Disaster Preparedness for Your Dog

How can you take care of your dog in an emergency?

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
June 13, 2011
Episode #107

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Fire, flood, tornado, earthquake. Disaster is hard even to think about, maybe especially if you live in a place prone to any kind of natural catastrophe. But your odds of survival go up if you have an emergency plan. And so do the odds for your dog. So let’s grit our teeth and deal.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Dog

Since this is The Dog Trainer’s Quick and Dirty Tips, I’ve focused this article on, yes, dogs. But the links at the bottom of the page will take you to info about how to take care of your other companion animals as well.

Make Sure Your Dog Has Up-to-Date ID

Disaster or no disaster, Dogalini should have ID: not only a collar and tags, but a microchip and maybe a tattoo as well. A microchip more than doubles the odds that you’ll be reunited with your dog if she winds up in a shelter after getting lost. Plus, you may need to prove ownership, so keep the chip’s registration up to date.

Emergency Shelters Usually Don’t Allow Animals

Now to the nitty-gritty of keeping safe. Since Hurricane Katrina, there has been some movement to establish pet-friendly evacuation shelters. Check your local emergency services and animal control agencies to see if one is available in your area. But evacuation shelters usually don’t admit pets, owing to the perceived health risks. (Incidentally, shelters do have to admit service dogs.) Even shelters that admit pets are likely to house them separately from their guardians—a pretty big stressor for both animal and human.


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