After attending a canine emergency seminar, I put together a first aid kit that included Elizabethan collars, bandages, eye wash, antibacterial ointment and contact information for the emergency vet. I was feeling pretty prepared, though, of course, I hoped that I’d never have to use any of it.
Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a serious emergency, but a little prep will help make them less stressful for both you and your dog. Here are some tips I came across when I started thinking about my emergency plan.
While emergencies can come in many forms, an important starting point is to plan your evacuation route in a worst-case scenario where you must quickly leave home.
- Put an “Animals Inside” sticker on your door (available free through the ASPCA)
- Know which hotels along your evacuation route are pet friendly
- Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters and/or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency
Prepare Your Pets
It might seem silly, but it’s actually incredibly helpful to practice emergency drills. It’s a good reminder about how helpful basic cues are in our day-to-day lives because these skills will become crucial in emergencies.
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- Do regular reinforcement training of basic skills (nose touch, sit, stay and come)
- Include pets in evacuation drills
- Get your dog accustomed to going in their crates
- Ensure your dog is wearing a collar with identification and is implanted with a microchip
Create a portable emergency kit with leashes, harnesses, food, drinking water, medication, and information on feeding schedules, behavior problems and medical records.
- Pet first-aid kit including bandages, tweezers, scissors, antibiotic ointment, cotton balls, styptic powder are good starts or order a pet first-aid starter kit online.
- Several days worth of dog food and water
- Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
- Poop bags for clean-up
- Food and water bowls
- Extra collar, harness and leash
- A crate for each pet
- Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
Check out the ASPCA for more resources on creating a pet first aid kit and preparing for an emergency.