June is National Pet Preparedness Month. While we sincerely hope you’ll never have to face an emergency or disaster, we know that being prepared is the best way to safeguard you and your loved ones, whatever may come your way. We also know your pets are family and you’ll want to include them in your household’s preparedness plans. As you do, consider the following tips:
# 1 – Plan ahead
Nothing too fancy is required here. You got this! Just follow these simple steps:
- As always, let’s begin with prevention. That means taking some time to thoroughly pet proof your home. Make sure your inquisitive canine isn’t accidentally the cause of the disaster you’re trying to keep everyone safe from!
- Consider monitored smoke detectors if you live in an area that is prone to wildfires.
- Have a pet rescue sticker in the window(s) to alert those responding in case of an emergency that there are pets in the home.
- Next, review your disaster preparedness and fire safety plans if you already have those in place. (If so, great job – a click and treat for you!) Know how you and your pets can evacuate your home safely if needed. Then, be sure to practice with the whole family, especially the pets. (See Tip #2.)
# 2 – Train the Behavior Before You Need the Behavior
Yes – you’ll want to practice fire, earthquake, etc. “drills” with your dog. You may feel silly having fire drills, but the more often you practice, the more second nature your plan will become. As I say to my dog training students, “Train it before you need it!”
Also consider that if you have to evacuate your home for a bit, depending on where you go, some places might require that your pet be in a crate at times. So crate training plays a role in pet preparedness too.
# 3 – Prepare a Dog Emergency Supply Kit:
You might already have a pet first aid kit. If so, great job! Good human! Be sure to check for any expired items and replace them. Does everyone in the household know where the kit is located and how to access it in an emergency?
In addition to first aid supplies, keep in mind that, depending on the scenario, you might have limited or no access to your home for anywhere from a few hours to a more extended period of time. So also have a more comprehensive emergency supply kit that includes (at least): five to seven days’ worth of pet food, water, bowls, a can opener, poop bags, toys, leashes, a harness, a carrier and dog bed, mat, towel or blanket. Additionally, include any current medications your pet needs (enough to last at least a few days), keeping them in a waterproof container. Have your veterinary clinic’s name and contact info handy and up-to-date, in case medication refills are required before you return home.
#4 – Make Sure Your Dog Has Proper Identification
Double-(and maybe triple-)check that your dog has a collar with tags bearing your current contact information and that the information associated with your dog’s microchip is also up-to- date.
#5 Stay Informed
We understand that disaster preparedness is unlikely to be anyone’s favorite subject. Still, it’s worth the time to take a few moments now and again to review these tips – and for good measure- the resources listed below:
- Disaster preparedness info from the ASPCA: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness
- Pet preparedness tips from Pet Poison Helpline: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/national-pet-preparedness-month/
- Fire safety info from the ASPCA: https://www.aspca.org/news/fire-safety-and-your-pets-keeping-them-safe-unexpected
- Additional resources: https://www.ready.gov/pets
We hope you find these tips helpful. Thank you for being an inquisitive- and prepared- dog guardian!