Natural disasters happen, and they can happen quickly. Are you prepared to care for your dog if a disaster strikes our community?

dogThe potential natural disasters we could experience here in Whatcom County are earthquakes, flooding, wind storms, extended power outages from severe weather, and even the possibility of Mount Baker erupting.

What if you’re out of town for the day and a weather event prevents you from returning home? Is there a plan in place for who will care for your dog at home? (Hint: Rover Stay Over may be able to help with our dog shuttle services).

The best way to handle local disasters and other worst case scenario situations is to be prepared beforehand so you can feel confident that you’ve done all you can to ensure the safety and well-being of your companion critters.

5 ways to prepare your dog for a natural disaster.

  1. Do not leave your pets behind if you evacuate or leave them outside during a disaster. A good rule of thumb is if you do not feel safe, it is most likely not safe for them either. If there is a natural disaster or one has been forecast, do not leave your dog at home by themselves-not even for a short amount of time, as you may be prohibited from returning.
  2. Make sure your dog(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification like microchips in case of separation from family members. Is your cell phone number on the dog tags? If not, you should consider it since you may not be able to access your home phone. Keep up-to-date records in a folder or a plastic bag that seals in case of water damage.
  3. Have an emergency kit for dogs ready. Your kit should contain things such as a collapsible food and water bowl with food stored in an airtight and waterproof container—make sure there is enough water for at least 72 hours. Include an extra leash and collar, pick-up bags for pet waste, a pet first aid kit including medications, a portable kennel if you have one and a couple of comfort items like a favorite toy or bedding. Another important item to include is an updated picture of your pet in case of separation.dog2
  4. In the event that weather related problems prevent you from getting back home to your fur baby, have a friend, family member or neighbor lined up who can get into your home to care for your dog at home (food, water, walking, companionship), or possibly take them to their home if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
  5. Keep ASPCA info on-hand. There is a free ASPCA mobile app that shows pet parents exactly what to do in case of a natural disaster. It also allows pet owners to store vital medical records and provides information on making life-saving decisions during natural disasters.

Another great idea is to connect with pet care providers outside of your area. Veterinary clinics, boarding facilities and animal shelters in neighboring communities can be resources to tap into if something happens in your community—they may be able to provide housing and care to your dog while your family regroups after a disaster.

Lastly, check out this Humane Society checklist for basic disasters. It includes many more tips that will help you prepare your dog for a natural disaster.