There are times when Mother Nature causes intense weather to come our way. These intense weather conditions may force us to evacuate and we need to have preparations made and ready to go. What would you do with your pets in an evacuation?
Do you have a plan prepared to evacuate with your family and pets? In addition to your own evacuation kit, your pets also need to have their own evacuation kit.
Just as you would use plastic containers with lids for your evacuation supplies, also use plastic containers with lids for you pet’s evacuation kit. You want your supplies to stay dry, especially your dry goods such as dry dog food.
An outside dog should be brought inside if you are not evacuating, to keep them safe. Keep your dog on a leash while outside for potty breaks to prevent separation.
ID Your Dog
First, make sure your dog has a collar or harness on them with ID Tags attached including your cell phone number. If someone finds your dog, they will find your phone number right away instead of having to wait to have your dog scanned for a microchip.
Microchip your dog in addition to having an ID tag. This is a second way to identify your dog and for someone to contact you if you get separated from your dog.
Dog Disaster Kit
Just as we need a disaster or evacuation kit, so do our dogs and other pets. Each pet should have their own disaster kit, personalized for their needs.
Begin with a plastic container large enough for your dog’s needs. Smaller dogs can have small containers where as larger dogs will need larger containers.
A gallon of water per day, plus an extra gallon for rinsing your dog if they have been in flood waters. Gallons of water can be kept beside the plastic container full of your pet’s supplies.
Don’t forget a manual can opener if you use can food. Keep dry dog food in plastic bags that seal, inside the container. Don’t forget the treats.
Food and Water Bowls
Keep two bowls in your dog disaster kit for food and water. Collapsible bowls work well for this purpose, not taking up much room when flattened. Click here to see a collapsible bowl. I also take a collapsible bowl when walking my dog along with a bottle of water to share.
Don’t forget to take medications that your dog may need. In a disaster it can be difficult to replace your dog’s medications if you forget to bring them.
First Aid Kit
Be sure to have a first aid kit for your family and pets. If you or your dog are injured, you will need the first aid kit. I suggest adding a styptic pencil or sticks to your first aid kit to stop bleeding from small cuts and nicks.
A 6 foot leash should be in your dog’s disaster kit. You will want to keep your dog close to you outside until you have had time to check for safety concerns.
Keep a blanket or bedding for your dog to place in their crate or carrier. You want to keep your dog as comfortable as possible to help keep them calm.
A current photo of your dog is needed in case you get separated from your dog in a disaster. Your dog will be easier to find if you have a current photo, ID tags, and a microchip.
Proof of Vaccinations
You may need proof of your dog’s vaccinations if you go to a pet friendly shelter or a kennel. Most kennels will require proof of vaccinations to keep all of the dogs safe.
Include a couple of chew toys or bones for your dog to chew on. Your dog could become nervous and they may want to chew on a toy or bone to sooth themselves.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or you are expecting flooding, also include a life jacket for your dog to keep them safe in deep water. Some dog breeds struggle to keep their heads above water, including the English Bulldog and the Basset Hound, as they both have a large chest along with very short legs.
Evacuate With Your Dog
Take a crate or carrier with you if you have to evacuate. Your dog is familiar with their own crate or carrier. Keep everything as normal as possible to keep your dog calm.
Do NOT leave you pet at home if you evacuate as they could be injured, lost, or killed. Evacuate early to keep you and your dog safer.
Do NOT leave your dog tied or chained in your yard as they could drown from flood waters. Do NOT leave your dog inside your home where they can’t escape.
Where to Keep Your Dog
Pet Friendly Shelters
Look for pet friendly shelters for pet owners and their pets in your area. You can contact your local office of emergency management to find one in your area. Be sure to call first to make sure they have room for you and your dog.
There are many motel chains and privately owned motels are pet friendly and will welcome you and your dog. Call ahead and make a reservation to have a room waiting for you and your dog.
Family and Friends
Many people stay with family and friends when a disaster occurs. Talk to your family and friends before a disaster occurs so you will have a plan in case of a disaster. Planning ahead can save lives.
Kennel or Veterinarian Office
If you can’t take your dog with you, call your veterinarian or a local kennel. They may be able to board your dog while you are away. Take proof of vaccinations with you, most likely they will be a requirement to keep all of the dogs safe.
Only as a last resort if absolutely necessary, contact a local animal shelter. Most shelters operate at full capacity and their resources are very stretched during disasters. They may not have room for your dog.
When you return home, inspect your yard and home for safety concerns. Be sure the area is safe before allowing your family and pets to enter.
There may be downed power lines, structural damage, downed trees and branches that would cause safety concerns. If you experience flood waters, look for snakes and other wild animals that have moved looking for higher ground.
Help Your Local Dog Shelter
After a disaster, local dog and animal shelters are in need of resources. There are many ways you can help local shelters in need of resources to care for the animals. Click here to find ways you can help without adopting.
Preparation is the most important aspect when a disaster occurs. Make a plan and know what you are going to do and where you are going to go, including your pets in an evacuation.
Have you been through a disaster with your dog? Have you and your dog had to evacuate? Feel free to leave a comment below or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.