Disasters come in many types from hurricanes and floods, to mudslides and wildfires, and yet, no matter how hard you may think it is to cope with them, it’s even harder on “man’s (and women’s) best friend”.
Today I will be touching on just a few important things to best prepare your dogs (and other pets) so that they don’t end up out in the cold and wet instead of literally “high and dry”.
To properly prepare your dog for a disaster reqires two basic steps:
(1) Major things to accomplish before a Disaster strikess, and
(2) The Follow-up After a Disaster strikes
The good news is that if you accomplish Step 1 correctly, Step 2 will be a “breeze” even with gale force winds outside.
Not that you won’t be tempted to run around like a chicken with its head cut off moaning the “sky is falling,” which depending on the type of disaster, that may actually be the case.
With the proper preparation, like what you’ll find below, you still will be able to relax with the knowledge that no matter what happens, all will be well.
So Let’s Get Ready –
The following is a list of both items you’ll need to gather and tasks you’ll need to do long before your particular “sky” starts to fall.
A CURRENT PRINTOUT
You will first need to gather a list of your dog’s medical records showing all current shots, medical history, etc.
This is because during a disaster while it is highly likely that places like hotels and shelters which will allow you to bring your dog with you they will ONLY do so if you can prove that your dog’s medical records are up to date.
IMPORTANT – Make sure it IS A PRINTOUT since there will be no guarantee of cell phone service, computer access, or even electricity.
A VET IMPLANTED MICROCHIP
It is amazing how many dogs are rescued safe and sound after a disaster only to find that there’s no way to find their owner.
This is the reason why you should have your vet implant a microchip under your dog’s skin which contains all of its vital information to quickly identify who the dog is and, more importantly, who he belongs to.
IMPORTANT – Also, don’t forget that a microchip does not work like a GPS and is virtually useless if not registered. A good place to do just that is www.FoundAnimals.org. After all, what good is it to implant the micro-chip if it contains no identifying information.
Dog Carrier or Crate
A crate or a carrier is good and the proper choice depends on the size of your dog. The container has to be big enough for your dog to stand up in and turn around but, understandably, not too big.
Think of the carrier as a “mobile dog house”. Stock it with a few of his favorite things guaranteeing him at least a bit of space he can call his own.
Be sure it has a securely closing door or closure that not only keeps your dog safely inside, but also deters strange and unwanted hands from getting nipped by your startled pet.
IMPORTANT – Make sure that you take sufficient time before hand to properly acclimate your dog to its crate or carrier so that it gets used to it, thereby lessening the chances of additional “disasters” happening during a time where the natural disaster is more than enough.
First Aid Kit
“It’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it”. This is one of those items that fits perfectly inside that quote.
No one wants a loved one to get hurt, two-legged or four-legged withstanding. However, some dogs can have almost as many medical problems as people. It is for this reason that it’s good to have a First Aid Kit, which you can pick up online.
This First Aid Kit is stocked with items specifically designed to meet the emergency needs of your dog, especially when getting to your vet quickly may not be an option.
We do have an article on what you need in your pet first aid kit.
IMPORTANT – If your dog tends to be a bit “high strung” around a lot of people, you may also ask your vet if it would be a good idea to add a mild sedative to the kit, specifically formulated with your dog’s physique in mind, just in case the disaster crowd becomes too stimulating for him.
While the informtion above is far from being all inclusive it does cover a majority of the important things needed, but check out the items below for any extra items you may find necessary but overlooked:
- Muzzle (trust me, having one can save you a ton of trouble)
- Clothing with your scent on it (think of it as your dog’s blankie)
- Extra leash and harness (with fully filled out tags attached)
- Dog bedding
- Favorite Toys
- Portable dog dishes
- Current picture of dog (you should be in picture, too)
- Food and water for about 2 weeks (don’t forget the can opener if you used canned food)
- Backpack (big enough to hold all items)
- Whatever else seems important to your dog
- Don’t forget to Pack your Printout Paperwork as well.
A Final Thought – Don’t forget to call around to your local disaster shelters, hotels, and motels before hand and ask them what is their policy about dogs during disasters and emergencies so there is no last minute surprises as to where your entire family will go to wait out the storm.
Once all of this is accomplished you will be amazed at the peace of mind you feel knowing that, in times of disaster, no family member will be left behind.
Have you been through a disaster with your pet? I’d love to hear your experience and how you handled it in the comments below.
Wednesday 10th of April 2019
wat about cats
what about cats
Wednesday 10th of April 2019
Well a lot of the same things would apply for cats too but since this is a dog site, I wrote the post geared towards dogs. Here is a good article though for cats: https://www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-care/disaster-preparedness-cats/