Everyone, including your four-legged family members, needs to be prepared in case of emergency. Here’s what you need to prepare to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.
- Develop household emergency-preparedness and evacuation plans. Identify possible threats in your area, and plan accordingly.
- Have your dog microchipped and make sure he’s wearing an up-to-date ID tag.
- Assemble a canine emergency kit and put it near your family’s emergency kit. It should include everything your dog will need for at least 72 hours, including:
- Food in an airtight container
- Collapsible bowls
- Extra harness, collar and leash with ID tags
- Poop bags
- Dog first-aid kit
- Veterinary records, including vaccination certificates
- Emergency contacts
- Comfort items, such as blanket and toys
- A picture of you, your family and your dog
- Put your travel kennel in an easily accessible place. You’ll need it if you have to check your dog into a shelter or drive him anywhere.
- Identify where you and your dog will stay if you need to evacuate. You can contact your local emergency-management office, animal shelter or animal-control office for advice and information about sheltering options. Or, visit one of these sites for pet-friendly hotels in your area:
- Prepare an evacuation card to tack on the outside of your home if you need to evacuate and leave your dogs behind. You can find a free one here, from Wag’n Enterprises.
- Practice, practice, practice! Involve the entire family in the process, even training your dog specific commands to run to the car.
- Enroll in a canine first-aid class through your local Red Cross.
Ines de Pablo, a Washington, D.C.-trained emergency management specialist based in Herndon, Va., says that preparedness will benefit the entire family.
“Respect the fact that it could happen to you,” says de Pablo, who operates Wag’N Enterprises, a pet emergency-management company. “Once you understand that, you can make planning for it fun. You can learn a lot of things about your house, your pets, what they need, what you need and where you should go. “You need to have a plan and you need to include your pets in the plan,” she says.