A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
Minimize stress during stressful times
Preparing for a disaster is an important action for every family to take. If your household also includes canines, be sure to create a plan for them as well. In the event of an emergency, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your dog will be safe , which will give you peace of mind in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
- Get a Rescue Alert sticker and post it next to your front door.
These stickers can be found at your vet’s office, pet supply stores, online, and at your local fire station. The sticker can be filled-in with specific information about the animals living in your house. For example, there is a place to list the number of dogs and some include space to provide their names or description. ASPCA recommends that you also include your vet’s name and number, in the event that you are not home at the time of rescue.
- Add dog supplies to your emergency kit.
Don’t stop at just adding dog food and extra bottled water. Be sure to add a bowl to drink and eat out of, a back-up leash and collar for each dog, a crate for small dogs, an emergency medical kit for dogs, extra towels and blankets, any medication that your dog may take, a toy, clean up bags, and important phone numbers such as your vet and the emergency animal hospital in your area. These items are in addition to the other items in your emergency kit that include flashlights, batteries, ect.
- Have a care plan.
This is a very important step that must be given much thought and consideration. In the event that you can’t return home temporarily, designate someone who can provide temporary care and lives close. Make sure that your temporary care provider has a set of keys and instruction sheets about your dog’s care needs. The person who you choose to provide immediate emergency care may not be the same person that you designate for long term care. Be sure to have a conversation about your expectations of the foster care provider that include longer term adoption plans.
- Identify hotels or emergency shelters that accept pets.
If you know the address and phone number of a hotel near you that accepts pets, you can quickly make the decision to evacuate, if needed. Have a few options both near and away from your city. You could also get pre-approval from a friend or relative who would be willing to take you and your dog in case of emergency.
- Always keep your dog with you.
Don’t abandon your dog thinking that you will be able to come back and get him. If you do have to evacuate, keep your dog with you on a leash at all times. Dogs are pack animals and will suffer a severe amount of stress if left alone in extreme conditions.
Emergency situations come in all shapes and sizes. From extreme weather and geological issues, to power outages, to fire and theft and emergency hospitalizations. Taking measures to have a Disaster Preparedness plan will give you peace of mind and help to minimize stress during stressful times. Get the whole family involved and make it an event! Thinking about and planning for your dog’s welfare is a loving and bonding activity and one you certainly hope to never have to use.