Disaster Preparedness for You and Your Dog

When an emergency happens, do you know what to do? Are you ready for the worst-case scenario? There’re many types of emergency situations that occur and most of them happen very quickly, without warning. To effectively handle an emergency, you need to prepare before the danger occurs. In just a few steps, you’ll have a sold plan that includes an evacuation process, a disaster kit, and a separation plan. Not only does your family depend on you to care for them in an emergency, your dog also looks to you for their well-being.

Evacuation Plan

The first step to an evacuation plan focuses on your exit strategy. Map out several pathways to lead your family and your pet out of your home. Practice these exit strategies with your pet, teaching them to keep calm during a real emergency. Afterwards, map out several routes to get you away from the emergency situation and to someone’s house or a hotel where your family’s will be safe. Other key factors of your evacuation plan should include:

  • Find hotels and motels along your planned route that accept pets or make exemptions during an emergency
  • Contact friends or relatives who’ll take in your pet during an emergency
  • Know which shelters take in pets during an emergency
  • Have alternate routes mapped out for when the first route’ s inaccessible

If you have a smaller pet or a pet that you’ll crate during your evacuation, practice getting in and out of the crate often. Again, this teaches your pet to stay calm during a real-life emergency. Keep a list of all the hotels, shelters, relatives, etc that could take in your pet during an emergency, listing each person’s name or title, phone numbers, and their addresses.

Preparing A Disaster Pack

Before an emergency strikes, it’s important to have a disaster pack readily available for yourself and your pet. Once an emergency arises, you can grab your emergency bag and begin your evacuation plan. Place all your items in airtight, waterproof containers to prevent soiling or damage. To begin packing, gather enough food and water to feed your pet for up to 14 days. Be sure to pack a high-quality dog food that provides your pet with essential nutrients. Other important items to pack included:

  • Leash and harness
  • Collar with ID tags
  • Food and water bowls
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Micro chip information
  • Pet carrier
  • Bedding and toys
  • Contact information to family and friends
  • Medications for health conditions
  • Pictures of your pet

Also create and pack boarding instructions for your pet, if you have to board them after you evacuate. These instructions should describe medication dosing, feeding schedule, behavioral problems, and food sensitivities or allergies. As you prepare your emergency bags, you can add any other items you find useful in an emergency situation or things you think you might need.
When You’ve Been Separated From Your Pet
Unfortunately, there may come a time when you and your pet get separated during an emergency. If you’re staying in a shelter that allows pets, notify personnel that you cannot find them. Never leave a safe place to search for your missing pet, until danger has passed. You can use the pictures of your pet to help find your them or contact animal control to see if they’ve scanned your pets micro-chip.

It’s important to include your pet in your emergency plan because they’re defenseless during an emergency. They look to you for care and guidance, especially in these situations. You can begin preparing your emergency kit today. Check out the dog food and other pet supplies available for your pet.