How to Create an Emergency Game Plan for Your Pet

We hope you never have to deal with a pet emergency, but just in case you do, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about creating a step-by-step game plan for your furry family members.

Related To:


Beagle dog and brown cat in warm hug on the footpath.

Photo by: © iStockphoto/kobkik

© iStockphoto/kobkik

It can be scary to have to deal with a pet emergency, and we truly hope you never have to. But just in case, it's important to come up with a solid game plan ahead of time in order to make sure you have absolutely everything covered. Here are some ideas about how you can best prepare you and your family.

Document + Microchip



Man and his dog walking in park

Photo by: © iStockphoto/Pekic

© iStockphoto/Pekic

One of the best ways you can protect your dog or cat in case they ever get lost is to get them microchipped. The process of microchipping is actually pretty easy. Your vet uses a needle to place a tiny chip under your pet's skin at their shoulder blades. Each chip has a unique identification number on it, and if your pet should ever get lost, any vet can scan your pet and immediately pull up your contact information.

Another great thing to do is to document your pet's stats and medical records in a handy smartphone app. This is especially important for any pets who might have some health issues. Use an app like Dog Buddy to track your pet's last vet visits, vaccinations, regular medicine schedule, surgeries and more. Having this information readily available means you can easily share it with an emergency vet.

Find the Closest Animal Hospital



Man holding his pug

Photo by: © iStockphoto/Micolino

© iStockphoto/Micolino

Take time to locate the closest animal hospital to your home. That does not simply involve Googling the closest location and stopping there, though. Check with your vet to find out which 24-hour animal hospital they would recommend, and then spend some time on a review site, like Yelp, to ensure that the hospital is up to snuff. Once you find a spot, add it to your phone's contacts and add the address to your car's navigation address book so you can easily pull it up when you need it. While you're at it, make sure your regular vet's phone number is also on your phone and add their address to your car, too.

Get a First-Aid Kit



chihuahua dog as a medical veterinary doctor with stethoscope and first aid kit ,isolated on white background

Photo by: © iStockphoto/MirasWonderland

© iStockphoto/MirasWonderland

Go to your local pet store or order one online, because everyone should have a first-aid kit at home for their pets. We like this one from Amazon which includes gauze, antiseptic and other necessities. To really make sure you're prepared, keep one first-aid kit in your house and one in all of your cars, especially if your pet often travels with you.

Tag Your Pet



A young kitten sits in front of a clean chalkboard.

Photo by: © iStockphoto/FatCamera

© iStockphoto/FatCamera

It's critical that your pet has a tag on their collar that identifies their name, address, your phone number and any information about special medical conditions. No excuses. Every single pet needs one. Head down to your local pet store where you can easily get one printed.

Prepare Your Car



Funny dog closeup

Photo by: © iStockphoto/realPHOTO

© iStockphoto/realPHOTO

In addition to the first-aid kit we suggested, there are a couple of other steps you might need to take to make sure you're prepared in case of an emergency. Dogs can easily slide around in the back seat, so make sure you have a seatbelt or a car sling to ensure that they don't fall. If you have a cat, make sure you have a transport cage on hand. Older dogs might need a bit more help getting into your car, so if you can't lift yours, make sure you have a ramp, stairs or even a pet stretcher available.

Get the Whole Family on Board



Adorable grey cat on pink

Photo by: © iStockphoto/knape

© iStockphoto/knape

All the preparation in the world won't matter if you don't make sure your whole family is involved. Talk about your game plan for dealing with an emergency with everyone in your family so that you're all on the same page. Make sure everyone who has a phone has information about your pet's vet and the closest emergency hospital. Print out information on your pet's medicines and medical condition, and post them in a central spot, like the refrigerator.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Pet-Proof Your Garden

Learn how to keep the peace between your garden and pets with these 9 simple tips.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home

Your home can be beautiful and pet-friendly, too, with these pointers from design experts.

Make a Window Seat With an Integrated Pet Bed

Turn unused space into a window seat with a cozy pet bed tucked in below.

How to Create a Level Lawn

Create a level lawn and prevent future problems with this step-by-step landscaping guide to remove bumps and hollows.

How to Plan a Landscape Design

Learn the four steps to creating a scale plan for your landscaping project.

How to Create a Terrarium

Learn how to create a tabletop terrarium with these simple step-by-step instructions.

How to Create a Wine Barrel and Bottle Fountain

Create a one-of-a-kind focal point for your backyard or patio using a wine barrel or cask and an empty bottle of your favorite vintage.

How to Create A Colorful Glass Tile Backsplash

Create a custom kitchen backsplash with inexpensive glass tiles and marbles. This colorful, geometric design will give your kitchen a bright, fresh look.

How to Create a Light-Up Shadowbox Picture Frame

Showcase your favorite Instagram photos with this remote-controlled light-up shadowbox you can make in less than 10 minutes.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.