We are everything to our dogs. They look to us for love and guidance. We are their whole world. A dog’s love is unconditional, a dog would never abandon us. So, why do some people leave their dogs behind during a natural disaster? Is it because they are in panic mode and aren’t thinking about their dog’s safety? To avoid this scenario, take the time to include your dog in a natural disaster plan.
Natural disasters come in many forms: blizzards, earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornados. Each disaster requires a different measure of preparedness, but every disaster includes keeping your dogs safe and secure. Find out what disaster laws your state has for pets.
Rescue Alert Sticker
The ASPCA has a free rescue alert sticker that you can order online. They recommend putting this sticker near your front door, where it’s visibly apparent to rescue workers. On the sticker write down the number of pets you have, and the type of pets. Include your vet’s name and number.
Every disaster plan includes an emergency kit, not just for you but for your pet as well. These kits are important for evacuation and shelter in place emergencies. Here are some important items to include in your kit.
You read this right. In case you become separated from your dog include a recent picture (physical copy) of your pup. This will come in handy if you need to make lost posters.
Food, Medication, & Water
It is advisable to store at least seven days of emergency food and water for your pets. If you use canned food, keep a manual can opener in your kit. Be sure to rotate food and water every two months and don’t forget to include food and water bowls.
Store a two weeks supply of your pet’s medication in a waterproof container. Remember the medication needs to be rotated out of your emergency kit, otherwise they may go bad. Keep a cooler and ice pack handy for meds that require refrigeration. You may want to consider including some calming CBD oil or anxiety meds for your dog.
Equip your kit with a list of vet records, medications, dosages, and medication instructions. Include a list of behavioral or medical concerns and an emergency contact list. This way emergency personnel will know how to care for your dog, if you are unable to.
A Place Your Dog Can Relieve Himself
This is often overlooked in emergency situations. Keep potty pads and trash bags in your kit. If you are sheltering in place, designate a safe spot for your pup to relieve himself if going outside is not an option. This area should not be near windows or debris.
Leashes, Harnesses and Carriers
Keep your pets safe and secure. Include an id tag, leashes, and harnesses in your disaster plan kit. Dogs can become frightened and slip out of their safety gear, so include some extra leashes, collars, and harnesses.
Make sure you have a transport carrier for your dog. Practice crate training. If he becomes comfortable in his carrier, securing him in a disaster may be less stressful on your dog.
Blankets and Toys
Other items to store in your emergency kit is a blanket and some of his favorite toys. These items could help your dog relieve some stress.
First Aid Kit
In the event your dog becomes injured having a first aid kit is essential. Click here for a list of items to include in your first aid kit.
Is your dog prepared to evacuate your home? Most emergency kennels won’t allow your pet in their facilities unless they have proof vaccinations are up to date. It’s also equally important to have your dog micro-chipped in case he becomes separated from you.
In case you must evacuate your home, take your pets with you. If your home is not safe for you, it’s not safe for your dog.
Most Red Cross shelters do not accept pets because of health and safety issues. They do however accept service animals that assist people with disabilities.
Call animal shelters ahead of time and ask if they provide emergency shelter.
Discover which hotels out of your immediate area accepts dogs.
Contact your vet for a list of emergency boarding.
Ask family and friends (outside of your area) if they would be willing to take your dog in.
Other Things to Consider
Keep your disaster kit in an accessible area and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is.
Practice your disaster plan often.
If you think your dog may need to be muzzled during an emergency, practice putting it on with positive reinforcement.
Basic obedience commands will help to ensure your dog’s safety. Make sure your dog knows his commands and will listen to you during an emergency.
Do you have a disaster plan in place? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.