You’d move heaven and earth for your pup - but what would you do if a natural disaster actually struck? It’s the beginning of hurricane and flooding season in the US, so we spoke with emergency experts to make sure you and your pup are prepared for everything. “In my line of work, I have seen far too many animals separated from their families during natural disasters - a tragedy that in many cases can be prevented,” says Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA disaster response. “Following the string of life-threatening disasters we experienced last year, it has never been more important to incorporate animals into disaster preparedness plans.” Here are some easy ways you can prepare yourself and your pup:
Don’t attach them to anything
Your dog is scared of loud noises, and he’s a flight risk. So in a panic, you might be tempted to tie him to a tree or to a pole so he’ll be safe, and won’t run away. While it may prevent him from escaping, it’ll also prevent him from getting away from high waters and other dangerous things like falling branches, according to Green. If you’re forced to evacuate, bring your pup with you in a pet crate that’s safe for transport - and remember to bring along leashes and collars with identification tags.
Acclimate your pup to his crate
This will prepare him for a potential evacuation—because you don’t want to be bargaining with your dog to get into his crate when disaster strikes. Start now by putting treats in there, and get him used to eating it with the door closed, like it’s no biggie. Carry him around in his crate once in a while (if it’s lift-able) and take a drive with him in there, too, Green advises. So if you have to get your pup in there in a hurry, it will be no problemo.
Put together a pet emergency kit
This should include three to seven days’ worth of food in a sealed container; medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medication your pup takes; contact information for your vet and a closeby animal hospital; recent photos of him (just in case you need to make ‘lost’ posters); and a comfort item like his fave chew toy. And if your pup isn’t already microchipped, get that done because it makes lost dogs much easier to find!
Make a hotel list
If you’ve ever traveled with your pup, you already know how difficult it can be to find a place that’ll let him stay the night (though we have no idea why they wouldn’t want him around!) So FEMA suggests making a list ahead of time of pet-friendly hotels and shelters in your area. Don’t know where to take them? Search for pet-friendly shelter at Bring Fido or Pet Friendly Hotels.
Get a rescue sticker
You know those super cute dog stickers for your windows? They aren’t just for decoration. They will let rescue workers know how many pets you have at home. They’re placed near your front door, and they include the type and number of pets, along with the name and number of your vet, says the ASPCA. If you evacuate with your pets and have time, write “evacuated” across the sticker so the emergency workers can move on to the next home.
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