National Dog Day is Friday, August 26, and to celebrate, the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada encourages pet owners to create a disaster preparedness plan for their dogs and other pets.
Indeed, if a family needs to evacuate in a disaster, so do the pets – and a plan needs to be in place.
“Dogs and other pets are an important part of any family, so it’s just as important to include them in the family emergency preparedness plan,” said Mary Powell, executive director of the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross. “For example, many hotels and shelters do not accept animals other than service animals. In fact, most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets for health and safety reasons – only service animals are allowed.
National Dog Day was founded in 2004 to bring attention to the plight of animals around the world and encourage adoption with an annual day of recognition on August 26. The Red Cross, with our partners the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, dedicates National Dog Day to ensure companion animals are included in family emergency plans.
The foundation supports animal welfare causes and organizations and, as part of a generous donation, is working with the Red Cross of Northern Nevada to advise on including companion animal initiatives in the disaster response planning in Nevada.
“The time to prepare for your pets in a disaster is now,” Powell emphasized, “before disaster strikes.”
The Red Cross offers five simple tips to prepare pets for an emergency evacuation:
- Involve your pets in evacuation drills so they get used to entering and traveling safely in cages.
- Consider having your pet microchipped by your veterinarian and make sure the collar tag identification information is up to date.
- Pets should have their own emergency kit which includes a strong leash, harness or carriers to transport them safely and ensure they cannot escape.
- Include pet food, water, bowl, pet bed and pet toys.
- Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in the event of an emergency. (Call ahead to book if you know you may need to evacuate; ask if any pet policies can be overridden in an emergency.)
The Red Cross guide is primarily for dogs and cats. For advice on disaster planning for livestock, horses, birds, reptiles or small animals such as gerbils and hamsters, please visit The Humane Society of the United States Where Ready.gov