Pet Disaster Preparedness: Part I

Super Smiley here! I’m writing first because I’ve experienced three fire evacuations with my family of horses, cats, two humans and my German Shepherd girlfriend, Angel! We live in Malibu, and one year during “fire season,” we evacuated two times! Even though it was stressful, we knew what to do and the plan worked! This is what my home looked like — so scary!

4. Disaster Prepare extra photo 4

I’m also an official HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response Dog with my human teammate, Megan. With HOPE, we not only go into disaster areas and provide comfort, but part of our job is to be prepared. Here’s how you can be prepared:

  • Most Basic Tip! From my perspective as a dog, I look to my person for leadership and to take care of me. So probably the most basic tip of all (so basic that you may not even think of it as disaster preparedness) is to train your dog! Make sure they know how to look at you and listen. This alone could save their lives.
  • Travel Crate! Teach your small dogs that their travel crate is their safe zone where they can chill. This way, if a disaster strikes, they will know how to load into their travel crates quickly and can relax in there like it’s their little cool condo. It’s a good idea to have a collapsible travel crate for your big dog, too, so he can rest in it if you all are stuck in a crowded or non-pet-friendly area.
  • Cats? The same goes for the cats out there. “What????” you might say! Yes, make sure your kitty is trained to go into and stay comfortably in her travel bag. That way, you can quickly pack her up and she’ll be fine as long as that bag stays right with you. Are you worried your kitty might freak? If so, you can pack the calming collar that mimics the pheromone that calms kittens.
  • 5. Disaster Prepare extra photoDisaster Backpack. When we evacuated during the fires, my person, Megan,  had to lead two horses along with Angel and me down the mountain to the beach where we would be safe from the approaching fire. When we got to the beach, Megan had this amazing bag full of stuff just for us! She laid out a towel so Angel’s and my feet wouldn’t get too hot on the cement. Then she offered us bottled water that she poured into the collapsible water bowl — all right from her disaster backpack. We had to walk down the highway a bit, too, so to keep our feet protected, so she put dog booties on our paws. 
  • Keep’em Calm. Would your dog get stressed if you were super stressed running from a disaster? My guess would be “Yes!”  To help distract ‘em from the chaos and give ‘em a positive experience during all this, I personally recommend a Zoink! Wave Toy and putting Chewy Bites Peanut Butter treats inside of it. Add this to your backpack and your dog can focus on digging out the treats while you focus on the business at hand.
  • How can you keep their routine as normal as possible? During a disaster this is almost impossible, but what can help is some fun time. I mean play time! Before a disaster, let your dog play with a way cool toy just enough to get his and your scent on it, then put it in the pack for when disaster strikes!

From my view, the main thing is to stay calm, and your dog will know he is in good hands. Coming very soon: Megan will be sharing more Preparedness Tips with a list of what to include in your Pet Disaster Backpack!

Until next time, Woof and Super Smiles from Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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