National Preparedness Month: How to Prep for Your Pup

As the first day of September approaches, so does the start of National Preparedness Month, which encourages us to be prepared for disasters or emergencies at home and in our communities. These situations fall into one of two categories: Evacuation, meaning leave your home and community; or Stay-in-Place, meaning take cover where you are and wait for an all clear. Often these situations come with little warning, so preparation is key to ensuring the safety and security of loved ones, including your pet.

Pet First Aid Kit

  • Just like you have a first aid kit for humans in your home, you should have one handy for the pups in your life. Even if you already have a pet first aid kit prepped, it's always a good idea to make sure that the supplies haven't expired or run out. Here are the most essential items to remember when stocking your pet first aid kit.
  • In addition, having a pre-packed “go bag” for your pet can be crucial during an emergency; here are the most essential items to remember:
    • Vaccination documents – These are crucial to ensuring that your pet will be able to stay at a shelter or hotel in case of evacuation.
    • Bottled water – NEVER allow Fido to drink tap water immediately after a storm, as it could be abundant with chemicals and bacteria; be sure to pack plenty of purified / bottled water to keep him hydrated.
    • Food – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of food (and if you use canned food, don’t forget a can opener).
    • Medication – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of medication.
    • Toys/BlanketsComfort items like a chew toy and a familiar blanket can keep your pet calm during an emergency, and therefore less likely to act erratically/run off.
    • Leash/Collar & Tags – For your pet’s safety, always have a leash and collar on-hand with your pet’s identification tags.

Make Sure Vaccinations are Up to Date

  • Now is a good time to check important documents pertaining to vaccinations or medications for your pet. Ensure their vaccinations (including Bordetella) are up to date so you don’t have any issues should you need to board your pet in a safe place in the event of a natural disaster or if an accident occurred at the house such as a fire and it is not safe to stay there for the time being.

Microchip Your Pet or Update Microchip Information(if needed)

  • Even when you first get your pet, getting a microchip could be the difference between keeping him/her safe and making them a stray. Microchips allow for veterinarians to scan lost animals to determine their identity so that they are safely returned home. It is important to ensure that your microchip is registered and up to date so if your pet is lost, the correct information is accessible to whoever recovers your pet.

Identifying Information

  • If your pet is lost or runs away during an emergency, bring and be able to provide information that will help others find him/her like recent photos, behavioral characteristics or traits. These can help others identify your pet and return them safely to you.

Rescue Alert Sticker

  • Put a rescue alert sticker on your home to let people know there are pets inside your home. Should an accident happen at the home, such as a fire or natural disaster, this will help front line workers know that are pets in your home and identify how many.

Ensure your Stay-in-Place Area is Dog-Friendly

  • If a natural disaster or emergency strikes that requires you to hunker down at home, be sure your safe place includes a space for your dog. Keep your dog leashed in this space so he can’t wander to a more dangerous location.

Have a Safe Haven

  • If you are away or cannot get to your pet when disaster strikes, find a local dog day care, friend or pet sitter that can reach your pet. You never want to leave a pet behind in an emergency as they often cannot protect themselves or may end up getting lost. Try and make plans ahead of time to evacuate to somewhere like a pet-friendly hotel or a friend or family’s home that is out of the affected area.

Make Fido Feel at Home

  • Like humans, pets become stressed when their safety is at risk. Whether you are waiting out a storm and relocating to a different area, be sure to bring their favorite toys and a comfortable bed or cage for proper security. If your pet is prone to anxiety, stress-relieving products, like a dog anxiety vest or natural stress-relieving medication/spray can help ease them in times of emergency.

Ease Pets Back Home

  • Don’t allow Fido to run back into your home or even through your neighborhood once you and your family have returned. Your once familiar home could be disheveled and/or changed, and this can potentially disorient and stress your pet. Keep your pet on a leash and safely ease him/her back home. Check your home first for hazards that could impact your pup before allowing him to re-enter. Make sure they are not eating or picking up anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as downed wires or contaminated water.