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Pet Preparedness - How To Keep Your Pet Safe In A Disaster

A person snuggling their dog out in the wilderness.

How To Keep Your Pet Safe In A Disaster!

June is Pet Preparedness month; It’s important to consider all the things you need to keep yourself and your furry friend safe! If you are prepared for anything, then you can all have more fun together! Here’s some essentials and some things to consider for how to keep your pet safe in a disaster, so you and your buddy can be prepared and have a furtastic summer together!

A dog and a human sitting together on a grassy hill, with the sun directly over their heads, casting a long shadow, from FurHaven Pet Products

General Preparedness 

One of the first things you should do that can be useful for almost any situation is to make sure you, your home, and your pet are all prepared and equipped for things to go wrong. 

Here are some things you can do to prepare your pet for any disaster:

  • Keep your furry friend indoors when they don't need to be outside! Keeping them chained up unattended outside, or in the yard outside can mean the worst for your pup. They can get hurt and caught up in natural disasters, or even just get scared and run away or chew through their leash. The best thing you can do (and one of the kindest things!) is to keep your pet inside when they’re not with you or using the restroom.
    • Another reason to keep pets indoors when possible is in the name of flea and tick prevention. Check out our article on the subject to learn more.
  • Make sure their information is up to date! If your pet is microchipped (check out our article about the subject for some reasons why they SHOULD be microchipped!) or if they have a collar with an ID tag, make sure it has all the up to date and accurate information! The last thing you want is for your furry friend to run off and be found, but not be able to be traced back to you!
A very small brown dog with a blue collar and pawprint shaped tag hanging out of a car window, at FurHaven Pet Products

Here are some supplies that might be useful in most emergency situations with your pets:

  • Three to seven days worth of food. If you have canned food in reserve that will last a while; dry food should be kept in an airtight container and rotated through every few months. 
  • Seven days worth of water for each person and animal.
  • Pet medication
  • Extra blankets and towels

Check out ASPCA’s more extensive list of things to think about and gather to be prepared.  

Keeping Pets Safe In Wildfires

A wildfire rages on a hill while several people sit in camp chairs near their house and observe the phenomenon, at FurHaven Pet Products

Wildfires are usually caused in the summertime for a few different reasons. Especially if you live on the West Coast, you never know when or where you could be in a situation involving a wildfire. That’s why it’s important to prepare, even just a little bit. We’ve laid out some basic things you can do to prepare in the event of a wildfire. 

  • Get fire stickers on your front door. Along with you and your family's information, you can also list how many pets are in the household. That way, if your house catches on fire from wildfire, or even something else, firefighters will have an idea of how many animals and humans to keep an eye out for. Make sure to check out this free ASPCA fire sticker you can use!
  • Figure out an evacuation plan. The last thing you want to be doing while worrying about getting out quickly and safely is doing it all for the first time. 
    • Make sure that the plan involves somewhere safe and comfortable for your furry friend to sleep. A pet bed, blanket, or kennel is a perfect place for car travel.
    • Make sure that your evacuation destination allows pets. Evacuation centers sometimes may not allow animals, and it’s a good idea to check with hotels and motels in safe areas (though most will drop the restriction in an emergency). 

Keeping Pets Safe In Excessive Smoke

A black and white dog sits in red ferns and looks to the right of the picture frame, in a sunlit forest clearing, at FurHaven Pet Products

Being based in Bellingham, WA, we are familiar with wildfire smoke. It's easy for us humans to throw a mask on or avoid the outdoors completely - however, it's not so easy for our furry friends. 

With wildfire smoke becoming a regular issue, including for our friends in the Mid-West and East Coast, it's important to keep your pet's need's in mind. Here are a few things you can do to consider your pets:

  • Keep pets inside, except for the occasional bathroom break.
  • Find some indoor activities and things you can do to entertain your pet while kept up inside - avoiding long walks and opting for shorter, more mentally enriching activities is best. 
  • Birds are especially sensitive to smoke, so keep them in a well filtered and insulated room away from smoke and avoid letting them outside at all. 

Keep an eye out for these signs. Alert your vet if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Panting
  • Eye irritation or watering
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue 
  • Disorientation 
  • Reduced appetite

Keeping Pets Safe In Hurricanes

A white and blue SUV drives through deep water, from FurHaven Pet Products
  • It’s important to make sure that you have enough fresh water available with any disaster, but with hurricanes it can be especially important. After the storm, if your water is cut off, there is a high chance any water sources near you can be contaminated. Having a supply of water for you and your furry friends can be life saving! Make sure to also keep them away from any water sources outside or from outside.
  • Help keep your furry friend calm from the noise. Hurricanes come along with a lot of loud noises that can make it especially stressful for a pet. Make sure to do what you can to prevent your furry friend from getting too anxious over the noises. Perhaps a cozy bed, or anxiety jacket for them. If you’re seriously concerned, consider talking to your vet about anxiety medication for your pet. 

Keeping Pets Safe In Tornadoes

The aftermath of a destructive tornado- an entire building pulled apart, with wood and other debris scattered everywhere, from FurHaven Pet Products
  • In the event of a tornado, it’s likely that you will be going into a basement or somewhere other than where you and your pets spend most of your time. It’s a good idea to establish a small area for your furry friends and get them used to going and laying down quietly. Practice with them once every couple of months, just so they are familiar with the idea in the event you need to move them down there.
  • Don’t allow your animals out of the house right away after a tornado. Nails, glass, power lines, and even wild animals can be a danger especially after a tornado has hit. It’s best to wait it out with them, make sure the area is safe, and you have the all clear before venturing out.
  • Make sure to bring your pet inside! This is a no-brainer, but even a dog house or shelter outside, or in the garage, can be dangerous. Bring your pet in and with you to wherever you and your family are. 

In most situations, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared and your pet trusts you. Taking the time to practice with them, be prepared, and make them comfortable is the best things you can do. Always remember: If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.

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