It seems like every few weeks the news is flooded with reports of emergencies and disasters across not just the US, but around the world. Here at home we’re not just seeing extreme weather, but also flooding in the Midwest, fires in the West and the polar vortex leaving places in subzero cold mimicking deep space conditions.
Today I saw the north magnetic pole is shifting …
Disaster prep is a subject I know a lot about! Living in Hurricane Alley in eastern North Carolina has taught me all about being ready for anything.
And that includes having an emergency preparedness kit for dogs on hand.
So, how can you keep your pet as safe as possible during a disaster?
Building An Emergency Preparedness Kit For Your Dog
There are several different things to include in your kit.
Make sure your dog has some form of identification. Some pets have microchips (we’re not huge fans), some have tattoos (a better option). At the very least, make sure your dog has a collar with a way to contact you. If your dog is listed on a registry, make sure the information is current.
Have copies of your animal’s medical charts.
Keep pictures of your dog that clearly show any identifying marks or colors.
You can even find ID tags with USB drives housed inside a waterproof and shockproof case. Use these to store your address, phone and contact essentials.
2. Food And Water
Now for the food.
Our meticulously fed whole food pets could be in trouble if you don’t think about this now. What will you feed if an emergency or disaster takes out the electricity?
It’s for exactly this purpose that you should get familiar with a dehydrated or freeze-dried form of good quality food. You might even choose to rotate it into your dog’s regular meals a few times per month, just to introduce it.
I get bags of this for my mother’s dogs and she is sure to use a bag up every year to keep them prepared.
Just like you should have 3 days (at least) stored for your family, I would advise having 3 weeks for your pets.
In a pinch, as much as I don’t recommend canned food, use it if you’re really stuck. It contains water and when a disaster hits, if you don’t already have your freeze-dried or dehydrated, it should be easier to find canned (not so easy to find dehydrated or freeze-dried).
Safe drinking water is also a must. There are estimates for how many gallons per person you should have set aside, and I would plan the same for your animals. If you have a good water filter, you can make do with well water or municipal water that is filtered through it.
3. Remedies And First Aid
There are several different remedies that you should have on hand, just in case.
If your dog is under treatment with homeopathic remedies, botanicals, special supplements or the like, make sure your kit has about 3 weeks of those natural medicines available.
A full emergency and disaster homeopathic remedy kit is always a good investment. More importantly, you need to know how to use it properly. The kit can be for the whole family.
Aside from your homeopathic remedies, there are a few things to keep on hand for natural first aid.
I would also have Rescue Remedy from Bach Flowers in your kit. I keep a bottle in my purse because you just never know when you’ll need it.
Additionally, because we’re being hit with more and more environmental toxins, I carry the Yarrow Environmental Solution from Flower Essence FES Quintessentials™ for added protection.
Because they’ve always worked for me and for my clients, I would also consider Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP). These products can be effective as far as keeping your dog calm and easing anxiety. They come in a spray or a collar. You can spray these products on your dog’s collar or onto blankets or kennels. The collar is a really nice “set it and forget it” option. I often use the collars. They last a month and then the whole ordeal is usually covered.
Snakes and other venomous insects like fire ants can cause damage in disasters, so make sure you’re up on emergency remedies for these types of situations.
YouTube has some good videos for resuscitating your companion dogs and cats. But, don’t wait for the disaster, view them now so you have an idea about what to do.
One year during a hurricane emergency, a family’s 3 Great Danes had nowhere to be housed. They were left in the family van while the family was in the shelter. While in the van, they consumed the pharmaceutical drugs belonging to the grandmother. This type of scenario can be avoided with proper containment.
Be sure to have proper containment kennels or cages or livestock trailers for your animals.
Always take the crates with you NO MATTER WHAT. When a place is flooded, you may not be able to return to the area for weeks.
5. Alternate Power Source
So, I want to share what happened this year when Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael hit our area. The entire smart meter was ripped off the house by a felled tree. We had no electricity for over 2 weeks and no Wi-Fi for over 3 weeks. The mobile phones didn’t work well either.
No electricity obviously means no power. Plan for this too.
I have invested in a solar recharged battery pack of double and triple As so I can have a reasonable expectation of keeping some minimal essentials running.
I also keep fans, battery operated, and PLENTY of batteries for them, in case it’s warm. (Knowing how to identify and avoid heat stroke is also important.)
6. Water Protection
If water is any type of hazard possibility, have a fitted life preserver for your pets. Carriers that float would be good also.
I had a patient that was left behind on Topsail Beach during a hurricane. Luckily, she floated across the bay in an inflatable chair.
7. Something For Comfort
This may seem trivial as far as what you need in an emergency preparedness kit for dogs, but trust me, this can help alleviate stress and help a dog remain calm. Any favorite play toy, special smelly socks, t-shirts or favorite blankets
Also, make sure you have plenty of toys and some ways to have the animals “self-play.” During an emergency it isn’t just the humans that need to be kept occupied.
8. A Safe House
If possible, have a plan for somewhere else to stay.
If you have family or friends in another state that could take the whole family in if evacuations are ordered, that’s amazing. I even suggest that pets with microchips have the phone numbers of these contacts and others in different parts of the country in case communication is down or you can’t be reached.
A Few Final Tips
When disaster strikes you need to be able to take care of your entire family.
Know the plan and practice the plan for emergency and disaster preparedness. Read up on the plans already available for evacuating your area. They actually have free plans online for just about any disaster you can think of. For example, Florida has the best hurricane emergency plans. The Red Cross has material available online to help keep you ready. Even the AVMA has a brochure called “Saving the Whole Family.”
It isn’t difficult to build your own emergency preparedness kit for dogs. Enough supplies for 3 weeks, not 3 days, is what I recommend. To keep your dog safe, you should be able to wash off any chemicals and provide safe food and clean water. You should also have the right first aid tools available. Know what you need to be prepared for and if you do that, hopefully you won’t ever have to use it. Stay safe.