With all of the different environmental and man-made disasters you hear about on the news every single day, it is only natural for you to worry about the welfare of your family. If you want to come up with an emergency plan and have a dog, you need to incorporate him or her into it, to make sure all of your family members, including the ones with tails, get access to safety as soon as possible when disaster strikes.
Planning with your dog
Just as you would do for the rest of your family, your dog needs to be a part of your emergency plan, whether it is about evacuation, or creating a safe space in your home, and staying there until the problem is averted.
If you aren’t prepared, disaster will always hit you harder than it hits anyone else. With modern technology and services, you can easily look up the risks in your hometown or state, look up sample rescue and emergency plans on the internet or other resources, and make tweaks in the plan according to your needs.
However, if you aren’t prepared, things could go very wrong. As we all know, being informed also gives you confidence and self-esteem. When you’re sure you have a plan to get everything under control, you are less likely to lose your calm and control of the situation, and more likely to waste time panicking and not being sure what you should do.
Important things to consider
No one knows your pet better than you do. So always consider his or her behaviors, fears, and personality and factor that into your disaster safety plan. For example, for very timid dogs, you have to remember to look in places where he or she may normally hide. Also:
- Make sure your pet has an ID tag on a collar.
- Microchip your dog as soon as possible, and always update your contact info, such as with a change of address or a change of number.
- Keep carriers nearby and accessible, and tag them with your information as well.
- Not all hotels are pet-friendly, so consider that before you book a safe house.
- Give one person the responsibility to get the dog.
- However, other people should always check if all the dog supplies are present and the dog is secure and safe.
- Always be aware of the nearby vets and boarding facilities that will operate in emergency situations.
- Maintain regular and in-depth vaccinations and medical records.
Practice makes perfect
Don’t wait until the last minute to get to the implementation of your plan. You and your pet should already be in tune so that everything goes smoothly. Your dog should be already familiar with the process of getting into and out of the leash, along with being familiar with the crate or carrier you are going to hold them in.
When you have a pet on you, you also have limited options on where you can stay in terms of safe houses and hotels. Always look for hotels and houses that are ready to accept dogs as well as humans. If not, you can also consider boarding facilities.
Emergency kits for your dog
It’ll be helpful to put together an emergency kit for your dog, with recommendations from your dog’s vet. It’s a good idea for this to contain:
- Dry food kept in airtight containers that can last you pet about half a month.
- Clean water to last at least one week in storage.
- Bowls for your dog’s food and for the water.
- Any continuing medication that your dog is regularly being treated with.
- Updated medical records and vaccination book.
- Recent pictures of your dog in which he or she is easily identifiable.
- A carrier that is big enough to carry your dog. If you have more than one dog, you should one for each.
- Bring along toys and items that help keep the dog happy and calm.
- Always bring an extra blanket or two, as well as your dog’s harness and leash, along with another spare pair.
Please consider the following when making an emergency kit. Include all the necessary things needed by your dog every day, as well items to keep him or her safe.
When you are handling your dogs at home, you always consider their safety, but also your safety. In stressful conditions, your pet may act out and accidentally scratch or bite you. This is why your kit should also include an emergency first aid kit for you and your pet.
Additionally, there are some diseases that can pass from animals to humans. Although these are rare, you should consider taking special precautions to avoid these diseases and their transmission. When setting up a kit, always include gloves and plastic bags.
These are useful for the safe removal of your dog’s stool during the evacuation or when you are in the safe space. Additionally, always keep your dogs’ vaccinations on schedule, so you have another layer of protection. This will also help to ensure that your dog is safe and healthy as well, as they will undoubtedly be exposed to new diseases as you move around.
Behavior after evacuation
After you evacuate and move to a temporary safe house, it is safe to conclude that your dog will probably be distressed and unhappy. Animals need safety and security, and an upheaval like this will surely affect them. Make sure to give your dog love and care at this time. Slowly but surely, he or she will go back to the usual cheery self.
No one ever wants to leave their dog behind at a moment of crisis, but sometimes, things happen. You could think you have your dog under control, but he or she may run off unexpectedly because of fear. Not only is this terrifying, this can also be an added stressor on an already disastrous event. However, some rescue services can be of help.
If you had to leave your dog behind in an emergency, or you couldn’t find him or her in the aftermath of an emergency, you will have to go talk to emergency services. Hopefully, they can send a rescue team to retrieve your dog.
If you are leaving your dog at home, always make sure to leave them enough food and water to keep them safe. Even though this is not a recommended scenario, you can at least also place a rescue sticker at the door. This way, when rescuers come to the evacuated home, they will know immediately that an animal inside needs help.
So you went, left in an emergency, and lost your dog in the process. Looking for your dog will be a long process, but you can start by looking for him or her in shelters. A lot of times after disasters, shelters take in a lot of strays and dogs in need. Be careful though, some shelters have policies as a result of which they put dogs down after some time if they are not claimed, so please hurry up and start looking for the dog as soon as it is safe to do so.