Summer weather in the United States doesn't just bring warm temperatures and long days; it also brings a high threat for severe weather.  Millions of people have already experienced tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, wildfires, and other natural disasters and weather events.  Many families and households have plans in place in case there is a severe weather event threatening their home.  They have all of their important documents in one place so that they can easily grab them, are always stocked with water, and have a first aid kit ready for use.  When many people make plans for an emergency they consider their property and their immediate family members, but there's one member of the family that always seems to get left out: their pets.
 
If you're a pet owner it's essential for you to have a plan in place to make sure that you have everything your pet could need in case of an emergency.  The Red Cross has a great page that has in-depth information about preparing your pet for an emergency.  When you're planning your emergency kit, be sure to have these essential supplies ready.
 
Water
 
During an emergency having access to fresh water is important.  When you go to stock up on emergency supplies for your family, make sure that you pack enough water for your pet.  The more you can store for your family the better, but when you're planning your supplies make sure that you have at least a week's worth of water for every member of your family.
 
First Aid Kit
 
You may have a first aid kit for your family, but your pet needs its own kit as much as the rest of your family does.  Don't use your human first aid kit for your pet, there are some medications and substances humans use to treat medical problems that can be harmful to your pet.  The Humane Society has a comprehensive list of essential and helpful veterinary supplies to have in your animal's first aid kit.  Be sure to include important medical paper work (vaccination status, proof of rabies treatments), contact information for your vet, and a current photo of your pet in case they get separated from you.  In fact while we're on this topic, let's move on to…
 
Proof of Ownership
 
If your family needs to evacuate to a shelter your pets may have to be taken to a different shelter or may need to be boarded. It isn't uncommon for papers to get lost during an emergency, and you want to make sure that you have proof that your pet is yours in case the boarder or shelter loses your initial sign-in papers.  Carry their adoption papers and a few recent pictures in an air-tight and waterproof container so that you can easily prove that you are your pet's owner.
 
Creature Comforts
If you need to evacuate your home your pet probably feels as nervous and scared about the situation as you do!  To make the whole situation a bit easier for your pet, make sure you pack a few of their favorite things when you head out.  A familiar pet bed, a beloved toy, and a soft blanket can make being enclosed in their carrier a little more bearable for them.