Disaster Preparedness: Are You Ready?
June is Pet Preparedness Month, and it’s a great reminder to plan for an emergency or evacuation. Hopefully, you have an emergency kit, or Go Bag, with first aid supplies, water and other survival necessities for yourself. But do you have a plan for your pet(s)? Do you have a place to go? Before wildfire season starts and in the event of an earthquake or other emergency, plan ahead so that you and your dog can escape safely, even if you’re not home.
Build an Emergency Kit
In California, it is always a good idea to keep a fresh emergency kit ready to go. You’ll want to stock it with a first aid kit, flashlight, multi-tool, water, snacks, warmer clothes, important documents, backup chargers… you get the idea. But don’t forget supplies for Fido! A basic animal emergency pack might include:
- Animal First Aid Kit
- Portable water bowl & water
- Dog food for 7 days
- Any medication
- Doggie bags (or kitty litter and trays)
- Leash or harness
- Any documents: rabies certificate, medical records, prescriptions
- Photo of your dog(s)
- Blanket / clothing
- Don’t forget toys!
Store your emergency kit as close to the safest exit as possible, along with a good pair of shoes. It is a good idea to check your kit every 6 months to replace expired or damaged items.
Remember, you want to plan ahead, not wait until there is an emergency. Choose your evacuation destination, create a list of emergency contacts and plan for back-up options.
Follow these simple steps to be more prepared for emergencies with a pet:
- Have Current ID Tags & Microchip: These are essential if you become separated from your pet. You may want to pack an extra ID tag in your emergency kit and carry your microchip information.
- Keep Vaccinations Up to Date: Happy Hound offers Vet Clinic Events every month to get your dog’s vaccines done in a more relaxed setting than the vet.
- Get a Rescue Alert Sticker: List the number and type of pet(s), your contact info. and a vet or caregiver’s number, and place the sticker in a visible window, usually by the front door.
- Designate a Caregiver: In the event you are not home, unable to return home or become otherwise incapacitated, choose a friend or neighbor who knows your pet and is willing to “foster” your dog. Give them a spare key and vet or boarding contact info.
- Find a Safe Haven: Look for pet-friendly lodging along your evacuation route or make plans with a friend or relative outside your local area. Not all shelters allow animals.
- If you are stuck in an emergency located elsewhere, Happy Hound offers pet transportation services and can pick up your pet in the Bay Area, even when you’re not home.
Know What is Possible
California’s biggest threats are earthquakes and wildfires, making evacuation more likely than sheltering in place in the event of a natural disaster. However, it is wise to designate Safe Zones within your house or complex that you can shelter in, like a utility room or bathroom. Other man-made emergencies can happen, including power outages, chemical spills and gas line explosions.
Once you have your emergency kit stocked, documents in order and evacuation plan in place, make sure to share your plan with others – everyone in your household, neighbors, family or friends. If you have a dog sitter or dog walker, fill them in and be sure they know where the emergency kit and phone numbers are.
Socializing your dog will help them deal with new people, places and situations. A well-trained dog will respond better to commands and give you more control. Happy Hound offers professional dog training and obedience classes from beginner to advanced as well as refresher courses.
At Happy Hound, we offer Veterinary TeleTriage & TeleAdvice for dogs & cats so you can get clear, concise advice on the health and well-being of your pet over video chat from wherever you are.
It is never fun to think about what would happen should a disaster occur. While you are unlikely to get any advanced warning, you can be prepared and give yourself and your pets the best chance at staying together and safe.