How prepared are you for an emergency evacuation with your pets when time matters? What if there were literally minutes to flee your abode: What would you take? Where would you go? Do you have an emergency pack ready for your dog? Weather emergencies can affect any of us.
On August 29, 2005, 10 years ago, the folks in New Orleans faced the fury that was Hurricane Katrina.In her path of fury, Katrina devastated the town, destroyed lives, and thousands of pets were displaced, lost, and/or never found again. Lives were decimated.
Because September is National Preparedness Month, Fidose of Reality wants all dog moms and dads to take precautions and have a plan in the event of an emergency.
From the Front Lines: My Emergency Evacuation
A natural disaster altered my life and that of my dog’s so deeply that two years ago I was forced to flee from my home due to the devastating nearly epic and tragic flood waters of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania several years ago. I never thought I’d have to evacuate my residence in an emergency situation. Sure, I counseled others via the written word on how to do it and even had an “emergency plan” of my own in place. I just never thought I’d need to implement those best laid plans.
Reality Sets In
Author of 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog and Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book, Jenny Pavlovic, told us, “After Hurricane Katrina, the PETS Act was passed by Congress to enable people to take their pets when evacuating. However, the bill did not receive funding to provide for evacuating pets. Instead, communities must have a disaster plan that includes pets in order to receive Federal assistance.”
Here is what you should do in a variety of unplanned circumstances: Some of these will happen to you and your family: And at any time, a natural disaster can cause emergency evacuation. Think it can’t happen to you? Think about fire, tornado, earthquake, flooding, or any other number of issues. What about no electricity?
You Lose Electricity: Pets should remain with you. If it is summer and you must go somewhere cool, take pets with you. The inside of an apartment or home is not a place to leave a dog who can easily overheat and die. The same goes in the winter months: A fur coat is not enough protection to keep a dog warm. Do not leave pets outside in the cold nor alone in an unheated residence. Take them with you. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.
You Experience a Heat Wave: And the Northeastern part of the country is well known for high temperatures this time of year and going forward through even parts of September.
- Never leave your pets in a parked car. Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on, as pets can be stolen, get sick, and any number of things can happen.
- Watch the humidity. Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association says, “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
- Don’t rely on a fan. They don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people, so a fan does not always do the trick.
- Provide lots of shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.
- Limit exercise on hot days to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets who, because of their short noses, typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Look for signs of heatstroke, including heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
- Treat suspected heatstroke immediately. Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.
You Are Unable to Reach Your Pets: Perhaps you have had an emergency, an accident, roads are closed, a fire is happening on your street, or any number of factors keeping you from reuniting with your dog(s). Here’s what to do:
- Give a nearby trusted person a key to your place and make them familiar with what pets you have.
- Be certain this trusted person knows your pet and your pet is comfortable with him or her.
- Have an emergency kit of info ready for said caretaker. Info should be easily accessible in the event food and meds need to be given in your absence.
- If you enlist the services of a pet sitter, ask if he or she can assist and make plans in advance for emergency situations. Will she drive on ice? Be available on call?
Our friends at the ASPCA are offering tips and a preparedness kit. See below for the giveaway. Click the graphic to blow it up.
It sounds like a lot to prepare for, and it is, but the life of your dog(s) depends on you. The rule of thumb is to do for your pet(s) what you need to do for yourself to prepare.
Our friends at SlimDoggy have prepared a West Coast preparedness article, which we highly encourage you to read today as well.
Our Experience and End Result
As water threatened to ravage my town and residence, being a few hours from home meant tuning in to live streams online and Cantore Stories. As Jim rode through the streets on a boat, an envelope of worry consumed me. What I took to keep me calm? D-O-G.
My town literally came within inches of its own well-being. During a 30 day period of time, my town experienced an earthquake, hurricane evacuation, and threat of flood along with some other life mishaps have shaken me a bit. Survived? Yes. Battered? A bit. Bewildered? For sure, but I know better now. And when I know better, I share with pet parents.
I learned that if you can’t take it with you, it doesn’t matter. Those monetary things that make the house look pretty are a lot of fun but ultimately, it was the photo albums (yes, real paper, not digital), my previous dog’s cremains, and some important papers I lugged with 14 squeaky balls and a vat of food.
What I Confirmed: My heart beats dog and I’m a heck of a lot stronger than I realized.
Sign The Disaster Prep Pledge
Is your pet prepared for an emergency?
A disaster can strike at any time, so it’s important to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. But have you considered what to do with your pet? Sign our pledge to plan for your pet’s safety below and download the ASPCA app for a full checklist and essential tips to make sure you know what to do before, during, and after a disaster.
CONTEST IS CLOSED AND THE WINNER IS DEVRI KING!!!!
Want to win a kit of items to help you and your dog be prepared for emergencies? It includes:
This is open to USA only: Just tell us the name of the dog below who will use the items in this kit if needed: Giveaway ends 09/05/15 at 11:59 pm EDT.
Note: We received no compensation for this post; this is a public service from Fidose of Reality to help keep dogs safe.