September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. As we all know, natural and manmade disasters are unfortunate inevitabilities that occur each year. These could be: hurricanes, floods, wild fires, house fires, gas leaks and terrorist events. We all wish we could prevent these disasters in the first place, but that’s not a possibility. Our next best choice is to be fully prepared with necessary items and plans for our dog. Disasters dramatically impact on our lives as humans, but maybe even moreso for our pets who cannot fully understand what’s happening.
- Have appropriate ID for your dog. This should be in the form of ID tags the dog’s collar and a microchip. Veterinarians and animal shelters immediately check for a microchip when they find a lost dog.
- An often overlooked step is to have a clear and updated photo of your dog. This is essential for finding a lost pet. As soon as your dog goes missing, get their clear and up-to-date picture out to as many people as possible - through social media, news outlets and local residents and businesses.
- A dully equipped emergency kit should be 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: 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.
- Information folder containing: Vet’s phone number/address, complete medical records (proof of up-to-date vaccinations), and proof of dog ownership should be on hand and ready to go.
- Prepare with separate housing accommodations for your dog. Not all human emergency facilities allow dogs. That’s why we need to have prearrangements with a boarding kennel, pet friendly hotel or a friend/family member’s home. Tip: It’s ideal if your dog knows the friend/family member you are planning on leaving them with. Emergency evacuations are stressful for your dog, so bringing them to a home they are comfortable makes everything easier for you and your dog.
As with any emergency plan, it’s essential you practice prior to an emergency and have all household members on board. Everyone must know what to do in case of an emergency evacuation. Preparation is critical when trying to keep your dog safe in an emergency disaster, use this as your opportunity to prepare
Steve Reid is a Professional Dog Trainer and Owner of S.R. Dog Training. S.R. Dog Training provides in-home dog training in Westchester NY, Putnam NY, and CT. For more info please visit: www.SRDogTraining.com