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Disaster preparedness for dogs

Disaster preparedness for dogs

Lately, we’ve been doing the LA rock and roll — the seismic kind, not the Elvis kind.

It’s an in your face reminder to either make or update your disaster preparations for your dog and other pets.

Two things make disaster preparations overwhelming:

  • There’s so much you can do to prepare — in your home, at work, in the car for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks; for your family, for your neighborhood — you can easily begin to feel like you’re running Homeland Security.
  • It’s never done. Canned goods expire. Flashlight batteries corrode. Water jugs leak. Band-aids lose their stickum. You have to review and renew regularly.

So, I’m going to give you one small easy suggestion that you can finish in half-an hour or less. You can do it for yourself, your family and your pets, but I’m going to just talk pets here. Here’s what you need to do and why:

  • Get a zipper-locking plastic bag big enough to hold a standard sheet of paper.
  • Get a permanent, waterproof marker and label the bag: “Documents” or “_______ Family Documents” or “Dog Docs.” You get the idea.
  • Put inside the bag: a copy of your dog’s most recent rabies vaccination, a picture of you with your dog, a list of important numbers such as his dog license number, microchip maker and number and your vet’s name, address and phone number as well as addresses and phone numbers for nearby animal shelters, emergency animal medical centers’ and boarding kennels.
  • Put the closed bag in your freezer. It’s easier to pull important documents out of the freezer than it is to try to remember where you filed them. Freezers tend to be fireproof and safe from water intrusion.

You may think of other things to include, but these are the basics. Earthquakes, storms and other types of disaster panic some dogs so badly they run away. Showing up at the animal shelter with a picture that shows you with the dog, helps establish your claim to the dog. Having a record of up-to-date shots takes a lot of the worry out of releasing the dog to you, especially if he has bitten someone. Having the license and microchip numbers will also help trace a lost animal.

If your dog is hurt you may need to get him into the vet or an emergency center. You need to have the address and phone number close at hand. Having more than one option is helpful in case your regular vet is out of commission because of the disaster or overwhelmed by the demand for services.

Having a selection of kennels or boarding options is helpful if your home is destroyed and your family has to go to a disaster shelter.  They often don’t take pets and you’ll need to find alternatives. A website like FidoUniverse.com can be extremely helpful to use, if you have internet access. It maps out the service you need close to where you need them.

D is for disaster preparedness today in the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge for bloggers. Every day in April (except Sundays), participating bloggers will write a post for the appropriate letter of the alphabet. Come back tomorrow when E is for Easter precautions.