Including Your Dog in Disaster Readiness Plans

Emergencies come about almost year-round, sometimes causing devastation to people and their much-loved pets. Many of us think, “It’ll never happen to me,” and neglect to prepare in advance.

Because emergencies, like natural disasters, fires, and other unforeseen events can happen to anyone, preparation is important. By making some general disaster readiness plans ahead of time, you stand a better chance of saving your pet’s life if disaster strikes.

Survival Tips

1. Identification. Make sure that your pooch is wearing his current ID all the time. Microchip your pet and always keep an ID tag on his collar.

2. Evacuation. If there’s a need for you to evacuate your home, plan to take your dog(s) with you. Never leave your pet behind in chains or in a cage. Whenever possible, evacuate even before it is mandatory. This way, you’ll have extra time to find a safe place where animals are allowed. If you are not called to evacuate, make a plan to gather in the most secure area of your house. Have your pooch in a kennel or on a leash until it is safe to start roaming around.

3. Shelter. As soon as you have evacuated, you have to decide where to go with your pet. Because emergency shelters generally do not permit dogs inside unless they are service animals, you may need to spend some time contacting hotels and inquire about their pet policies in time of emergency. Secure a list of veterinary clinics and some boarding facilities in the surrounding areas just in case your pup is not allowed to stay with you.

4. When you’re out. Be prepared for emergency situations that may happen when you are not at home and cannot assist your pet. Put a sticker or any sign outdoors that tell the total number of pets you have, their types, and where you or your vet can be reached. These markers will help rescuers to locate and attend to your dog/s in case of emergency.

5. Disaster kits. Keep a disaster kit for you and your pooch in an accessible area. The implements shall include a minimum of one week bottled water supply, food, and medication. It shall also contain leashes, a kennel or crate, vet records for each pet, first aid supplies, family and vet contact information, current photos of your pooch, dog beds, toys, flashlights, towels, blankets, and other personal and pet items you believe you might need.

No one has ever been faulted for being prepared for an emergency ahead of time. At the least, you’ll take comfort knowing that you’re prepared. At most, you could save the life of your precious pets.

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