Natural disasters are an unfortunate part of life. Hurricanes in the Southeast, wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, everyone has their own local threats to manage. In order to come out ahead of nature’s worst, preparing ahead of time is critical. Lucky for us, resources are available across the web to prepare for not only our family but also our pets and animals. Ready.gov (through the Department of Homeland Security) is working to raise awareness by recognizing September as National Preparedness Month. As you prepare for your family, be sure to include your pets in the plan (resources from Ready.gov). These tips will help you prep for an emergency, natural disaster, or any situation where you may need to quickly leave with your dog or cat.
Have a Plan
All families that live in areas where natural disasters are prevalent have some kind of plan. This could be an evacuation plan or prepping the home with hurricane shutters and sandbagging the outside of the home. What is very important is to have a plan for your dog as well. You might be able to wade through waters in the home but this could be impossible for your dog especially if they are a small breed. Your dog is a part of the family as well so keep their well-being in mind when establishing any type of emergency plan.
Emergency prep for dogs and all animals is important as they rely on us for their safety and survival. Take the time to sit down and access whether you have a plan for emergencies as a family with your dog included!
Understand Your Dog
Understanding what your dog is capable of is important when prepping for a natural disaster. A small dog can be put into a carrier and taken anywhere but a larger dog might have different issues with transport. If you have an elderly dog please evacuate when warned as your dog might not have the energy or physical capability to wade in waters or sprint through a wildfire. Understand your dog and their abilities when prepping them for an emergency.
Build a Kit
In addition to emergency supplies for your family, everyone should put together a basic kit for your pets. Key items to consider include food, water, and important medicines and medical records. Try to prepare for at least 3 days away from your home and help. The next items to consider include any applicable pet carriers, collars, harnesses, ID tags, or first aid kit. Finally, an emergency situation can be stressful for not only people but also pets. If there are any small comfort items (treats, toys, blankets, etc.), consider adding them to your emergency kit as well.
They Can Help Carry Items
There are working breeds that can be quite useful during an emergency evacuation. A backpack or other tactical dog gear can allow the dog to haul items that the entire family needs. Dogs can also sense when something is awry so larger dogs can deter looters or those trying to hurt your family. Do not overload your dog but as part of the family, they can do work during an emergency as well to at least carry some of their own supplies. Finally, a well-trained dog can also be put on child duty ensuring the safety of any young children.