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National Disaster Preparedness Month: Is Your Dog Ready?

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September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Unfortunately, as we all know, natural and man-made disasters occur each year all across the country.  They can take the form of hurricanes, floods, wild fires, house fires, gas leaks and terrorist events.  Obviously it would be best if we could prevent all of these disasters from occurring, but that’s not possible.  So our next best option is to be thoroughly prepared with necessary items and plans for our family dog.


Disasters have a dramatic impact on our lives as humans, but arguably an even more devastating impact on our pets.  The first step when preparing our disaster plan is to have appropriate ID for our dog.  This should be in the form of ID tags for our dog’s collar and a microchip.  Most veterinarians and animal shelters immediately check for a microchip when they find a lost dog.  Consult with your vet about having your dog chipped.  Another important component to our disaster plan is a clear and updated photo of your dog.  This is an integral component to finding a lost pet.  As soon as your dog goes missing, you want to get their clear and up-to-date picture out to as many people as possible.  This can be through social media, news outlets and local residents and businesses.

An appropriately equipped emergency kit is important to have on hand and ready to take with you and your dog in case you need to exit your home and/or town in an emergency.  Possible items to include are: food and water bowl, collar and leash, pet first aid kit, at least 72 hours’ worth of food, water and medications, correct sized cage and any other items you feel are necessary for your dog.

An information folder containing your dog’s animal hospital’s phone number/address, complete veterinary records (proof of up-to-date vaccinations), and proof of dog ownership should also be packed and ready to go.

It is also advisable for you to have separate housing accommodations in place for your dog.  Not all human emergency facilities allow dogs.  So it is best to have prearrangement with a boarding kennel, pet friendly hotel or a friend/family member’s home.  Note: It’s best if your dog is familiar with the friend or family member you are planning on leaving them with.  Emergency evacuations are stressful for your dog, so by bringing them to a home they are comfortable with will make things much easier for you and your dog.

Make sure to practice your evacuation plan and have all household members on board.  Everyone needs to know what to do in case of an emergency evacuation.  No plan can fully prepare you for all situations; so this is a basic guideline to help get you thinking and preparing for an emergency.  Proper preparation is essential when trying to keep your dog safe in an emergency disaster.

This article was written for The Dogington Post by author and dedicated dog trainer, Steve Reid. Steve is a Certified Dog Trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training, LLC based in Westchester, NY.  Steve’s mission is on “Changing the World for Dogs”.  For more information about S. R. Dog Training, send an e-mail to [email protected], call 914-774-7654 or visit www.srdogtraining.com.

For more training tips, tricks, and advice, become a fan of S.R. Dog Training on Facebook by clicking here.

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  1. Avatar Of Diana Diana says:

    This article is definitely the most useful one I have read this week! I have never really think about this problem and don’t even know how to start doing something for my puppy in those kinds of disaster situations. Nice work!!!!

  2. Avatar Of Landa Landa says:

    I often don’t know what to do whenever disasters are about to come. Your post is quite informative. Of course we couldn’t completely prevent the consequences but we still know how to protect our dogs. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is really useful tips! Now I am able to keep my dogs safe from natural disasters, especially for this month. Actually, I think we can use these methods to protect our pets even in daily life.

  4. Avatar Of David David says:

    This is the most useful post I have ever read. I used to got lots of trouble on preparing things, especially for my dog. Thanks a lot for sharing. I’m sure there are many people out there take advatages of this post.

  5. Avatar Of James W Hall James W Hall says:

    Such a useful post. Honestly, I’m getting more absent minded as I get older.Preparing thoroughly everything would keep my little dogs safe in any disaster. Thanks a lot for sharing, Steve.

  6. Thank you for sharing. It is very necessary to protect our pets from disaster threaten. We can not control almost all kind of disasters, especially natural ones, but at least we can have good prepare to face with them.

  7. Avatar Of J Tyner

    J Tyner


    Every time I read an article about disaster preparedness for your pets, I get a little peeved! ” . . . 3 days worth of supplies”, “72 hours worth of supplies”, etc. That’s a joke! I don’t have a framed license on my wall, but I live in Hurricane alley! From Camille to Katrina, it has proven time and again that a few days worth of supplies doesn’t even come close to covering it!! First, if you evacuate w/your pets, it sometimes takes 2-3 days just to find a place to stay, and having to search for more supplies during that time is adding to the stress for you and your pets! Second, if you stay, which almost all of us do, it might be WEEKS before you are able to find more supplies. Please, STOP telling people that 72 hours worth of supplies is enough!! It’s NOT!! You are just setting people up for disaster and being UN prepared!!

    • Hi J Tyner,

      I understand what you mean, and I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to go through Katrina, Camille or any other storm. You certainly raise a great point that 72hrs. worth of supplies may not be enough in certain situations. You referred to the worst case scenarios, and that certainly changes things when we look to use the exception to prove the rule.

      This article was designed to help dog owners to think about being prepared. It is a general outline in order to help prepare dogs and their owners for more typical disaster situations. Thank you for your input, it is important for owners to be aware of. I hope this article helps owners to think and prepare themselves and their pets for what may arise.

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