Disasters Happen

There’s no telling what tomorrow will bring. For that matter, even one hour into the future is a mystery to us. We do know, though, that June is the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season; the tornado season is already in full swing; earthquakes, severe weather, fires, floods—it seems there is always some potential disaster “in season.” There’s no getting around it: disasters happen.

But we human beings have the unique capability of imagining the future. Individually and as a species, we analyze our past experiences and use that information to imagine, and even plan for the future. We can, and do, prepare ourselves and our families to survive disasters.

Spring is a good season to review your family’s emergency plan. Remember to include your dog and other pets in your plan, because in a disaster, they face the same dangers as every other member of your family. Advance planning is the key to their safety in an emergency situation.

Here are five tips for emergency planning for your dog.

1. Keep an emergency evacuation kit. The kit for your dog should include food and water for at least 7 days, medications, medical records and the name and phone number of your vet. Don’t forget to include toys, an extra leash, a first aid kit, feeding and water bowls, and a pet carrier.

2. Plan to take your pet with you in case of evacuation. Red Cross evacuation centers are not allowed to accept pets, so you need to prepare for an alternate temporary home for him. Part of planning is to contact hotels and motels in your region to find out which ones will accept pets during a disaster. You can also check shelters and doggie daycare centers for their policies. A friend or family member who is not in the immediate area might agree to keep your dog during an emergency. Find out now and keep contact information with your disaster plan.

3. Make sure your dog is identifiable. Always keep ID tags up-to-date and on your dog’s collar. Because collars can be lost, consider having your dog micro-chipped so that, if you become separated, you have a good chance of being reunited. Be sure to put the dog’s name and your contact information on your his carrier or crate as well.

4. Prepare for the possibility that your dog will be home alone when disaster strikes. It is helpful to give a key to a trusted neighbor who knows your dog and could be counted on to enter your home and evacuate the dog.

5. Get a rescue alert sticker or decal for somewhere on or near your front door. The sticker should indicate how many and what kind pets you have in the house. If you take the pets with you, write “EVACUATED” across the sticker, so that the rescuers know they can move on. You can get a free sticker from the ASPCA. Click here to get your free pet safety pack or buy one at your local pet store.

Have you been through a disaster with your pet? Please share your advice with us.

Featured Photo: “Sad” by Long Quan Pham Tuong is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image is cropped.

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