Mother Nature is unpredictable, allowing disaster to strike without even the slightest notice. Whether a meteorologist predicts an incoming storm or an earthquake suddenly hits beneath your feet, are you and your pets prepared? Being in Arizona, I mostly see national disasters on the news, but those of us in lower risk areas need to be just as prepared. What if my air conditioner goes out and I have to leave my home? The hot summer temperatures are enough to give humans and animals heat stroke if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and I had the opportunity to talk about this crucial topic with Dr. Kurt Venator from Purina. This post will cover what you need to know to be prepared for disaster and emergencies no matter where you live.
Take a second to think about where you live. Maybe you’re on the West Coast, where wildfires, earthquakes and heat are an issue. Perhaps you live in the Midwest where tornadoes can destroy your home in an instant. Summer is hurricane season – could you be affected by one where you live? Be weary of what types of emergencies and disasters could put you and your pets at risk, and prepare accordingly.
It never hurts to practice evacuation procedures, and make sure you include your pets! Prepare a buddy system with a neighbor or family in the case that you aren’t home while an emergency or disaster is taking place. You want to make sure a couple of people have a way to get into your house for the sake of your animals.
You will also want to get your pets used to their carriers, the car and basic obedience. Use positive reinforcement training when getting your pets used to new ideas, and never force them to do anything. Take it one step at a time and use lots of praise and treats!
In Arizona we experience monsoons – massive rain and dust storms that can cause flooding. Our biggest issue, however, is heat. In the summer we can experience temperatures upwards of 120°. As you can imagine, air conditioning is an absolute household necessity in order to live safely in the desert. But what if your AC unit goes out? Staying outside or leaving your dogs out in the heat can be fatal. It doesn’t take much to get heat stroke when it’s 120°. If you have to retreat outside with your dogs for some reason or you experience a power outage, be prepared with:
- Booties: The concrete is WAY too hot for a dog’s paws. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Make sure you have booties on hand for all of your dogs in case you have to walk on pavement in the summer.
- Carrier: For cats or small dogs.
- Plenty of water: Your dog needs to drink one ounce of water per pound of body weight everyday, and even more in the summer.
- Shade: Shade coverage always helps, but make sure there is plenty of airflow. Dog houses aren’t great shelters because typically they have no air flow.
- Collapsible bowls: For food and water.
- Canned food: Can be stored for a while and you can easily travel with it.
- First aid kit: cloth, gauze, bandages, tweezers, ointment
- Updated ID tags, collar and leash
Sheltering in Place
If you’re in a situation where you have to stay in your home for a while, you need to be prepared. Here’s what you need in your emergency preparation kit:
- Canned food: Canned food for cats and dogs stores a lot longer than dry food. Write the date on the top of it so you know exactly how old it is and replace is every 6 months or so. I recently went to PetSmart to buy some wet Pro Plan food for my dogs. Now I have canned dog and cat food ready for an emergency.
- Water: Always have a 7-14 day supply of water for your pets. Pets need one gallon of water every three days. (Bigger dogs may need more)
- Special toy(s) to keep your dogs and cats busy if you’re stuck in the house. Indoor enrichment toys like puzzles and games are also important to keep pets from getting anxious.
- Waterproof stickers for your doors and windows stating how many animals are in the home.
- Medications: Any medications that your pets need.
Evacuation Emergency Kit
In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to evacuate, here’s what you need to have prepared in order to take your dogs and cats with you:
- Life jacket for dogs if you’re in an area with water. (Even if your dog loves swimming, swimming gets tiring quickly if you have to swim for a long distance)
- Collapsible bowls for food and water
- One blanket per pet
- One carrier per pet
- Updated ID tags
- Necessary medications for your pets
- Litter and one litter box per cat
- Veterinary records in a waterproof bag, and pictures of your pets in case you get separated.
- Basic first aid kit
Learn More About Pet Preparedness
June is Pet Preparedness Month but I encourage you to learn more about how you can continually keep your pets safe. To learn more about pet preparedness along with other summer safety considerations for your pets, please tune into Purina’s upcoming Summer Safety and Travel Facebook Live which will take place on June 29 at 12 pm CT / 1 pm ET on the Purina Facebook page. See you there!
Hurricane Katrina caused nearly 60,000 pets die or end up stranded. Let’s avoid situations like this by getting prepared! A big thanks to Purina and Dr. Kurt Venator for discussing this extremely important topic with us!
Have you prepared your pets for emergency and disaster?