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It's A Dog's Life - YOUR Dog's! Newsletter, Issue #001 -- Disaster Preparedness
September 29, 2005
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Save your dog's life with dog first aid!

Whether you're new to dog ownership, or a long-time friend; have a puppy, or care for a senior dog; own a purebred, or a cross from the rescue centre; regardless of your situation, your dog is precious to you.

You want only the best for your dog, just like you want the best for every member of your family. This newsletter has the information and resources you need to give your dog the best -- the best of health, the best of safety, the best of lifelong wellbeing.

With some prevention and some planning, you can keep your dog healthy and safe, for years to come.

If you find this newsletter useful, please do a friend and us a big favour and "pay it forward." Forward this issue to all the dog lovers you know. Dogs everywhere will thank you for it!

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Dog First Aid 101

You and your dog will both be glad you did.


Issue 1, September 2005

Table of Contents

Leave Your Dog Behind?

Know Your Disaster Threats

Make an Evacuation Plan

Your Dog's Evacuation Kit

Visit Your Vet

Information and Records

Find an Evacuation Buddy

Rehearse Your Evacuation


Leave Your Dog Behind?

Would you leave your dog behind in a disaster? You don't need to if you plan ahead!

After Hurricane Katrina, television crews showed us thousands of abandoned dogs and other pets. Their owners didn't want to leave behind these beloved companions. And while rescuers were allowing people to take pets with them (a change of policy from a few years ago), many shelters still did not allow animals, except for guide dogs.

You can save your dog from the plight of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Here's how.

Know Your Disaster Threats

If you don't know which disasters can affect you and your dog, you can't plan effectively. Preparing for blizzards requires different equipment and skills than does preparing for a hurricane.

Is there a regular season to the disasters in your area. There is a definite hurricane season, and of course there is a blizzard season, called winter. Spring flooding and tornados don't occur during winter.

Some disasters don't have a season, particularly man-made ones, like hazardous waste spills, nuclear accidents and acts of terrorism.

The effects of some disasters are short-lived or occur over a small area only. Others, like a hurricane, can leave a trail of destruction hundreds of miles long that can take years to recover from.

You also need to plan differently if the typical disaster in your area may keep you away from your home for weeks or months. If you live near a nuclear power plant, any disaster there could keep you away from home forever. You need to plan for that.

Make an Evacuation Plan

Once you know what your threats are, plan how you and your dog will escape them. Plan your routes out of town (you should have at least two routes - one route may be blocked, or the storm or other threat may be coming from the direction you've planned to escape to.

Also plan where you'll stay. Don't leave this to hope and prayer. This point is probably the biggest reason why dogs and other pets are abandoned during disasters.

Are you hoping to stay with family or friends away from the disaster? Ask them ahead of time, and ask if you can bring your dog.

No family or friends within driving distance? There are many hotels, motels and other accommodations that accept dogs. But don't leave this to the last minute. Others will have the same idea, so you may arrive safely but have no place to stay other than your car.

Your Dog's Evacuation Kit

You need an evacuation kit. So does your dog. You need a duffel bag or plastic tote container with everything your dog will need for two weeks. Have it ready to go at all times, especially if you have a disaster season.

You'll need a two week supply of food and water, food and water bowls, his medications, a leash and collar, some treats and toys, and anything else you think he might need, or that will help him get through this stressful period.

Visit Your Vet

Before you store your dog's evacuation kit, visit your vet to discuss medications, vaccination requirements, and anything else you think may affect your dog's health. If he requires prescription meds, buy an extra two week supply, then rotate through what you have so that you always have extra ready to go at a moment's notice.

Information and Records

Many kennels, boarding operations, and vet clinics will not accept your dog without proof of vaccination against contagious diseases. If the two of you are ever separated, his identification may be the only way you see each other again. Be sure to have him microchipped or tattooed, and be certain that he has at least one dog tag.

Take one or two photos of your dog, have duplicates made, and write his name and identifying features on the back of each. Also note that he has been vaccinated, and put your contact information on each one. If you lose your dog, you can hand out his photo to the police and other rescuers, or put posters up near your emergency shelter or hotel.

Find an Evacuation Buddy

It's easier to do just about anything when you have help. Find a neighbour or co-worker who is willing to prepare and rehearse with you, and is willing to take your dog to safety if you're away from home when disaster strikes.

Be sure to sign a consent for veterinary care so that your buddy can obtain medical help should your dog be injured or become sick.

Rehearse Your Evacuation

If you have a buddy, practice your evacuations together. Travel your routes together a few times, for 15 or 20 minutes each, until you're both sure of the routes and are familiar with how the other drives.

Once you have practiced leaving together, each of you practice collecting the other's dog and his evacuation kit. Once you're comfortable with that, it's time to practice evacuating on your own. This may not be much different from evacuating together, but it's useful to prepare based on you doing it all without help or backup.

One other benefit you'll find to preparing for and rehearsing for disasters - you're dog will become familiar with the procedures, and will be less panicky if you ever need to evacuate for real.

There you have it, the best way to keep you and your dog together during a disaster. Please see Disaster Preparedness if you want more in-depth information about preparing yourself and your dog for the worst.


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