Is your dog included in your emergency preparedness plan?

We never like to think about possible emergencies in our lives–yet the daily news shows that they can strike without warning! From floods to hurricanes to fires to earthquakes and beyond, they’re an unfortunate fact of life, no matter where you live. Now, likely you’ve given some thought to how your family would need to react when faced with such a situation. Some of you might even have food stores stocked, escape routes planned, and emergency contacts memorized. In the midst of that planning, though, have you considered how your dog(s) might need to be taken into account as well?

Both the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have created some handy guides and tips for helping keeping your pups safe in the midst of emergency situations. Here are a few important pieces of advice:

  • Get a Pet Rescue sticker for your home – By having this on one of your windows, listing the number and types of pets in your house, Rescue Service workers can make sure everyone is brought to safety.
  • Find pet-friendly shelters – Not all Red Cross shelters–or other safety centers–allow pets, but many do, and you’ll want to know which ones to take refuge in so your dog isn’t left behind.
  • Create a supplies checklist – Does your dog require any medication or special toys to keep them calm? Make sure these aren’t forgotten in the rush by adding them to your safety checklist.
  • Rely on neighbors, friends, and family – Sometimes emergencies can strike when you’re away from home. Have a backup person who recognizes your dog’s needs and is willing to retrieve and take care of them in case of your absence during an emergency situation.

Have you and your dogs ever gone through an emergency situation together? What was it like? What would you do differently to prepare in case it ever occurs again?

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