08/28/2014 04:57 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2014

People and Other Animals: Pets and the Next Earthquake

Last weekend's Napa earthquake left many of us promising, again, to now finally get together that personal disaster preparedness kit. Those of us who continue to find the upsides of Bay Area life outweigh the negatives (housing cost and quakes high on that list) are routinely reminded that a major seismic event is not only inevitable, but that there's a reasonable chance we might need to survive on our own for several days without running water and access to Trader Joe's. The usual recommendation is 3-5 days of water and food, along with a long list of other supplies.

For most of us, once the most recent trembler begins to fade into memory's it's hard to make the commitment to gather that all up. It's like writing a will, the sort of thing you just don't want to face.

But if we're not preparing for what's probably inevitable, we're likely not preparing to take care of our companion animals in the time of a disaster. And that is just irresponsible.

So face it, you've got to do it, and here's what you need to consider.

Dogs and cats need fresh drinking water, they need food, and let's plan for 3-5 days. Filtered water in plastic bottles may not be great for the environment, but this is an easy way to set water aside: plan a half-gallon to a gallon per day per dog, a quart per day per cat. It should be easy to figure out a day's worth of dry food and store that in a water-tight container.

And mark your calendar or tell Seri to let you know every 90 days, and then use up that stored food and replace with fresh. Even for dogs who are never in a carrier, you want a carrier for each one of your pets. That empty carrier, by the way, is a good place to store the supplies. Toss a spare leash in there as well. Disposable, write-on temporary id tags may come in handy, but make sure your pets' more permanent id tags are current and keep a hard copy of a current photo (in the awful off-chance you may need to create a lost poster). Add a pet first aid kit, available where pet supplies are sold, along with a supply of any meds you're friend is taking, and you're set.

Nothing is truly comforting when thinking about a major traumatic event, but being prepared is about as good as it gets.