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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Safety


Tips to keep your pet safe during floods, storms


A safe-haven room in your home; a secure carrier; and a two-week supply of pet food, medications and bottled water can make the difference between life and death for a pet during a flood, major storm or natural disaster, a leading animal behaviorist says.

Those who want to make sure that their dogs and cats safe during natural disasters such as floods, major storms and hurricanes should have preparations in place so they can keep a pet with them at home or take the pet along if they must evacuate, according to Liam Crowe of Bark Busters USA.


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“People can easily get caught up in the chaos of the storm and forget to make preparations for their pets," Mr. Crowe states in a media release. "It is important to include your pets in your emergency safety plans. By following a few tips, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your pet.”

Most emergency shelters have no-pets policies, so Bark Busters advises pet parents to make preparations for accommodations. Ask friends or relatives if they can shelter you and your pets, look for pet-friendly facilities and lodging in your vicinity, and call pet boarding facilities, humane societies and animal control shelters to learn about their policies.

Those who must evacuate their homes should do everything possible to take pets along because animals left behind can be injured, lost or killed. Those who must leave pets behind should secure them in a bathroom (with drinking water in the tub), leave out plenty of food, and alert local officials that pets are in your home.

Pet emergency kit

Pet parents should assemble a pet emergency kit to keep with the family emergency kit. Use plastic zipper bags to protect the items. Items should include:
  • A collar with tags and a sturdy leash.
  • A two-week supply (or more) of a pet’s medications.
  • Photocopies of health records and a recent photo taken of you with your pet.
  • A two-week supply of pet food and bottled water, and bowls for each.
  • First-aid supplies, including bandages, tape, tweezers and antibacterial ointment.
  • A secure, covered carrier/crate that is large enough for your pet to completely turn around.
  • A flashlight and radio with fresh batteries.
  • A favorite toy or bedding to help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Cleaning supplies and disposable trash bags or newspaper for cleanup.
Before the emergency

Actions to take before the emergency:
  • Be sure pets are wearing identification or have a microchip implanted to help the return of a lost pet.
  • Keep pets current on all vaccinations and de-wormer.
  • Have a photograph taken of you with your pets to show proof of ownership should you become separated. Send copies of the photo to family and friends who live out of state for safekeeping.
  • Get a window decal so rescue workers know pets are in your home.
During the emergency

Actions to take during the emergency:
  • Take your pet with you to a safe room such as a basement.
  • Put your pet on a leash or in a covered carrier. This ensures you know where he is, provides a naturally safe environment and allows you to move him to safe areas as needed.
  • Remain calm because if you act anxious, your pet will sense and feed off your mood.
  • Act as natural as possible. Do not comfort pets that shows signs of anxiety, because this will sound like praise and may increase nervousness and confusion.
After the emergency

Actions to take after the emergency:
  • Keep pets inside if emergency officials advise you to remain in your home.
  • When safe to go outside, walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to the area and your home.
  • If you have lost your pet, contact local animal control officers to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along that photo of you with your pet to help shelter workers identify your missing pal.
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A lot of confusion can occur during big storms, so preparation is the key to keeping pets safe, Mr. Crowe said. "Natural disasters bring a lot of stress for pets and pet owners alike.”

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