Pet emergency preparedness: 10 most essential items for traveling with your pet

If you're planning a road trip with your pet, it's important to be prepared for any situation. Car troubles and severe weather can throw a wrench into even the best-laid plans. You may have stocked up on emergency extras for the humans in your family. But what about your pets?

It’s quick and easy to put together an emergency kit containing all the essentials your furry companion needs.

This kit will help you ensure that your pet is safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout the trip. In this post, we'll provide a guide to creating a DIY pet emergency kit for your next road trip.

What to Include in a DIY Pet Emergency Kit

1. Food & Water

When packing food and water for your pet, it's important to consider their dietary needs and preferences. If your pet is used to a specific type of food or brand, try to pack enough for the entire trip. You may also want to consider packing some extra treats or snacks to keep your pet happy during the journey.

In addition to food, it's important to pack enough water for your pet. While you can buy bottled water on the road, it's a good idea to bring some from home to ensure that your pet has access to clean and familiar water. Don't forget to bring durable bowls that won't tip over during travel.

Finally, be sure to rotate and replace the food and water in your emergency kit approximately every 2 months or so to maintain quality and freshness.

2. Pet Containment & Safety

When it comes to pet safety while traveling, the most important item to pack is a crate or carrier. Not only does it keep your dog or cat safe during travel, but it can also serve as a familiar and comfortable space for your pet to rest in at the end of a long day. It can be tempting to let your pets roam free in a vehicle, but this is unsafe for passengers and animals. Some states may even have specific laws or regulations regarding pet restraint in vehicles, so it's important to check local laws before traveling with your pet.

When choosing a crate or carrier, make sure that it is sturdy and well-ventilated. It should also be the appropriate size for your pet. A crate or carrier that is too small can be uncomfortable for your pet, while one that is too large can be unsafe during travel.

3. Extra Collar & Leash

In addition to a crate or carrier, it's a good idea to pack an extra collar and leash. This can come in handy if your pet's primary collar or leash gets lost or damaged during the trip.

Pro tip: pack a slip lead in your emergency pet kit. This is a type of dog leash that functions as both a collar and a leash. It is made of a single piece of rope or nylon with a loop at one end that can be slipped over the dog's head, forming a collar. The other end of the leash is attached to the loop, creating a loop that can be tightened around the dog's neck when pulled. A slip leash may be the fastest, easiest way to catch a frightened dog in case of emergency or if your pet gets loose.

4. Pet Medical Information

In case of an emergency, it's important to have your pet's medical information and vet's contact information on hand.

When packing medical information, make sure to include a copy of your pet's medical & vaccination records. This can help a vet unfamiliar with your pet's history make more informed decisions about their care. In addition, if you need to use a boarding facility or a hotel, you may be required to show proof that your pets are up to date on their vaccinations.

It's also a good idea to include a list of any medications your pet is taking, along with dosage instructions.

Finally, if you have pet insurance, be sure to include your policy and insurance provider information.

5. Proper Pet Identification

In addition to medical information, it's important to have identification for your pet. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags that include your contact information and their unique microchip number.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t already, consider getting your pets microchipped before your next trip. This can be a lifesaver if your pet becomes lost during the journey. If your pet is already chipped, you can register their microchip for free.

Before every trip with your pets, make sure that your microchip number and contact info is accurate in your account through our customer portal.

6. First Aid Kit for Pets

A pet first aid kit is an essential item to pack for any road trip. It can help you provide basic care in case of an emergency and can help keep your pet comfortable and healthy throughout the trip.

When packing a first aid kit, make sure to include the following items:

It's important to note that a pet first aid kit should not replace professional veterinary care. If your pet becomes seriously injured or ill, seek veterinary care immediately..

For non-emergent concerns or questions, 24Petwatch members can access a 24/7 vet helpline via phone, online chat, or text. Learn more about membership benefits.

7. Clean-Up Supplies

Pets can be messy, especially during a road trip. That's why it's important to pack plenty of clean-up supplies.

When packing clean-up supplies, make sure to include items such as paper towels, garbage bags, poop bags, litter supplies, and liquid dish soap. These items can help you clean up messes quickly and efficiently and can help keep your car or hotel room clean and odor-free.

8. Comfort Items for Dogs & Cats

Bringing a few comfort items such as a favorite toy, treats, and a blanket can make all the difference in keeping your pet relaxed and happy throughout the trip. Consider packing a comfortable bed or crate pad that your pet is familiar with to help them feel more at home in unfamiliar surroundings.

If your pet is anxious or nervous during travel, consider using calming aids such as pheromone sprays or supplements to help them relax. Always talk to your vet before adding anything new to your pet's diet.

9. Weather-Related Items

Climate and weather conditions can have a big impact on your pet's comfort and safety during travel. If you're traveling to a cold climate, pack a coat or sweater for your pet to help keep the warm. Additionally, consider bringing booties to protect their paws from ice and snow.

If you're traveling to a hot climate, bring a cooling mat or towel to help your pet stay cool and hydrated. Don't forget to provide plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink, especially in warmer temperatures Here’s a few more tips on how to keep your pet healthy and safe when temperatures soar.

10. Entertainment and Distraction

This last recommendation isn't urgent, but it might help save your sanity. Long road trips can be boring and monotonous, even for pets.

To keep your pet entertained and distracted, consider bringing along their favorite toys and puzzle games. Interactive toys that require problem-solving, such as treat-dispensing balls or puzzles, can be especially helpful in keeping your pet engaged and mentally stimulated. Additionally, consider playing calming music or audiobooks to help soothe your pet during the trip.

These items might also help keep your pet busy if you have an unexpected stay in a hotel.

Expect the unexpected – and be prepared!

A pet emergency kit is an essential item for any road trip with your pet. It will help you ensure that your pet is safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout the trip. By following the tips in this post, you can create a DIY pet emergency kit that has everything you need for a stress-free and enjoyable trip with your furry companion.

As a pet owner, one of the biggest concerns is making sure your dog or cat is safe and secure. While you can't always prevent accidents or mishaps, you can take steps to protect them, like enrolling them in a pet protection service. This service ensures that your pets can be easily identified and returned to you if they ever get lost.

Learn more about 24Petwatch Pet Protection Services


Absolutely. You can pick one up at a pet store or order it online. Since every pet is unique, creating your own DIY emergency kit helps ensure you have everything you need for your dog or cat.

Your DIY pet emergency kit should be in a sealed container to ensure it stays dry.

It's a good idea to update your pet emergency kit every six months. This will ensure that all items are up-to-date and that your pet has everything they need for a safe and comfortable trip.

Look for a carrier or crate that is sturdy, well-ventilated, and the appropriate size for your pet. It should also have a secure latch and be easy to clean.

Contact a local veterinarian or animal hospital immediately. It's a good idea to have a list of emergency vet contacts in the area you're traveling to.

Yes, it's a good idea to have a separate emergency kit for each pet.

If you have a senior or disabled pet, be sure to pack any necessary medications, mobility aids, or other specialized equipment they may need. It's also a good idea to talk to your vet before the trip to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for travel.