Disasters often strike when you least suspect them and have little time to prepare. That is why it is good to have a disaster plan in place for your home and family that includes making provisions for your dog. If you live in an area that gets hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes, you probably have some idea of what you will do if you need to evacuate or if you lose power and services. But what will you do with your dog?
Many evacuation centers will not accept dogs and the ones that do usually require advanced registration. You don’t want to have a hurricane bearing down on you and have no where for your dog to ride it out in safety. Above all else, never go off and leave your pets alone. If it isn’t safe for you to be in your home, it isn’t safe for your pets to be there either.
The smart thing to do is make plans in advance so your dog has a spot reserved in a shelter or evacuation center. In addition to having a place to go, you should have supplies ready to grab and take with you. Make an emergency supply kit for your dog that includes a few days’ supply of food, water, bowls, copies of important papers, a few toys, and an extra leash. If you have everything together in a tote or duffel bag, all you have to do is grab it when an emergency strikes and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
It is also a good idea to have a blanket and travel crate. You can store all of your supplies inside it if your dog doesn’t use the crate on a daily basis. This will help keep your dog under control at a time when everyone may be panicked. You don’t want your dog to get scared and bolt. You may even want to consider buying a halter rather than a collar so your dog is less likely to get away.
You will probably pack a first aid kit for your family, but don’t forget about supplies for your dog as well. Ask your doctor for advice on how to treat your dog if he is injured in a disaster and what supplies you should have on hand. Be prepared to live off of your emergency supplies and be totally self sufficient for at least seven days.
Don’t forget that disaster can strike your home in the form of fire and that could spell disaster for pets that are home alone. You can get stickers for your home windows that let fire rescue workers know that pets are inside in need of rescue.
Hopefully, you and your dog will never be involved in a disaster but it is always best to be prepared and not need it, rather than to be in need of supplies and shelter and have nowhere to turn. The time to plan for your dog’s safety and well being is before there is any threat underway.