In the last few weeks alone, the world has been shaken by several different natural disasters including hurricanes, severe flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. These natural disasters highlight the importance of taking the time to plan and prepare so that your family INCLUDING beloved pets are ready should disaster strike.
National Preparedness Month falls each year during the month of September in the US. The occasion is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security. The goal is to encourage Americans to take preparedness steps for emergencies such as natural disasters that may affect them.
This post is sponsored by Sleepypod. I am being compensated to help share information about Sleepypod, but Beagles & Bargains only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.
Research Threats to Your Area
Here in Colorado, we’re much more at risk for snow storms than folks in Florida who have to deal with hurricanes and people in Oklahoma who need to stay safe from tornadoes. It’s good practice to be aware of what types of disasters your home town is at risk for. While it is important to be prepared, you also want to make sure you are prepared for the right emergencies!
A great way to do this is to look into what types of disasters have happened nearby in the past and determine how frequently they occur. I found these two maps from CNN Money and Business Insider to be helpful in determining what I should prepare for.
Don’t forget to reanalyze these dangers each time you move, especially if it’s out of state or more than just a few miles down the road.
Update Your Dog’s ID Tags and Microchip Information
We’ve been in Colorado for almost two months now and I’m guilty of not yet updating Ralph & Luna’s microchip information. Have you moved recently? Or have you not checked your pet’s microchip information in a year or two? If so, go do it now. Don’t worry I’ll wait.
Back? Good. Now that your pet’s microchips are updated with your current address and contact information we can chat about the importance of having multiple lines of defense when it comes to pet identification.
I use three methods of identification with both my dogs. Each one was microchipped as soon as I adopted them and then I registered their chip number right away.
They both wear a standard ID tag with their name, my name, a phone number, and an email address. I elected to use an email address instead of a mailing address, so I don’t have to replace the tag every time we move (which has been a lot lately). I’d rather invest in a quality tag that will last a long time and even look stylish or cute.
Recently I was introduced to Sleepypod Pendants which are identification tags made from jewelry-grade 100% stainless steel or 18k gold-plated stainless steel. The tags are thicker than most and will not rust, corrode, oxidize, or stain over time. They are also engraved using Diamond Deep Engraving to ensure the important contact information won’t fade. I just LOVE how these tags combine whimsy with their fun designs of a chick, elephant, sheep, lion, whale, and stegosaurus with high quality quality materials and longevity. If you are going to invest in a quality pet ID tag, this is a great option.
Ralph & Luna also each wear a tag from PetHub, which has a QR code than can be scanned for more information. PetHub will also notify me if and when one of my dogs’ tags have been scanned because I registered for an account with them.
My hope is that if one of these methods fails, then one of the other two will still be successful.
Make a Plan
Your plan is going to be different from my plan based on what kind of pets you have, where you live, and about one thousand other factors, so unfortunately that means that I can’t offer up the perfect plan to you today. However, I can encourage you to think about what you might need to do or know ahead of time in the event of an emergency.
Some good questions to ask yourself when making your plan are:
How will I determine if it is safe to stay at home?
If I have to leave my home, where will I go?
Who will come with me? Family? Pets?
How will I get there?
How long might I be there?
How will I communicate with loved ones? Should we have a rendevous point?
No matter what your plan is, make sure everyone that is involved is aware of the role that they will have to play. If you have to, type it up and print it out. And don’t forget to refresh your memory of the plan every 6-months or so.
Create a Go Bag or Emergency Kit
If you don’t have a Go Bag or emergency kit together already, I encourage you to start thinking and planning on putting one together. What exactly you should put inside your emergency bag is a post for another day, but you can consider some of the major categories – water, food, shelter, first aid, defense – and start gathering things from around your house.
We have a two tiered system at our house. My boyfriend and I each have a large hiking backpack with immediate necessities. We don’t have a dedicated pet Go Bag. Instead, we decided to split the pet supplies between our two bags. After ensuring that everyone (humans and dogs) is able to get out safe, we grab these bags.
If we have a little more time, then we also have a large plastic bin that we can quickly grab containing even more supplies. This box was actually designed as our camping box, so it has cooking utensils, sleeping bags, a tent, paper products, and more.
Store Leashes, Collars, Harnesses, and Pet Carriers Near Exits
While you absolutely should have a plan in place and a Go Bag or kit ready for grabbing, you also want to be prepared if you don’t even have time for that. Getting everyone out safely is the number one priority, so when it comes to your pets you want to make sure you have methods of transport right by your exit. You don’t want to waste valuable time fumbling around trying to find your dog’s leash!
I make sure to keep a set of leashes and our Sleepypod Clickit Sport harnesses right by our front door on a set of hooks. It’s easy to put them up when we get back from walks and they are right there whenever we need them. Our dogs wear their collars almost always – even when at home – but if they didn’t I would keep them there too.
In a nearby coat closet, I also keep our Sleepypod Air carriers for easy grabbing. While not all dogs will fit in a carrier, some other pets such as cats might travel better than way. If you have a pet who will fit in a carrier, it is a great option for keeping them out of harms way and to have a bit more control when things are chaotic. I also like to keep an extra leash and collar set inside a carrier pocket along with a copy of vet records and emergency phone numbers.
Subscribe to Weather Alerts
With modern technology, being notified of evacuations and other major weather related emergencies is a lot easier. If you own a cell phone, you may find that you are automatically pushed a notification and it’s hard to ignore all the talk you hear when you turn on the TV or read when you are on the internet. It’s hard for a reason! Don’t ignore these messages and alerts. They are for your safety and the safety of your family. If you are told to evacuate, take it seriously and be ready to make plans for your pets right away.
You can find out more on emergency alerts by visiting the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
Stay Healthy and Fit
The healthier and more fit you are on a normal day, the better chance you have staying that way during an emergency. Make good health choices for both you and your pets by eating healthy and staying active. Just remember an obese dog will be much harder to transport during an evacuation than a fit one. And you’ll be much more able to deal with the emotional and physical stress if you’re healthy too.
Even if you can’t get to the gym every day, get out and go on long walks with your dog regularly. It’s a great bonding experience and you’ll be glad you did in the event of a natural disaster.
Train Your Dog
Having a good recall is super important in an emergency situation, but so is just overall training and obedience. You want to make sure that your dog will behave in an emergency situation especially if it feels like chaos. Regularly practice the basics (sit, down, stay) with your pup to keep them sharp and fresh. In my opinion, a dog can never have too much positive training!
Another good command to teach is speak. If you get separated from your dog for any reason and they can’t find their way to you, you may be able to locate them by asking them to speak and following the sound of their bark.
Do you have an emergency plan in place? Does it include your pets?
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Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about the Sleepypod Pendants. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.
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