Disaster preparedness for your dog
Do you have a plan in place for your family in case of an emergency? Big Canoe Animal Rescue has a disaster preparedness plan in place for the BCAR shelter cats and dogs. Does your family plan include your pets? If not, it’s time to prepare and plan.
Be prepared by putting together a basic survival kit for your dog. The kit should include:
- Food (in an airtight, waterproof container) and water for at least three days.
- First aid kit. Google “ASPCA how to make a pet first aid kit” to make your own, or purchase a ready-made kit. It’s also helpful to include a pet first aid reference book.
- Have your dog’s medications (including your monthly heartworm and flea and tick medication) handy and in one place so you can just grab them and toss them into your kit.
- Include a copy of your dog’s medical records; be sure to have a copy of your dog’s most recent vaccinations and rabies shots.
- Your dog should be wearing a collar with an ID tag and rabies tag.
- Consider microchipping your dog; if your dog has a chip, be sure the information is current. If you adopted a dog who came chipped, be sure the contact information is yours, not the rescue groups.
- Use your phone’s camera to take a selfie of you and your pet together. This will help prove ownership in case you get separated from your dog.
- Get a crate and crate-train your dog. In an emergency, crating your dog may be a requirement.
- Bring along familiar items like a dog bed or toy; this can help reduce your dog’s stress.
- Don’t forget poop pick-up bags.
It’s always risky to have to leave your pets behind, so have a plan in place in case you need to evacuate.
- Load a weather app on your phone so you receive early warning in case of inclement weather. Consider getting a NOAA Weather Radio for your home.
- Line up a neighbor (or two) who can help with your pet if you aren’t home; be sure your neighbor has a house key and has met your dog.
- Check with your veterinarian to see if housing your pet there is an option; also check with local boarding facilities.
- Most emergency shelters cannot accommodate dogs. Talk to out-of-town family members and see if they would be willing to house you and your pet in case of an emergency.
- Another option is finding a dog-friendly hotel to stay at. Do your research now so you have a plan in case of an emergency. Almost all LaQuinta and Red Roof Inns allow pets. There are also several excellent websites that identify dog-friendly hotels:
If you must shelter in place due to high winds or tornados (most common scenario in North Georgia), the safest place in your home is an underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar. If this isn't an option:
Be sure to have a flashlight, battery-operated radio to listen for updates, whistle or horn to notify rescuers if you are trapped. Don't forget your OWN medications, food, water and practical change of clothing.