes sense — start planning and building your kit today!

Download The Emergency Pet Preparedness PDF

Other Emergency Resources for Pet Guardians in Edmonton & Alberta:

The following programs are available in Alberta for those requiring emergency boarding for their pets:

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the Government of Alberta also offers a 24-hour Family Violence Information Line with anonymous support at 310-1818, or find more information here.

The following food banks and organizations help to provide pet food supplies:

*Note: if you are viewing on mobile, you may need to scroll right on the below table to see the contact details for each food bank.

Location Website Phone
Edmonton Boyle Street’s Pet Food Bank

Edmonton & Alberta (Outside Calgary) Alberta SPCA Help for Animals See Website for Contact Form
Calgary AARCS Food Assistance Program Request Online
Red Deer Alberta Animal Services or Red Deer Food Bank 403-347-2388 / 403-346-1505
Lethbridge City of Lethbridge Pet Food Bank 403-320-4099
Nanton NAPS Pet Food Bank
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray SPCA Pet Food Bank 780-743-8997
Across Alberta (Edmonton, Red Deer, Claresholm, Strathmore, Crossfield, Cold Lake, Calgary, Bonnyville and Hines Creek) ALPL Pet Food Banks See Website for Contact Info Based on Location

The below food banks for people may also have some supplies for pets. We recommend calling in advance to check supplies.

*Note: if you are viewing on mobile, you may need to scroll right on the below table to see the contact details for each food bank.

Location Website Phone
Edmonton Edmonton’s Food Bank 780-425-4190
Airdrie Airdrie Food Bank 403-948-0063
Athabasca Athabasca Good Samaritan Ministries Association 780-675-3556
Brooks Brooks Food Bank Foundation 403-793-2535
Calgary Calgary Food Bank 403-253-2055
Cochrane Cochrane Activettes Food Bank 403-932-9290
Cold Lake Cold Lake Food Bank (Tritown) 780-594-4172
Edson Edson Food Bank Society 780-723-1350
Fort MacLeod Fort Macleod Salvation Army Food Bank 403-553-2875
Fort Saskatchewan Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank 780-998-4099
High River Foothills Salvation Army Food Bank 403-652-2195 (ext.2)
High Level High Level Native Friendship Center 780-926-3355
Lethbridge Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank 403-320-8779
Irricana Irricana Food Bank 403-935-4911
Lac St. Anne Lac St. Anne East Food Bank Society 780-271-3131
Leduc Leduc & District Food Bank Association 780-986-5333
Lloydminster Lloydminster Salvation Army Food Bank 780-875-9166
Lloydminster Lloydminster Olive Tree Community Center 780-870-1060
Medicine Hat Medicine Hat & District Food Bank 403-528-4313
Nanton Nanton Ministerial Food Bank 403-926-7621 / 403-601-4201
Okotoks Okotoks Food Bank Association 403-651-6629
Parkland County (including Spruce Grove and Stony Plain) Parkland Food Bank Society 780-962-4565
Red Deer Red Deer Food Bank 403-342-5355
Sexsmith Sexsmith & Area Food Bank 780-296-0939
St. Albert St.Albert Food Bank 780-459-0599
Taber Taber Food Bank Society 403-223-1833
Three Hills Three Hills Food Bank 403-443-1005
Tofield Tofield-Ryley & Area Food Bank 780-662-3511
Tsuut’ina Tsuut’ina Food Bank 403-252-5884
Wetaskiwin Wetaskiwin Salvation Army Food Bank 780-352-4708 / 780-352-2416
Wheatland County (Strathmore) Wheatland County Food Bank Society 403-324-4335
Whitecourt Whitecourt Interagency Food Bank 780-778-2341
Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association 780-743-1125

We understand that seeking financial supports can be a difficult thing to do and thank you for exploring options to ensure your pet can get the veterinary care it needs. Here are some we recommend looking into:

  • If you are low income, disabled or a senior residing within Alberta, speak to your veterinarian about eligibility through the Tails of Help
  • If you are in Edmonton and from a vulnerable population, you may qualify for some assistance from the Alberta Helping Animals Society.
  • Inquire at your veterinary clinic about payment options or plans.
  • Ask friends or family members for assistance.
  • Consider financing through Petcard
  • Many VCA Canada Veterinary Centres have a financing option through PayBright and recommended pet insurance providers.
  • Search for personal lending organizations that help with pet care/veterinary loans.

We also highly recommend checking out pet insurance options, like Petsecure — to help cover the costs of unexpected veterinary care in the future.

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