How Dog Owners Can Be Prepared During Wildfires

If you live on the West Coast, you may have to deal with wildfires. As a pet owner, you need to take preventative steps to ensure you and your animals are ready for an evacuation. There are a few suggestions you can use to keep everyone safe. It's not fun to talk about potential disasters, but you have to prepare for them adequately.

Here's a look at different steps you and your furry friends can take to stay protected:

1. Pay Attention to the News

It's always smart to stay as updated as possible. You should have more than one way to receive information, so you can watch for news on your phone, computer, TV, radio, and more. A wildfire can turn into an urgent matter rather quickly. As a result, you need to know exactly when to evacuate. You can watch for active incidents on National Interagency's Fire Center map and tune into your local radio station for evacuation information.

You may want to download the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) mobile app for continuous updates on disasters near you. This way, you don't have to refresh a webpage constantly to find updates. It's a lot easier to manage stressful situations when you set up information to come to you directly.

2. Update All Identification

When did you last update your dog's identification? There could be outdated information on their tags, so you'll want to buy them new ones. You can also talk to your veterinarian about microchips. If your dog doesn't have one, you should consider your options. A microchip will help you locate your dog if they're lost. Your pet will have an accessible and updated profile on a national database for people to reference.

These steps can ensure they're found more easily when you can't locate them. Plus, you can check them into a boarding facility quicker. In any case, you don't want to forget to update your dog's information. You never know what could happen, so it's best to tick every box.

3. Make an Evacuation Kit

A wildfire can spread rapidly. You likely won't have much time to gather supplies when you're focused on other necessities. Therefore, make a kit with supplies that you can keep stocked year-round. Then, you can simply grab and go. Here's what you should assemble:

  • Each animal's crate labeled with your name, address and number.
  • Water, food and treats.
  • Medication and records.
  • Pictures of each animal to prove your ownership.

It's smart to crate train your dog if you haven't already. This way, you won't have to urge them to settle into their crate — and waste time as a result. Be sure to keep an eye on any food expiration dates, as you'll want to replace those items when needed.

4. Plan Where to Stay

You'll likely need to put extra thought into where you plan to stay. That's because many hotels don't have animal-friendly policies. You can't always predict wildfires, so you shouldn't have to make any reservations. Instead, you'll want to keep a list that outlines which places do accept pets. Then, you'll be able to narrow your search in case you need to hop into your car and leave your house immediately.

You should consider your friends' and family's houses, as well. You may have loved ones who live in another area who can take in your family and pets. That would be your best bet if you can't find a place to accommodate your pets. Be sure everyone knows your plans. This way, you'll know where to go if you become separated from one another. It's always smart to have a strategy for these situations.

Use These Tips to Keep You and Your Furry Friends Safe

A wildfire can prove devastating for anyone. If you have pets, you'll want to ensure you take steps to protect them and you. Try these ideas to stay safe.



Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

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