Tips for dog owners on disaster preparedness

Hurricane season is in full swing, and your dog’s survival in a natural disaster, as well as your own, depends largely on whether or not you are prepared. Taking the time to plan now could mean the difference between life and death for your pets. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips to help dog owners 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. Visit to learn more about microchips.

First Published July 21, 2014 12:00 AM