9 Common Prepping Mistakes Pet Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

In the world of emergency preparedness, pet owners face unique challenges in ensuring the safety and well-being of their beloved companions. Despite our best intentions, it’s all too easy to fall into common prepping mistakes that could potentially jeopardize our pets’ welfare. In this article, titled “9 Common Prepping Mistakes Pet Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them),” we’ll delve into these pitfalls and offer practical solutions to help you steer clear of them. By addressing these mistakes head-on, we can better equip ourselves to protect our furry friends during times of crisis. Let’s explore these common pitfalls and learn how to navigate the path to effective pet preparedness together.

9 Common Prepping Mistakes Pet Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Prepping With Pets - Prepare Your Pets for Disaster and Apocalypse

Don’t Forget Fido! Common Prepping Mistakes Pet Owners Make

Emergencies can strike at any time, disrupting our routines and testing our ability to adapt. Being prepared with a well-stocked kit and a solid plan can significantly ease the stress of such situations. But often overlooked in these preparations are our furry companions – our pets. Including them in your prepping plans is crucial, ensuring their safety and well-being during unexpected events. This article explores some common mistakes pet owners make when prepping and provides guidance on creating a pet-focused emergency plan.

1. Lack of Adequate Food and Water Supplies:

One crucial mistake pet owners often make is underestimating the amount of food and water their pets will need during an emergency. Here’s how to ensure your furry friend stays fed and hydrated:

  • Food: Don’t just rely on leftover kibble. Store a two-week supply of non-perishable, dry food that your pet already enjoys. Consider including canned food options for added hydration and palatability, especially in stressful situations.

Check out this range of pet food by clicking here.

  • Water: Pets can become dehydrated quickly. Aim for one gallon of bottled water per day per animal. Include a portable water bowl and research water purification tablets in case clean water sources are limited.

Check out this range of water storage solutions by clicking here.

2. Failure to Account for Pet Medications and First Aid:

Another common oversight is neglecting your pet’s medical needs. Here’s how to properly prepare for your pet’s health and well-being:

  • Medications: If your pet requires any medications, ensure you have at least a two-week supply on hand. Keep them in a waterproof container and update prescriptions well in advance of their expiration date.
  • First Aid: Emergencies don’t discriminate. Assemble a pet-specific first aid kit containing essential items like gauze bandages, antiseptic wipes, cotton swabs, tweezers, and an emergency pet thermometer. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on specific inclusions and basic first-aid procedures for common pet emergencies.

Check out this pet friendly first aid kits by clicking here.

3. Ignoring Pet Comfort and Security:

Often, pet owners focus solely on practical needs and overlook the emotional well-being of their furry companions during emergencies. Here’s how to ensure your pet feels safe and secure:

  • Familiar Items: Pack familiar blankets or bedding from your pet’s usual space. These familiar items provide comfort and a sense of normalcy in a stressful situation.

Check out these pet toys by clicking here.

  • Shelter Options: Research pet-friendly shelters or evacuation centers in your area. Not all shelters accept pets, so having a backup plan is crucial. Consider asking friends or family outside the immediate area if they could house your pet during an emergency.

4. Inadequate Planning for Pet Evacuation:

Evacuating with pets requires additional planning compared to evacuating alone. Here’s how to ensure a smooth and safe evacuation for your furry friend:

  • Evacuation Plan: Develop a pet-specific evacuation plan that outlines your escape route, designated meeting locations for family members (including pets), and potential transportation options. Consider practicing your evacuation plan with your pet to familiarize them with the process.
  • Transportation: Ensure your vehicle is large enough to comfortably transport your pet in their carrier or crate. Having a pet-friendly backpack as an alternative carrying option can be helpful. Clearly mark your vehicle with signage indicating you have pets on board.

5. Neglecting to Update Pet Identification and Documentation:

In the chaos of an emergency, ensuring your pet can be easily identified and returned to you is critical. Here’s how to keep your pet’s identification up-to-date:

  • ID Tags: Ensure your pet’s collar has a well-fitting ID tag with your current contact information. Double-check the information engraved on the tag for accuracy.

Check out this range of pet ID tags by clicking here.

  • Microchips: Consider microchipping your pet. Microchips provide a permanent and reliable identification method, even if your pet’s collar falls off. Update your contact information associated with the microchip regularly.
  • Documentation: Compile essential documents like vaccination records, medical history, and proof of ownership in a waterproof container. Keep a digital copy readily accessible as well. Having this documentation readily available can expedite veterinary care or reunite you with your pet if separated during an emergency.

6. Overlooking Behavioral Considerations:

Pets can become anxious and stressed during emergencies. Here’s how to manage your pet’s behavior and keep them calm:

  • Behavioral Awareness: Understand your pet’s temperament and potential triggers for anxiety. Familiarize yourself with common signs of stress in your pet, such as excessive panting, pacing, or hiding.
  • Calming Techniques: Include calming aids like pheromone sprays or anxiety wraps in your emergency kit. These can help manage your pet’s stress levels, especially during transportation or sheltering in unfamiliar environments.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Expose your pet to the sights and sounds associated with emergencies in a controlled setting. This can help them become more accustomed to carriers, crates, or unfamiliar environments, reducing anxiety during a real event.

7. Not Including Pets in Family Emergency Drills:

Many families conduct emergency drills, but often these drills exclude pets. Here’s why involving your pet in your practice drills is crucial:

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Regularly practicing emergency procedures with your pet can help them become more comfortable with carriers, crates, evacuation routes, and unfamiliar environments. This can significantly reduce stress and anxiety during a real emergency.
  • Desensitization: Expose your pet to the sights and sounds associated with emergencies in a controlled setting. Play recordings of sirens or alarms at a low volume and gradually increase the volume as your pet becomes accustomed to them.
  • Reinforcement: Reward your pet with treats and praise for calm behavior during practice drills. This positive reinforcement helps them associate emergency situations with positive experiences.

8. Relying Solely on External Assistance:

During emergencies, external resources may be overwhelmed or unavailable. Here’s how to build self-sufficiency into your pet prepping plan:

  • Be Prepared for Delays: Don’t rely solely on public shelters or evacuation centers, which may have limited capacity or not accept pets. Consider having a backup plan with friends or family who can temporarily house your pet if needed.
  • Self-Reliance: Pack enough supplies to sustain yourself and your pet for at least 72 hours. This includes food, water, medications, and sanitation supplies.
  • Knowledge is Power: Educate yourself on common pet emergencies and basic first-aid procedures. This knowledge can empower you to care for your pet until professional help becomes available.

9. Lack of Communication with Family and Community:

Effective communication is crucial for ensuring your pet’s safety during emergencies. Here’s how to keep the lines of communication open:

  • Family Plan: Discuss your pet emergency plan with all family members. Ensure everyone knows their role in caring for your pet during an evacuation or sheltering situation. Assign specific tasks, such as carrying the pet crate or keeping track of food and water supplies.
  • Community Connections: Connect with neighbors who are also pet owners. Share resources and create a support network for pet care during emergencies. Explore local pet-friendly evacuation plans and vet services in your area.


We’ve explored some common mistakes pet owners make when prepping for emergencies. By being aware of these pitfalls and taking proactive steps to prepare your furry companion, you can significantly increase their chances of staying safe and comfortable during unexpected events. Remember, including your pet in your emergency preparedness plan demonstrates your love and responsibility as a pet owner. Don’t wait until disaster strikes – take action today to ensure your entire family, including your furry friend, is ready to face any challenge that comes your way.

See more prepping with pet articles here.

Written by doc cotton

Meet Doc Cotton, your go-to founder of NowShack and a goto for all things adventurous and outdoorsy. With an unwavering passion for van life and a deep connection to the great outdoors, Doc is your trusted guide to exploring the world off the beaten path.

Doc's journey began with a fascination for the freedom and simplicity that van life offers. From there, it was a natural progression to spend countless hours prepping and converting vans into cozy, mobile homes on wheels. Whether it's turning an old van into a comfortable living space or sharing tips on the best gear for outdoor adventures, Doc has you covered.

But Doc Cotton is not just about life on the road; he's also a dedicated student of survival skills. Always eager to learn and share, Doc's insights into wilderness survival and bushcraft are invaluable for anyone looking to connect with nature on a deeper level.