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Disaster Preparedness: be ready to care for your dog in case of emergency

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | January 22, 2012 | Comments (3)

Are you prepared to take care of your dog in the event of an emergency? When a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane, or flood strikes where we live, there is little we can do to control the situation. However, we can try to prepare for such emergencies as best as we can.

Collecting a few extra items for your dog to include in a Disaster Kit will help you care for him/her in emergency situations.

Here is a handy check list of items to include for your pet when putting together a Disaster Kit for your family.

Dogs in Katrina disasterDog harness and leash. Harnesses are suggested over collars as they tend to be more secure than collars, especially in times of stress.

Copy of vaccination records. Vaccination records are essential if you find you and your pet must go to an emergency shelter. Only pets with valid vaccination records are usually accepted in shelters. You can also add your vaccination records, as well as medical records, to your dog's profile on DogHeirs under My Dogs and print off a hard-copy for your kit. Along with your records, it is important to keep your dog current on vaccinations (such as rabies) and especially Bordella vaccination, to prevent kennel cough.

Pet identification. It's very important to have your dog's identification in order so that you can be reunited with your pet if he/she gets lost. Identification for your pet should include the following items:

  • Extra ID tag and collar in case your pet's main set gets lost
  • Pictures. Have a few current photos in case your dog gets lost. Include yourself in some of the photos in case you have to prove ownership
  • Microchip your dog. Microchipping is best identification, in case your dog's tags fall off and you need to prove ownership

You can also add photos, description, microchip number, municipal dog tag identification and more to your dog's profile on DogHeirs.

Food supplies. Pack a supply for at least one week. Store it in a water-tight container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh or label the expiry date so you can keep track of when to replace it. If you use canned food, include a spare can opener. Better yet, get one serving cans, as you may not be able to refridgerate leftovers. Also pack treats for calming and controling your pet.

Water supplies. Pack a supply for at least one week. If household water is declared unfit to drink, it's also unsafe for your pets. Store the water in a cool, dark place. Be sure to rotate the water regularly so it remains fresh. If storing a large supply of water is difficult, consider also getting water purification tablets (iodine pills) and a portable water purifier (a point-of-use water treatment system) often used by campers or hikers (not a Britta!).

Feeding dish, water dish and food scooper (or spoon). Collapsible dishes will take up less space and are handy for transport.

Pet carrier. Carriers or crates will be very helpful if you need to transport your pet and/or stay at a temporary shelter.

Poop bags.

Sanitation & Cleaning Supplies. Include soap for washing your dog's food and water bowls, disinfectant for crate cleaning, paper towels.

Emergency first-aid kit. You can check with your veterinarian to see what they recommend. Also some outfits sell First Aid kits for pets. Some recommended items for a First Aid kit are:

  • First Aid Book for Dogs
  • Conforming Bandage (3” x 5”)
  • Absorbent Gauze Pads (4” x 4”)
  • Absorbent Gauze Roll (3” x 3”)
  • Cotton Tipped Applicators (Qtips) 1 small box/bag
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Emollient Cream
  • Tweezers and Scissors
  • Instant Cold Pack
  • Latex Disposable Gloves
  • Muzzle. A properly fitting muzzle is also recommended, as any injured animal has a tendency to bite when they are in pain.

Medications: If your dog is on long term medication, always have on hand at least a two week supply since your vet may not be available to refill a prescription right away. You can record details on the medications your dog takes to your dog's profile on DogHeirs as well to keep track of the medication names and dosages.

Chew toy. A toy such as a kong or other favorite dog toy will keep your dog occupied and help him/her de-stress if anxious.

Optional items. Pet booties or shoes to protect your dogs paws from dangerous debris.

dogs in katrinaContact Lists. Include in your contact list:

  • Vet emergency care numbers and addresses. Keep copies of your dog's medical records. You can also record details and store emegency contacts on your dog's profile on DogHeirs.
  • Animal control and local shelters in your area. Keep handy the locations and phone numbers of the shelters in your area in case you become separated from your pet.
  • Pet-friendly places to stay
  • Disaster responders that help pets


There few things to do outside of preparing a kit can also help duirng an emergency situation should you become separated from your pet or need to relocate. These include:

Placing an emergency decal on your front window or door. If disaster strikes while you are not home, this decal will alert rescuers of the animals inside.

Researching disaster responders in your area that may have a pet-rescue division or volunteer service. These organizations have support systems that  allows you to register a response request with their volunteers so they can get in to your home and get your dog, should he/she become left behind. Organizations include: Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART), Red Rover (formerly United Animal Nations).

Identify places where you can evacuate to with pets. If you can make arrangements with friends or family outside of the impacted zone this is best. However, there are many hotels and motels that are pet-friendly. For those that aren't, they may make exceptions during emergencies.

Taking the time now to prepare a Disaster Kit may make all the difference in the world in avoiding tragedy, if disaster ever strikes.

As extra precaution, take a minute to sign up and create a dog profile for your dog on DogHeirs if you haven't already. With a dog profile on DogHeirs you have online tools to help mobilize friends and the community to help you find your dog, in case he/she goes missing. You can also store photos and details for identification and care purposes.

Copyright 2015 DogHeirs. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments on this Article

Thanks so much. That's what I figured! I already receive their emails and can head over to their website. Perhaps too late for this storm, but will have for next emergency!
Hi Carol, the ASPCA has decals available through their site.
Thanks for posting these precautions and preparations. I live in Jersey, and we got hit hard during Ire. This is supposed to be worse. Does DogHeirs sell the stickers for windows to alert that you have pets? Or do I need to go to ASPCA website or the like?
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