Speaking of Pets: Disaster Preparedness: Planning

Capts Cal Fire. Derek Leong, right, and Tristan Gale oversee a shooting operation, where teams started a fire on the ground to prevent a wildfire from spreading, while battling the Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest, Calif., Monday July 26, 2021 (AP Photo / Noé Berger)

I spoke about forest fire safety last year, but thought it was time to get back to it.

Have a plan

Make sure you have a strategy ahead of time for gathering important items and your pets, knowing how to get out of your house, identifying escape routes, and designating someone to act as a contact in case you get separated from your house. your family.

It is essential to have both a human and canine “go bag” that you can grab instantly. Your dog’s bag should include the equivalent of five days of food and water, medication or a list of medications, a first aid kit, contact information for your vet, a recent photo of your dog, and a toy or a familiar blanket that will help your dog feel safe in a strange place.

Protect your dog

Smoke from wildfires can be just as toxic to your dog as it is to you.
Fernanda Nuso / Unsplash

Make sure your dog wears a collar with up-to-date ID tags, including the dog’s name and your mobile and landline number. Equally important, have your dog microchipped: it’s inexpensive and painless, and will help you reunite if your dog ends up in a shelter.

Make hard or digital copies of your dog’s vaccination records, especially rabies, and include details of acute medical conditions and prescription medications.

Put a “Save My Pet” sticker near the front door so firefighters know there is a pet inside. (I carry a similar card in my wallet telling emergency personnel that I have pets at home, in case I am injured or unable to communicate.)

Remember, smoke from forest fires can be just as toxic to your dog as it is to you. Once you start to smell the smoke, put your dog inside and close all windows and doors. Avoid walks or prolonged periods outdoors. Keep in mind that older dogs or those with cardiovascular or respiratory issues are at high risk for irritation from smoke. If you notice continued coughing or wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, or eye irritation in your dog due to poor air quality, contact your veterinarian.

Next time I will talk more about dealing with a disaster like a forest fire.

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her Golden Retriever Joey and Maine Coon Indy cat. She points out that she is not a vet or animal behaviorist, but an animal lover who has been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at [email protected].

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