National Emergency Preparedness Week, educates people to have enough supplies on hand for 72 hours for all family members, including pets. “Families are responsible for the care of their dogs in disaster situations,” says Michelle Sevigny, founder of Dogsafe Canine First Aid. “People procrastinate about assembling disaster kits, but having a plan and essential supplies on hand will dramatically reduce the negative psychological impact of experiencing a disaster,” says Sevigny.
Sevigny urges families with pets to assemble a specific disaster kit for their animals that includes:
1. Food, water and dishes. If possible, store a quantity of your pet’s regular food to avoid an upset stomach with a change of diet. If you use canned food, don’t forget the can opener. Plan on approximately four litres (one gallon) of water per day for a medium size dog or a minimum of thirty milliliters (one ounce) of bottled drinking water per pound of body weight. Add lightweight, collapsible food and water dishes which are easy to store.
2. Paper towels, poop bags, spray disinfectant and a large garbage bag for disposal will allow for easy and sanitary cleanup of waste.
3. Cleaning supplies such as waterless sanitizing products to disinfect hands and dishes.
4. Blanket, favorite toy and treats for warmth and comfort.
5. Supply of prescription medications or copy of prescription and be aware of storage requirements and expiry dates.
6. Copies of veterinary records in case your dog needs assistance from a substitute veterinarian or requires proof of vaccinations for emergency boarding.
7. A muzzle for safety. Emergency situations can be frightening for dogs too and they may respond aggressively as a result.
8. Extra leash and collar in case you have to leave quickly or cannot access your dog’s leash and collar. Even if your dog is normally well-behaved off leash, disasters may be frightening and best to keep all dogs leashed.
9. Permanent ID tags plus a temporary tag where you may write the location of a shelter location. Include an out of area contact and phone number.
10. First aid kit with supplies for emergencies and basic wound care. Know how to properly use the first aid supplies and join a canine first aid course if you don’t.
11. Grooming supplies such as shampoo, brushes and towels to rid your dog’s coat of foreign items and sticky substances.
12. Crate to help reduce your dog’s anxiety. Crate-trained dogs may be more welcome at emergency shelters, hotels or temporary locations.
13. Photos of your dog (10 – 20) for distribution in the event your dog becomes separated from you plus photos of you and your dog together to prove ownership if your dog is located.
14. “Lost Dog” Posters (10 – 20) with dog’s description, photo and blank spaces to write temporary contact information. Do these ahead of time as you may not have time or access to a computer during an emergency.
15. Know in advance local animal disaster organizations and contact them for specific details for your area
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All articles and photographs by Dogsafe Canine First Aid founder, Michelle Sevigny, former police officer and dog trainer.
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