Pet Disaster Preparedness

As we all prepare for Hurricane Dorian heading to North Carolina, we stock up on food, water, and supplies for the human family….but what about our pets? Our dogs are always dependent on us for basic care, but that’s even more critical during a natural disaster. Remember the three “P’s” to succeed – Plan, Prepare & Protect.

Plan

Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself and your dog safe if disaster strikes. Need a place to start? Check out some of these tips:

  • Microchip your dog. This form of identification is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Have you moved or changed phone numbers? Be sure to keep the microchip registration up-to-date.
  • Keep a collar and identification tag on your dog. Even if your dog’s recall is always reliable, the fear caused by a hurricane can make any dog panic and flee. Also, if your home is damaged during a natural disaster, they could easily escape.
  • What happens if your home is destroyed? Do you have a place to go? Check with family or friends outside of the storm’s range and research pet-friendly hotels as a backup.

Pet Friendly Hotels:

Prepare

We all run to the store for our own essentials, but be sure to include your pet in your hurricane preparedness kit. But what should you buy? Here is a dog disaster kit checklist to get you started:

  • Food – Make sure you have enough food for at least a week for each dog and store it in airtight, waterproof container. I personally keep a high calorie paste called Nutri-Cal on hand, in the event we would truly have to ration the dog food and stretch out our supply.
  • Water – A good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. I have larger dogs, so for example, my 65 lb girl, Aslan, should be drinking between 33 and 65 ounces, or 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of water daily. The threat of a tainted water supply after serious flooding is likely, so I keep these water purification tablets on hand so that I can keep the distilled water supply for the humans, while keeping the dogs safe and Giardia-free. You don’t want explosive poops in a situation like this, believe me.
  • Medications – Do you have a senior pet or a dog with special needs? I have a senior that is currently on a slew of medications. I called my veterinarian to make sure I had enough medications to get her through a few weeks. Don’t forget your flea, tick, and heartworm preventative!
  • First Aid Kit – You can either make your own or purchase a dog first aid kit. Here is a helpful guide on how to make your own pet first aid kit, but honestly, I’m kind of lazy sometimes. I purchased one years ago online, and it’s still my favorite after using it multiple times: iCare Pet First Aid Kit
  • Records – Keep physical copies of your dog’s vet records, especially in the event they need medical care. Most facilities need to see a rabies vaccine certificate, at minimum. Take photos of your pets and print them; these are handy to have in your possession if your dogs are displaced or lost.
  • Handling Supplies – Crate, collar, leash, treats, toys, and food/water bowls
  • Cleaning Supplies – Let’s face it, someone might nervous poop or (in the event of an evacuation) throw up in the car. Have some paper towels and enzymatic cleaner on hand, like Nature’s Miracle.

Protect

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will….

If there are hurricane force winds in the forecast, then maybe think about bringing your dog inside. If it’s not safe for you outside, then it’s not safe for them.

  • If you dog is normally terrified during thunderstorms, then you will likely see a more intense response from your dog during a hurricane. Protect your dog by crating them in a safe space (near you) during a storm, so they can’t hurt themselves.
  • For me, I have multiple dogs, so I want to be able to keep track of them at all times during an emergency. I don’t want one hiding upstairs, one in the living room, and one staring out the window (we all know not to do that during a storm.) I crate all of my dogs in the hallway downstairs, away from doors, windows, and by my side.

Additional Resources

…But most importantly to everyone in Hurricane Dorian’s path, STAY SAFE THIS WEEK!

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