8 Ways To Prepare for Natural Disasters with Dogs

Protect your dog during natural disasters

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Whether you live in an area that experiences natural disasters on a regular basis, or you’re just preparing for the next big one, all pet owners need to be prepared for the worst case scenario. What do we mean by disaster preparedness? We mean that you need to have a plan in place for both the small and large disasters that can happen.

As a dog owner, you should be extra mindful of the disasters that can happen and how to keep your pet safe. Here’s the best way to prepare your dog for natural disasters with your help. 

When we were living in Alaska, we had a medium-size earthquake in the middle of the night. Luckily, it was pretty far south of us, and Roxy and Dan managed to sleep through it (OF COURSE!) while Rico grumbled a bit.

Meanwhile, I grabbed my phone so I could check local Facebook pages to make sure I wasn’t imagining it! Luckily, we weren’t too affected other than some glasses in the kitchen clinking around.

Parts of southern Alaska were under a tsunami warning through the next morning and had to evacuate to the mountains until the threat passed.

It got me thinking of how prepared we should be for natural disasters and other emergencies where we need to leave the house QUICK. When we got hit by a 7.0 earthquake a couple years later these tips were the first thing that came to mind!

Now we live in Colorado, where natural disasters such as wildfires and flash floods are unfortunately quite common, so I’ve added a few more helpful tips to keep your family safe and help your animals during natural disasters.

Make Sure Your Dog is Properly Prepared

First and foremost, make sure that your dog is properly prepared for disasters. This means having enough food, water, and shelter handily available at all times. If you have a small pet, make sure their pet carrier is easily accessible and you’ve worked on training to get them to go inside it quickly.

Make sure that your dog is also properly trained to handle car rides for emergencies and possible public shelters.

If your dog isn’t properly trained, they may become agitated, aggressive, or destructive in an emergency, or may not be allowed in emergency pet shelters if it comes to that.

Emergency Disaster Kit For Dogs

Have a Pet Disaster Kit Ready

The main thing is to have a way to keep your pups safe in uncertain circumstances. Having an emergency kit for your pets ready to go at all times is immensely helpful.

I mentioned the importance of keeping an up-to-date collar with identification tags on your dog at all times in “Lost Dog? 4 Things You Need to Do”, and I want to emphasize that again. Boomerang Tags are AWESOME id tags and are quiet, which we all love.

I keep their favorite leashes in a cabinet in a closet by the front door, but it’s also a good idea to keep a spare set inside your car. I keep a couple sturdy leashes in the tire wheel well just in case.

To make things easier to grab in a hurry, I have a bag on top of the cabinet with emergency supplies – treats, poop bags, a first aid kit, extra medication for their medical conditions, a small bag of food, and some Beneful Prepared Meals that Roxy & Rico really like.

Spoiling them with a favorite treat helps ease their anxiety; just don’t give too much so they don’t get an upset tummy! Grabbing one of their favorite toys can help ease their anxiety over the pet evacuation process, which can be quite stressful.

Dog Health & Wellness Journal

Grab A Pet Health and Wellness Book

This dog health and wellness journal is so helpful for tracking your dog’s health and well-being! You can use it to record your dog’s vaccinations, medications, and other health information.

It’s also super helpful for monitoring your dog’s weight, diet, and exercise routine. This can help you to identify any potential health problems early on and to make sure that your dog is getting the best possible care to have a happy, healthy life!

Plus, it has an emergency evacuation checklist so you make sure you have everything you need to keep your dog safe.

Our Pick

Dog Health & Wellness Journal

This dog health and wellness journal is so helpful for tracking your dog’s health and well-being!

You can use it to record your dog’s vaccinations, medications, and other health information. This dog health and wellness journal is so helpful for tracking your dog’s health and well-being!

Make sure that your dog is getting the best possible care to have a happy, healthy life!

Print Medical Records Or Email To Yourself

If you’re having to evacuate fast, you definitely don’t want to be rifling through papers looking for their vaccination records, or get turned away from hotels or shelters because you don’t have proof.

Keeping a paper copy in their go-bag means one less stress. I also take a photo with my phone and email it to myself with an easily searchable title like “Pet Vaccination Records” so it’s easily accessible. That way, I just grab the bag and have everything I need in one spot!

Have an Emergency Plan in Place

One of the most important things you can do is have a disaster plan in place.

This should include an evacuation plan should include information on a safe place where you and your dog will go, which of the local shelters you’ll head to, what to do if you can’t reach each other, the evacuation routes you’ll take, and how to contact family or friends or a trusted neighbor.

You’ll also want to have an idea of where local animal shelters are in case you and your pet get separated.

Creating an emergency plan can depend on the situation, but it’s good to have a general idea of what to do and where to go. I recommend reviewing potential routes and scenarios to come up with a plan in case communication methods are down.

For example, we decided that if an evacuation is necessary while Dan is at work, I’d head north with the pups and we set a meeting spot. Most emergency situations don’t leave much time to gather items, so try to have as much ready to go as possible at all times. 

Sign Up For Local Emergency Alerts

One way to ensure your safety during natural disasters is to sign up for local emergency alerts. By subscribing, you’ll be alerted in case of an emergency in your area, such as a severe storm, wildfire, or flood, as well as an evacuation order.

In addition to emergency alerts, make sure to keep an eye on local news and weather reports for updates on potential hazards.

Know Your Rights To Evacuate With Your Pets

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) was created in 2005 to provide guidance and standards for the evacuation and transportation of pets during natural disasters.

This PETS act legislation establishes specific requirements for shelters, animal care facilities, transportation companies, and individuals who own or care for pets.

Add A Rescue Alert Sticker To Your Windows

One of the worst scenarios imaginable for pet parents is not being home when a natural disaster breaks out. When a nearby town had a wildfire shortly after we moved to the area, I saw a few posts about animals trapped at home and their owners were not allowed to return due to the evacuation orders.

A rescue alert sticker on prominent windows will let first responders know how many pets are inside, so they can at least free them if able. You can also add contact information for your cell phone or a family member so they can hopefully help your family be reunited!

Preparation is key during natural disasters – make sure you and your dog are prepared by following these pet disaster preparedness tips. They’ll go a long way to ensuring the whole family stays safe and out of harm’s way in an emergency!

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17 Comments

  1. Heather Wallace, Bridle & Bone says:

    Earthquakes can be scary in that they are so unpredictable. I’ve experienced a few in CA and then some smaller ones here on the east coast as well. Great tips to keep your pets safe and ready just in case of emergency.

  2. Hannah Zulueta says:

    We haven’t had an earthquake in San Diego for years. Great point on the puppy go bag and vaccines. I don’t have either so time to prepare.

    1. omshantipups says:

      I grew up in Florida, so I’m used to hurricanes that leave time to prepare, but earthquakes are so much different!

  3. Ruth Epstein says:

    We live in San Francisco and I have everything ready to go if necessary next to my door. I blame it on me being Jewish LOL
    Great reminder and tips

  4. Jana Rade says:

    I’m glad to see these article pop up every now and then. A disaster can strike anytime, anywhere and it is too easy not to think about it until it happens.

  5. Definitely something to think about ahead of time and to be prepared for! That go bag is very cute, too. We have our pet go bags but should probably look through to update them.

    1. omshantipups says:

      I adore that go-bag! It’s in my shopping cart to replace my current one for sure since it’s adorable!

  6. Such important tips. Sadly, there have been so many disasters lately. I hope more people will come up with a plan. I’m glad you weren’t affected by the earthquake.

  7. Happy-Go-Doodle says:

    Yes, being pet prepared is so important! I’m glad you shared your story along with the informative tips on how to keep our pets safe in case of emergency. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Sweet Purrfections says:

    I’ve read a lot about being prepared in case of a natural disaster, but I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t put anything together yet. I need to work on it because we do have various natural disasters in SC.

  9. Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats says:

    Particularly during hurricane season, I make sure we have go bags for all of us. It’s always good to be prepared. Great advice.
    —Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

  10. This is a great reminder to be prepared! Although my area is pretty low risk for natural disasters, it is always possible. Plus a man-made disaster can happen anywhere. I need to make sure our supplies are in order.

  11. Sonja of Montecristo Travels says:

    Know your evacuation routes. Most people don’t know where is safe to go in an earthquake, hurricane or tsunami like situation. Plan on the possibility of not coming back. where can you stay with your pets long term.

  12. Bernard Lima-Chavez says:

    As someone who lives in South Florida, I know firsthand how important pet disaster-preparedness is. Thanks for spreading this very important message! Puppy go bags– YES!

  13. Stephanie Seger says:

    This is a terrific post with some great reminders! You are right, we never know when something like an earthquake or a fire or some other natural disaster is going to strike. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for when something does occur and not have to hope that it doesn’t.

  14. Awesome post and great tips! Everyone needs a bug out bag prepared! I’m really loving those tags! Ryder is usually naked in the home, but I think I should get some of those tags for his things. I’m thinking of putting one on his leash, too. Thanks for sharing, you rock!

  15. These are fantastic tips. I appreciate the importance of keeping their emergency kit safe!

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