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It's a fact; EVERYPLACE has a danger of a major catastrophe - from hurricanes to earthquakes to fires to blizzards. (ohh, let's not forget about tornadoes!)
You may like to think it won't happen to you but sheesh, really?
Wouldn't it be nice to have your dog a LITTLE more prepared than what he is?
Your pup has NO IDEA his world could fall apart, we can at least give him SOME tools to use in an emergency, right?
You can read below or click HERE to read it on their website (mine, below is updated) an article I wrote for the Bay Woof, years and years ago. It's geared toward earthquakes because that's (and fire) the kind of area that paper is in.
That said... last year that area flooded like mad and this year was a pretty horrible couple of heat waves and some fires so....
Big or small, they could happen at any time; I remember a beautiful, well cared for and loved Golden Retriever who was brought in to the vet hospital where I worked. She had been hit by a car and was in critical condition. When her teenage family member ran to comfort and help her, the dog, in its terror, bit a large part of the girl’s nose off. One parent went to the hospital in the ambulance with the girl and one brought the dog to us. To say the family was devastated is an understatement.
When we think about what might happen to our dogs in a major disaster, this story should be a lesson to us.
From Yorkies to Mastiffs, all dogs can be unpredictable in scary or painful situations, and they may even bite. Learning your dog’s current tolerances for stressors and teaching him what might happen in an emergency will greatly improve the chances that you will both get through it with minimal damage.
Panic, pain, and disorientation can all cause a dog to bite. We all want to think that our dogs will never experience those things, but you never know.
Consider a big earthquake. Many of us have disaster plans and kits (please remember that a dog first aid kit is essential!), but in those chaotic, terrifying moments, can you count on your dog to help you help him?
If you’re loud/frantic/scared you sure need your pup to come running, not hide when you call.
It’s likely, in any disaster, there would be broken glass all over; if she cut her foot would you be able to clean and bandage it?
If you don’t learn how to do that now, you won’t be able to in an emergency - sign up for a pet First Aid class right away.
Will he let you rush to him and pick him up, even if he’s hurt or you’re in a panic, or will your emotions cause him to be so confused and/or scared that he refuses to come close?
It’s not just natural disasters we should be thinking about. What if your door gets left open by a guest? Can you call your dog back?
If you don’t even know it happened, a perfect recall won’t help. Would your neighbor or a concerned stranger be able to grab him by the collar?
ID tags don’t help if no one can get close enough to read them! If firefighters had to get into your home, would they be able to lead your dog to safety or would she hide under the bed?
No matter how well trained your dog is and how “in place” your life seems today, unexpected things happen; we know this but we can’t tell our dogs, so we have to prepare them through training.
Think about the worst situation you can imagine and teach the things your dog will have to do or tolerate should it come to pass.
The noise, the shaking, things falling from shelves, furniture moving, smoke detectors, power's out and you can't even see him. Your own fear will be hard enough to deal with even if you're properly prepared.
If you haven’t prepped him with “emergency drills” you both will certainly regret it.
What to do? First off, take a canine First Aid class. I know, most people don’t even take a people first aid class, but we don’t have ambulances and paramedics for dogs.
Get your dog used to having her feet handled by pretending to place a bandage - then have a friend do it, then a stranger.
THIS IS A BIGGIE! You have only to look at the pictures from the hurricanes to know that there will be a time you'll want to carry your dog. Whether it's because of water, rubble or scorched earth, you need to know this is a possibility.
Teach your dog, however big, that being picked up is a good thing and that being on a sheet or tarp and then being dragged on it (often the only way to move a large, immobile dog) is not scary.
Many tiny dogs have learned to stay out of arm’s reach and so will be in trouble if they need to be caught by a stranger – like a fireman or kindly stranger – during an emergency. Practice to increase their trust and tolerance of people reaching for them.
There is a lot to consider, even more to put into practice. Check the ShakeOut.org/California website for extra information about what to expect in a bad quake. The time to teach anything is when you don’t need it; waiting until you do need it will be too late.
Disasters happen and preparing our dogs for them is the sensible, practical, and kind thing to do.