Tuesday’s Top Ten: Ways to Prepare Your Dog for a Natural Disaster

April 21, 2009 · Print This Article

dorothyWe are getting into storm season here in the Midwest.  Have you ever given any thought to what you would do with your dog if you had to evacuate your home due to flooding, a tornado, or some other natural disaster?  One of the other hats I wear (besides blogger extraordinaire) is Red Cross volunteer.  One of our campaigns for this year is to encourage people to be “Red Cross Ready,” and for those of us with pets, it means having our pets ready, too!

Here is the Red Cross list of how to prepare your pet for an emergency, whether you are sheltering “in place” (in your own home, but possibly without electricity, water, or heat) or whether you are evacuated to an alternate location.

10.  Make a plan ahead of time for where you will place your pet.  Red Cross shelters (and I would assume any other public shelters) are not permitted to take pets except those required for assistance.  Don’t wait until a disaster strikes before you come up with a relative or friend who lives in an area different than you do, who would be willing to take your dog.

9.  If you don’t know anyone who could take your dog, contact hotels in nearby counties or cities to see if they are pet-friendly, or even if they would waive their normal pet restrictions in the event of a disaster.

8.  Alternatively, ask pet shelters, veterinarians, and boarding facilities if they will accept more animals than usual during an emergency.

7.  Put together a pet disaster kit in a plastic tub with a cover or in a duffel bag.  (Incidentally, you should have one of these for each member of the family, as well.)  Store the kit in a place that will be easily accessible in the event of an emergency.  Include the following six items in your dog’s kit.

6.  Enough water for at least 3 days.  The Red Cross recommends that you plan on being self-sufficient for at least the first 3 days after a disaster.  It takes at least that long for shelters to be opened and staffed and for supplies to be trucked in after any large-scale disaster.

5. Food and dishes.  Check to see if the food has an expiration date.  If it does, keep the food in the emergency kit until about a month before it expires, then put a new bag in the kit and serve the nearly-expired food.  Again, plan on having at least enough food for 3 days.  If you use canned food, don’t forget a manual can opener in case you don’t have power.

4.  Your pet’s medications (at least a 3-day supply) and a copy of pertinent medical records.  Store these in a water-tight container such as a zipper bag.

3.  A sturdy leash or harness.  Keep in mind that a natural disaster will also be unsettling to your dog.  Make sure he is securely under your control when you leave the area.  He may lose many of his normal scent markers in a flood or other disaster and not be able to find his way home.  (If you also have a cat, be sure to keep a carrier handy – you can use it to store your emergency supplies in.)

2.  Photos of your pets in case they get lost.  You may not be able to get back into your home to retrieve your other pictures from your hard drive or fireplace mantle.

1.  Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.

Here’s hoping you never need your kit!

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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