ruby-schmank-783781-unsplashWe have been hearing of hurricanes in the Tropical Storm pattern this year (Florence is looming large off the Carolina coast), but floods, tornadoes and fires can happen any time. This month is also National Disaster Preparedness Month. There is no better time than now to think about what reaction you would have if an emergency is occurring and you only have minutes to leave your home.

The question is “What are you prepared to take with you?” People often think of their family (yes, first!), then documents, treasures and pictures. Often, what gets forgotten are the pets needs – special foods, medications, grooming brushes and toys. This article from our friends at the AKC gives you a quick rundown on what to gather in a kit for a dog (but for cats as well!) to be prepared on an instant’s notice:

Floods, storms, wildfires — you can’t prevent extreme weather or disastrous events, but you can take charge of how you respond. These emergency preparedness tips will help keep you and your dog out of harm’s way.

Pack a Pet-Friendly Disaster Bag

Having all of your ducks in a row before the unexpected happens is the best strategy. A grab and go bag, which includes your dog’s essential, will ensure you’re ready for an emergency evacuation. Here’s a breakdown:

Create an emergency binder

It should include:

  • Current photo of you and dog in case of separation.
  • Physical and behavioral description of your pet. Add details that genuinely depict your dog including breed, age, sex, color, and personality traits.
  • Medical records and list of medications. FYI, if you need to board your dog, most kennels require proof of vaccinations.
  • Important papers that establish identity and ownership. Think dog licenses, registration certificates, microchip numbers, and adoption papers.

Essential pet supplies for survival and comfort

Pack a suitcase or large tote bag with the following:

  • Water and food for at least three days.
  • Dog bowls.
  • Pet first aid kit – don’t forget medications.
  • Pet grooming kit – think nail clippers and brush.
  • Collapsible kennel or pet carrier.
  • Blankets and towels.
  • Extra collar with current dog tags.
  • Extra leash.
  • Toys and treats for comfort.
  • Poop bags.

What to Do When Disaster Is Pending

Below is a four-step plan for you and your pet:

  • Keep your pet inside so you won’t have to search for him later.
  • Make sure your dog’s collar is secure, and his tags are up-to-date.
  • Keep your disaster bag within easy reach so you can make a quick exit.
  • Call emergency shelters and hotels to confirm which ones will accommodate both you and your pet.

When to Evacuate

You’ll know it’s time to leave when local officials recommend evacuation.

  • Remember, the safest place for your pet is with you. Extreme conditions can create dangerous conditions for people and animals making it impossible to go back home for days, weeks, or months.
  • Evacuations are super stressful. While it’s easier said than done, staying calm in a crisis will help to relieve fear and stress for both you and your dog.

What to Do If Your Pet Gets Lost?

Yes, it’s every dog owner’s nightmare. Here’s what to do before your pet roams too far.

  • Start searching immediately. First, pinpoint where your dog was last spotted. Then start combing the area within a two-mile radius.
  • Enlist your neighbors and friends. Share the best ways to lure your dog using toys, treats, or commands.
  • Reach out to your microchip registry service and confirm your contact information is up to date. Good to know: Microchipped pets have a dramatically improved chance of returning home.
  • Report that your dog is missing. Contact your local police department, animal shelter, and humane society. Provide them with your pet’s photo and a detailed written description.
  • Tap the powers of social media. Post your dog’s photo with a detailed alert on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Expand your reach using relevant hashtags. Suggestions include: #lostdog #missingdog #missingpet.
  • Make lost pet posters and distribute them around your neighborhood. Include your contact information and dog’s photo. Don’t forget to mention specific details about your creature including unique markings and behavioral traits.

One of the best things you can do is have your pet microchipped. This can make a big difference in people being able to find you when they find your lost dog or cat. Make sure you keep your registry information up to date (have you moved? did you get a new phone?).

Put all of these items in a designated “disaster preparedness” place in your house or garage. Visit it frequently enough to make sure that food and medications are not out of date. Adding a big sticky note with a list of what is in your kit is helpful, so you can see at a glance what you put in there. When you are in panic mode, you are not going to be thinking of the little details.

FCVC vets are happy to answer questions you may have about the preparations you need to make for your pets needs in advance of a disaster. Give us a call at 970-587-5140.

You may also be interested in reading about Lost Dog! Oh, no! But Wait, Is He Microchipped? and Preparing Your Pooch For Winter Weather

Attribution – From our friends at AKC
Photo – ruby-schmank-783781-unsplash