Disaster Preparedness for your Dog: 8 things to do before disaster strikes

The State of California, Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health and Food Safety Services department has developed a brochure which outlines steps that pet owners should take to prepare for an emergency situation.  The following are their suggestions:
1.  PLAN AHEAD. In the event of an evacuation, pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Determine the best place to leave your pet in case of a disaster. Identify an off-site location as well as a place in your home.

2.  IDENTIFICATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS. Dogs and cats should always wear properly fitting collars, personal identification, rabies, and license tags. Make sure all the information on the tags is current. Keep a current photo of each pet. Make sure any distinguishing markings are visible. You will need proof of ownership to retrieve your pet from a shelter.

3.  DISASTER KIT. Maintain a disaster preparedness supply kit for each of your pets.

4.  PAPERWORK AND RECORDS. Store important animal documents in a ziplock or waterproof plastic bag. These should include vaccination and medical records.

5.  VACCINATIONS. Your pets need to be current on vaccinations. You will be required to show proof of vaccination if you need to board your pet.

6.  TRANSPORTATION. Each animal should have their own pet carrier. Familiarize your pet with the carrier or cage before an emergency.

7.  LEASHES AND COLLARS. Keep a leash handy for each dog and cat in your home. Consider using a harness.

8.  BUDDY SYSTEM. In case you are not home when disaster strikes, ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals. Exchange veterinary information and file a permission slip with your veterinarian authorizing them to get emergency treatment for your pet if you can’t be located.

The last step could be the most critical.  You may not be around when disaster strikes and that is why it is important to live in a dog friendly neighborhood.  It takes a village to care for a dog and having a dog friendly support system in your neighborhood could save your dog’s life.