With Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the fires in California and the storms in Mexico we know that an emergency can occur at any time.
Whether it is a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado or any other kind of disaster, the more prepared you are the better the outcome can be. Although many of us consider our furry and feathered family members to be part of the family, we don’t always make emergency preparations for them. Preparations for pets should not only include food and medications but it is also important to do some emergency training as well.
When putting together a pet emergency kit, there a few things that can really help your pet during an emergency.
You should have a week’s worth of food and medications (if your pet takes medications). The emergency alone will be frightening and stressful but if your pet can continue to eat his or her food and can stay on their medications, it can help. You should consider packing your dog’s blanket or bed. If your pet is easily stressed, consider asking your veterinarian for a medication that can help with the stress and anxiety. Other things to have in the kit are; laminated vaccine records and a picture with your pet’s name printed on it (if the kit gets wet, the lamination can protect the document). Because collars can get lost, it is also a good idea to have your pet microchipped and make sure the microchip is registered in your name.
When natural disasters occur, pets are often taken into a shelter situation.
Commonly they are put into kennels and crates in an unfamiliar place. Obviously, this is also stressful for the most confident animal. To ease some of the stress consider crate training your pet so he or she is comfortable when confined. People often crate train puppies when they are house training them but once the puppy is fully house trained they never crate them again. People rarely think about crate training a cat, bunny, bird or pocket pet. If the pet is comfortable in a crate, he or she will have less stress if they have to live in a shelter temporarily.
If you have pets, consider evacuating before it is mandatory.
By evacuating early, you give yourself and your pets a head start to get out of danger and you can prevent a fearful pet from hiding before you can get to safety. If you evacuate early you can significantly decrease your pet’s stress by finding a safe place that you can reside together and avoid being in a situation where you cannot save your pet. If you have a pet that is afraid or uncomfortable with strangers be sure to evacuate early if possible.
Whether you have advanced warning or not, being prepared will help increase the safety and decrease the stress for you and your pets. An emergency can happen at any moment, take time now to get prepared.
Shannon has been a pet lover all her life and a dog trainer for over 20 years. She has spent her life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds. She has worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as an handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. She has participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West.
Her education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Shannon is currently serving as President for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.
Shannon’s dog training philosophy revolves around force free, positive reinforcement, however, her ultimate goal is for healthy happy relationship between pets and their people. Diet, exercise, environment and training all play a significant role in achieving this goal.
Shannon is currently the owner of Ventura Pet Wellness and Dog Training Center in Ventura, CA where she works with anxious and fearful dogs privately as well as teaching agility classes (Venturapetwellness.com). Shannon has also started a training website called Truly Force Free Animal Training (trulyforcefree.com).