4 Fast Things Pet Owners Can Do to Save Their Dog in a Natural Disaster

September marks the middle of hurricane season—as well as the one-year anniversary of the AKC Pet Disaster Relief program.

Your dog’s survival in a natural disaster, as well as your own, depends largely on whether or not you are prepared. Use the following tips to prepare for an evacuation in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster. 

Keep your dog with you. Most evacuations only last a few days, but there may be instances where you’re unable to return to your home quickly. Your dog will be safest with you. Make sure you have a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting in the event of an emergency. 

Coordinate shelter.  If you plan on going to a hotel in the event of an emergency evacuation, call ahead to make sure animals are welcome. Most hotels tend to relax their pet policies during times of crises, but don’t assume that will happen. Hotel pet policies are typically found on their website. Also, animal-related businesses often offer shelter for people, family members, and animals in the event of an emergency. 

Have documents and a bag packed.  Keep copies of your dog license, vaccination documents, and health records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container. Ask your veterinarian for copies of all records of your pets so that you have them at the ready. Keep an emergency bag packed with your pet’s health records and medications, food and water bowls, food for one week, a gallon of water, a portable kennel/crate, pet bedding, and a leash.

Always have ID.  Make sure your dog wears a collar with his rabies tag and identification at all times. The AKC also recommends a permanent identification, such as a microchip along with enrollment in a pet recovery service.

In the last year, the AKC Pet Disaster Relief program has donated ten trailers stocked with pet care and sheltering supplies to emergency management teams across the country, with ten more trailers heading out the door in the coming months. The life-saving equipment helps create a safe, temporary home-base for at least 65 pets immediately after a disaster is declared, allowing people to safely evacuate with their pets to emergency shelters.