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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Preparing for Storms with your Dog

Preparing for Storms with your Dog  

 With the recent high level of tornado activity and the start of hurricane season upon us I thought it would be a good idea to tell you how to calm a dog or other pet during a disaster or storm.

I'll also post below the Family Disaster Dog Go Bag List for those who may of missed it before.

This is the season to be ready for a disaster to happen, especially if you live in tornado alley or on the coast where a hurricane can happen with little notice.  You should have at least a 3 day supply of food, first aid items, clothing and water in a carry bag near the front door in case you have to evacuate. Your dogs can carry these supplies if you need help due to age or disability, and your dog can carry extra supplies so your family can survive longer.

Now is the time to work with your family dog and show them how to carry a backpack with these supplies along with their own dog food. Train now while you have time.

You'll have a better chance of survival because you and your dog will know what to do.

Loud noises, sudden actions and frightening experiences can turn a well mannered peaceful pet into a nightmare to handle or calm.

Once out of control you or the animal can be seriously injured so the smartest thing to do is to be prepared by knowing what to do. 

Regardless if the animal is a dog, cat, rabbit or horse it can be calmed down when it is frightened or stressed with the use of voice and body movements.

Owners or handlers can unintentionally make an animal harder to handle if they do not know how to calm the animal.

Assess the Situation

The first concern before touching the animal is to try to determine what is making the animal upset.

Is the animal scared or mad because it does not want to do something being asked? Is the animal hurt? An injured animal can be very dangerous and difficult to handle and calm down.

Be careful as you slowly approach the animal. Do a quick visual assessment of what is going on in the animal’s surroundings as you approach. Try to see what might be causing the excitement. A caged animal may be caught or snagged on the fencing causing the animal to lash out as if hurt or mad.

Taking Action

Once the situation is apparent then a safe course of action can follow.

If the animal is upset due to something frightening or the animal is being asked to perform and refuses by turning mean or upset, STOP what is being done or remove what is frightening at once.

This often solves the problem and if the animal must become accustom to the situation then introduction the situation slowly to avoid fear driven reactions.

When an animal is otherwise upset and unruly a gentle hand and voice go a long way. Talk to the animal in a reassuring voice but only approach if the situation is safe.  Approach slowly but causally like all is well.

Once the animal can be approached in a calm manner without a reaction then attempt to lay a hand on them but otherwise keep hands and arms a safe distance away. When the animal can be petted and touched continue to pet and speak with them in a gentle manner until they can be touched all over. 

Avoid fast movements and loud noises until the animal feels safe. Always allow animals plenty of time to adjust to new surroundings and actions so they do not become unsure or frightened.

Animals are only mean or upset when frightened or injured because they really do not understand what mean is unless they are trained to be mean, especially dogs. In the wild they are not mean unless provoked.

Prepare for a Storm by Making each person and pet a

"Family Disaster Dog" Go Bag- 72 hour Bug Out Backpack

Place these items in a dog backpack after you have gotten your dog used to carrying the backpack by rubbing the pack over the dog and gently placing it on the dog without anything in it.  Allow the dog to wear the backpack  a little bit. to get use to it.

Slowly place the items in the bags. Go slowly so your dog doesn't get scared. Once they are comfortable with the packs then you can pack it and take them for a walk.  Be sure to tighten the straps slowly, and not to tightly.

Most dogs feel proud to have a backpack, they really like them.

Dog or Pet 72 hour Ready Bag-Go-Bag and Bug-Out Bag 

Items Needed

This is not the usually list of items needed in a bug out or go bag for pets. I've added extra items based on my SAR and Red Cross training plus personal experience. These items go into your dog's backpack with copies of dog Id, health record and your contact information, next of kin or emergency contact.

You keep copies of paperwork in your own backpack too.

Waterproof everything by placing each item in its own sealed baggie even if the dog backpack is waterproof.

Items to place in Dog or Cat Bug-Out Go-Bag are:

A current color photograph of you and your pet together (in case you are separated)

Food, water – 3-day supply for each pet and yourself
(you can hang water bottles from your dog's pack or harness)
Bowls - non-spill  w/lid if possible
Collar and leash -for dogs and cats

Muzzle or a pair of woman's panty hoses or stockings
(  Stockings are compact with many uses, such as a piece as a muzzle for a hurt animal, a filter to strain dirt from water, a bandage plus they can keep you warm or be used as an ace elastic bandage)

Instead of Poop Scoop Baggies just pack some regular sandwich bags so you can use them for other purposes too.

Treats, toy, at least 3 days worth of light weight high quality dog food.
1 small lightweight blanket, towel, or newspaper for warmth

ID tag should always be on pet's harness or collar
Extra name tag should be on the backpack, be sure to put a nameplate on your bag too, on attached so it will not come off. With your cell phone number.

In case you can drive away in order to evacuate or bug out. Pet carrier or crate for each pet labeled with pet and owner’s information (keep near your bag).

Allergy medicine or other special medicines with instructions

Pack the items below as a Pet First Aid Kit in its own small waterproof container or baggie that will fit in the dog's backpack.

Scissors-other pocket knife
Band-aids don't stick to dog fur but a few for your friends can come in handy.
Several Gauze pads and medical cotton squares
Alcohol Wipes
Instant cold pack (to big to carry-cold mud works in a pinch)
Medical and Adhesive tape
1 small bar Soap
1 small tube Antiseptic cream
1 small bottle Eye drops
10-20 Cotton balls
Powder Gatorade or electrolytes
Large Tea Bags (stops bleeding)
Vet Wrap (like an ace bandage for animals and sticks to itself,very handy)
Glow lite Sticks (hang one on your dog and self at night to be seen)

Wrap some pieces of duck tape around one of the bottles for later use
Make sure to waterproof every item.

If you are in snake country put a small container or baggie with the cooking spice Adolf's  Meat Tenderizer which contains a fruit extract which neutralizes snake and spider, Scorpion types of venom. I've used it several times with rattlesnake bit dogs.

Also pack 2 or more tubes depending on the size of your dog of Nutri-Cal Concentrated Dog Food. This a source used for sick animals that cannot eat. 1 teaspoon per 10lbs body weight will keep your dog alive after you run out of dog food. This is a good standby to have. 1 tube will keep a small dog well fed without any other food source for 4- 5 days.

If you have room in your dog's pack Family Disaster Dogs recommends adding these items to your dog’s Go-Bag or Bug Out pack.

A compass and a map of your area
A small flashlight with extra batteries or another light source
Water Purification Tablets
12 Hour Emergency Bright Sticks
16 Hour Hand Warmer
Mylar Emergency Blanket
Extra Collar & Leash Set
Reflective Dog Vest
Rain Coat and Boots will give your dog some protection in a nuclear fall out as will a full
Body rain suit for your self. in your dog's backpack.
Tie-Out leash or chain 10-15 ft long

You can get more information about go-bags and packing your dog for evacuation on the K9 Go Bag page link above.

Your Dog's Ready When You Are!!!

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