Are you and your dog ready for an emergency? Whether your area is prone to power outages, storms, tornadoes, or flooding, you can ease some of the stress by having a disaster plan and “go bag” assembled for each of your pets. You’re reading this, which is an important first step. Beyond that, here’s what you can do.
Get an Animals Alert Sticker
Be ready for any emergency with a free Animals Inside alert sticker from the ASPCA. The sticker lets firefighters or emergency personnel know how many animals need rescue in your home. If you have the sticker, write “Evacuated” across it if you leave your home during a disaster.
Next, make sure you’ve got your supplies ready. It’s easier than you think!
Make Your Checklist
Your checklist should cover these points:
- Your dog’s packing list.
- Places your dog can go, in case you can’t take your dog with you.
- Ways to identify and find your dog, in case you get separated.
Your Dog’s Packing List
You should be able to pack a lot of these items ahead of time; that way, you’ll be able to leave quickly and with everything you need. Your dog’s bag should be easy for you—or your dog—to carry, and it should include items like:
- A copy of health records and vaccinations with your vet’s contact info
- Spare collar/harness and leash
- Crate or carrier for smaller dogs
- Packable bed or blanket (think camping style)
- One-week supply of food and water (and bowls)
- Spare medication and flea treatment of choice (you may shelter with other dogs)
- Calming item that you know your dog responds to
- Thunder Shirt
- Rescue Remedy or DAP (dog appropriate pheromone) products
- Bone or chew toy
- Pet first aid kit (available commercially or put together your own)
- Rope or Paracord, clasps, carabiners, or screw tether
Places Your Dog Can Go
If you can’t take your dog with you, make a list of places in your area that accept dogs, like friends and family, your sitter on Rover, or dog-friendly hotels—and keep in mind they’re not always the same places that’ll shelter you and your family. The Red Cross, for instance, only accepts service animals in its emergency shelter.
Once it’s time to go, these tips will help ensure you all get out safely:
- If you must go, evacuate EARLY. If you wait to be rescued, you most likely won’t be able to bring your animals, and the sound and smells of an emergency situation may make your dog extremely upset and difficult to catch or crate.
- If you’re sheltering at home, choose a protected room, basement, or safe room and keep your emergency gear there.
Who’s Who? Dog Identification
If you and your dog are separated in an emergency, here’s what you can do to keep them safe and aid a speedy reunion:
- Keep current ID tags and license on your dog at all times.
- Ensure their microchip info is up to date (ask your vet to scan your dog for you).
- A current photo of your dog to pass around if you get separated.
- A photo of you with your dog if you need to be identified as the owner.
A General Overview
The ASPCA put together this helpful guide that covers what to do to prepare for an emergency. Bottom line: It all adds up to making sure you and your pet get out safely in case of an emergency—and if you get separated along the way, you’ll be much more likely to find each other safe and sound.