Disaster preparation for puppies as well as yourself is vital when Mother Nature throws a tantrum, because you have no time to waste. Each part of the country has its own type of problems: wildfires out west, hurricane season back east and in the Gulf of Mexico, and tornadoes and floods in between. It's not just the thunder phobias that keep pets upset. Keeping your human and furry family safe can prove daunting unless you’ve made advanced disaster planning.
Your evacuation kit should include a cell phone, flashlight, extra batteries, battery powered radio, map of area, whistle/air horn to signal for help, and matches in a waterproof container.
Keep a list of emergency numbers with your phone, including a pet emergency clinic number and shelters that may temporarily house animals. Keep your car tank filled with at least half a tank of fuel at all times. If you must evacuate, take your pets along. It may be days before authorities allow you to return home.
How To Prepare For A Disaster
Watch weather or other news reports. When weather turns ify or the fire appears headed your way, bring all pets into the house so that you won't have to search for them.
Make sure all pets wear collars and up-to-date identification. If you have nothing else handy, use a felt-tip indelible marker and write your name and phone number and name on the puppy’s tummy.
Designate a “safe room” in the house to confine pets until the all clear. That way you won't be in a rush to track down the puppy playing hide and seek, or shivering under the bed. If you don't have a basement or storm cellar, an internal room without windows, often a bathroom without windows, can be a good option. At my house, Seren gets stuffed into her cat carrier and placed inside the pantry situated under the stairs. It’s big enough that the humans and Magical Dawg can fit inside, too.
Many shelters prohibit pets, except for certified service animals. If you’ve got to evacuate, find a hotel (learn how to prepare your pup for hotel stays) or stay with a friend, or find other accommodations in advance that will let you bring your dogs and cats. Find information on pet-friendly hotels and keep it handy. Hotels that normally refuse pets may make exceptions during disasters but fill up very fast.
Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter, if you know it, to the puppy’s collar tags. You can buy temporary tags or put adhesive tape on the back of your pet's ID tag, adding information with an indelible pen. Write directly on a flat nylon collar or halter to make it easy for a stranger to read the information without having to get too close, in case your puppy runs or hides when frightened in such scary circumstances.
Emergency Evacuation Kit Preparation
In addition to providing for human family members, have a “pet kit” ready to take along that contains a three-day supply of all the pet essentials.
If easily packed, take an extra towel or blanket for each pet. Don’t forget sturdy leashes, harnesses, carriers or X-pens for safe confinement.
Include a favorite comfort toy or treat, the puppy's food and can opener if needed, and don’t forget water. Taking along one quart per cat-size pet per day (more for big dogs) is a good rule of paw.
Have plenty of plastic bags and newspapers as well as containers and cleaning supplies to help deal with pet waste. Puppy training pads or Depends undergarments work well and are lighter weight than cat litter.
Prepare for the unthinkable, too. Include current photos of your pets in case they get lost. Bring a first-aid kit for you and the pets to care for possible injuries. Include disposable latex gloves, sterile dressings, antibiotic towelettes and ointment, eyewash, thermometer, and any prescription medications your pets need. You should include any health and proof of vaccinations, too, since this may be needed for emergency housing in case of emergency.
Be ready for Mother Nature’s “what if” surprises now and prepare for the worst. Then pray that you and your pets will never need this information.