Most people have a disaster plan for their family in case of an emergency.
Does your plan of action also include your dog?
When planning for an emergency, you need to have your dog’s safety in mind in addition to your own.
There are all sorts of emergency situations to think about:
- Car accident
- Lightening storm
- House fire
… to name just a few.
Following are some dog safety tips to consider when preparing for an emergency…
Dog Safety 101
There are several different dog safety preparations you can do ahead of time to make sure that your dog will be protected in the event of an emergency.
These are the 7 most important things you should do now… before the emergency situation arises!
#1 Know where the nearest 24-hour emergency vet hospital is in relation to where you are.
You should know this information each time you travel for vacation or go visit friends & relatives, as well as when you’re at home.
If your dog has an accident, gets attacked by another dog, or gets hit by a car after hours or on the weekend you will need to take him to get treatment right away! Knowing the number for the nearest vet emergency treatment center could be a lifesaver.
In my case, there isn’t a 24-hour emergency veterinarian close to where I live. So, if one of my dogs ever has an emergency after hours, I already know to call the normal vet phone number. On the answering machine, they record a pager number for the doctor who is on call that day.
#2 Keep the phone number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on hand at all times.
We are your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. Source
I have the Animal Poison Control Center‘s number on a corkboard next to the phone in my kitchen. It’s also a good idea to keep the number in your purse or wallet, as well as in your vehicle. That way, you will always have the number handy — no matter where you are!
I had to use their services once. I dropped one of my prescription pills on the floor, and my dog ate it. They helped walk me through exactly what to do to make sure my dog would be okay.
#3 Prepare a travel kit.
Set aside a box or some other container filled with things your dog will need to survive for a few days, including:
- dog food
- dog treats
- water bottles
- food & water bowels (the collapsible dog bowls are great for travel & emergencies)
- leash & collar with ID tag
- photo of you with your dog (this comes in handy if you need help finding your dog)
- dog crate or pet carrier (and practice loading your pet into their carrier and then into your vehicle in order to familiarize them with the process)
- unique information about your dog, including any medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name & number of your vet in case you have board your dog
- anything else that your dog would need to survive for a few days away from home like a first aid kit, familiar toys, bedding.
NOTE: You (or a neighbor) will have to remember to toss in all of your dog’s medications at the last minute, right before you leave.
#4 Find a pet-friendly place to stay before you need it.
Know ahead of time which hotels, campground, etc in the area are dog-friendly ones. That way, if you have to stay away from your house for some reason, finding a place to stay with your dog will be one less stressor that you’ll have to deal with.
You should also have a lodging plan just for your dog. For example, if your house is destroyed, you may still have to go to work in the coming weeks and/or do repairs on your home and your dog will need a safe place to stay.
If you wait until an emergency arises, you won’t have time to do to this type of research at the last minute.
Some places to contact:
- Check with hotels near your home (as well as some outside of your immediate area, in case you have to evacuate for example). Ask about their policies on accepting pets, as well as any restrictions on the number, size and species of pets. If a hotel has a "no pet" policy, ask if that would be waived in an emergency. Can’t find any hotels that accept pets? Try these pet-friendly hotel directories: Dog Friendly Directory, Pet-Friendly Travel, and Bring Fido.
- Check with friends, relatives or others near your home, as well as a few outside of your immediate area (again, in case you have to evacuate or be away from the house for an extended period of time). Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your pets (or just your pets, if necessary). Be aware, if you have more than one dog, you may need to house them at separate locations. It may not be ideal, but you can take comfort in knowing that they’re safe!
- Check with local boarding facilities and veterinary offices in the area. Ask if they shelter pets during emergencies. Look beyond your own vet though — because they may not have the space or staff to handle extra pets during an emergency. As a last resort (because their resources are usually limited), check with the local animal shelter to see if they provide foster care or temporary shelter for pets during an emergency.
Make a list of all the pet-friendly places you’ve found and keep it handy! If/when an emergency does arise, call ahead to let them know you’re coming as soon as you think you might have to leave your home — because pet-friendly locations tend to fill up fast. Even friends and neighbors who’ve said they would welcome you and/or your dog could be out of town (or dealing with their own emergency) at that time.
#5 Make arrangements with a neighbor before you need their assistance.
Talk ahead of time with a neighbor you trust and make sure they would be willing to check in on your dog if you can’t make it home for some reason. You don’t want your dog left behind or wandering the streets when you’re not there.
You need to find someone who could care for your dog in the event of an emergency. Make sure this neighbor has your cell phone number and encourage them to give you a call if an emergency ever arises at your house when you’re away.
Exchange keys and disaster plans with a neighbor who can evacuate your animal if you are not home when disaster strikes. Give your neighbor your pet’s information including special needs or medications and make sure your neighbor is comfortable handling your animal. Source
#6 Keep a pet sitter’s phone number on hand.
This will be handy if you ever have to go out of town in a hurry and are unable to take your dog somewhere for boarding.
Be sure to tell your pet sitter what to do in the event of an emergency! Here are some simple pet sitter emergency information and a few forms that you can print out yourself:
#7 Know dog CPR.
Make sure that you, your family members, and anyone else who might be asked to care for your dog (like a neighbor or pet sitter) knows how to do dog CPR.
It’s not hard. You don’t need special training for it. There are 3 simple steps involved to breathe life back into a dog who has stopped breathing.
If you’re in a hurry to leave and can’t find a hidden pet, leave the house but keep open the doors of your home so the animal has a fighting chance of getting out alive. Source
Finally, do these things now… before you dog gets lost or separated from you!
More Dog Safety Tips For Emergencies
- How To Check Your Dog’s Vital Signs: Gums, Pulse & Temperature
- American Red Cross Dog Safety Tips For An Emergency
- Human Society Tips For Preparing For A Disaster With Your Pets
- Is It Safe To Use Human Medications For Dogs? (See This List)
- How To Be Ready For An Emergency With Your Dog
- FEMA Information For Pet Owners
- Emergency Preparedness For Pets
- How To Get Help Paying Vet Bills
- ASPCA Disaster Preparedness Tips For Dog Owners
- Pet Insurance – A Good Buy, Or Not?
- Good News: Auto Insurance Policies Cover Pets Injured In Car Accidents!
- Are You Prepared To Save Your Dog’s Live In An Emergency?
- How To Keep Your Dog Safe In A Storm: Hurricane, Tornado, Evacuation
- Emergency Planning Guide For Pet Owners
- Disaster Preparedness For Your Pets