The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared" and many different organizations and agencies regularly remind the public of just how important this motto is. Emergency preparedness is an important safety measure in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. While much of the United States does not seem to experience disasters often enough to make preparedness a top priority, citizens of states like California, which suffers from annual wildfires, and Alabama, which suffers a rough tornado season, need to be prepared for emergencies at all times.
Most people think of items like food, water, gasoline, clothing, flashlights, and batteries when putting together an emergency preparedness kit. Sadly, family pets are rarely thought of during preparedness planning. Every year, hundreds of beloved family dogs are lost or given up because of disasters. Remembering to pack for and include pets in the emergency plan can help keep the entire family together and to safety.
Dogs need many of the same things people need in an emergency preparedness kit. One week's worth of food and water are vital to caring for the dog while away from home. Of course, bowls are needed to feed and water the pet. Collapsible bowls for travelling with dogs are lightweight and fold flat, so they store well in an emergency preparedness kit without taking up much space. A leash and harness are vital for the dog's safety, especially during transport. If the family pet takes regular medication, a two week supply should be kept in the emergency kit as well.
Dogs often react to stress in ways similar to the ways young children react to stress. For this reason, it is a good idea to pack puppy training pads. Especially with puppies or small lap dogs, puppy training pads can protect car upholstery and laps from nervous accidents. Not only that, but it is possible that whatever safe place the family goes to may not easily accommodate dogs. Even in a pet friendly hotel, it is wise to offer a stressed out family pet puppy training pads to avoid costly accidents.
While pets should never be left behind in a disaster situation, the need may arise for the dog to be crated, possibly for several hours. Even well crate trained puppies and dogs might need the relief of a puppy training pad when away from home. Small, collapsible crates fold flat, making them easy to pack in the family car. When the family gets to a safe place, the dog should be offered the safety of its crate, the comfort of a beloved toy, and the ability to relieve itself.
It is a good idea to plan a safe place for the family to evacuate to in the event of a disaster. The home of a friend or family member that isn't too close nor too far away is a great choice. Especially if it is a place the family visits regularly, staying with a friend or family can bring comfort to frightened children and pets. Just be sure to work out pet accommodations in advance, and pack for pets- don't assume that their needs can be provided for along the way.
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