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Preparing for a Natural Disaster

With hurricane season in full swing, and Hurricane Dorian approaching the United States with landfall imminent, it’s very important for English Bulldog owners to be prepared. This article will focus mainly on hurricanes as most of our followers are in the Southeast and along the east & gulf coast. However, there are many tips that can be utilized for other disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, and power outages.

It’s often not possible to prepare for natural disasters, but there are a few steps you can take ahead of time to ensure you and your fur babies are prepared:


1. Stay Informed. Once you hear that a hurricane is imminent, be sure to stay vigilant. Watch both your local and national news and use multiple news sources. Paths and strength can change in the matter of hours, which means your plans can change just as quickly. The more you are informed, the more you can make an educated decision on what to do next.


2. Plan Ahead. The more dogs you have, the farther in advance you need to plan. Be sure to always have a “to-go” bag prepared with at least 7 days of food, water, toys, bedding, and medicine for your bulldogs. Include copies of vaccination, registration, and microchip records just in case you need to leave in a hurry. Don’t forget to include an animal first aid kit and flashlights in your bag. Reach out to family & friends to find out where you can stay in the event you need to leave your home. Locate boarding facilities and animal hospitals near you, and if applicable, locate a veterinarian or animal hospital near where you will be evacuating to. Decide if you will be sheltering in-place, staying with family and friends, or staying at a public shelter. Many shelters do not allow animals so always check before you go!

3. Shelters & Evacuation Routes. Be aware of shelter locations and requirements – most dogs require a collar and tag, full vaccinations with records, and a kennel. Some shelters also limit you on the number of dogs you can bring in, so be sure you check before you load your bulldog(s) up in the car and head to a local shelter. If you will be evacuating, be sure you leave in plenty of time to avoid traffic and delays, and don’t be afraid to stop if you notice your dog becoming anxious or worried. Always have a back-up route in the event highways are blocked. If you are away from your home during the day (ie. Work), be sure you know multiple routes to get back home if you experience a natural disaster while you’re not at your house.

4. Stay Connected. A landline phone is not a bad idea, since a natural disaster will often affect cell phone service. Write your emergency numbers down on a piece of paper in the event you loose power or if you don’t have access to your cell phone. Be sure your family and friends know your emergency plan and tell them that you expect to check in frequently. If you fail to check in, there should be things your family should do – such as contacting other family members or emergency services.

5. Emergency Kit. Of course, you should have a natural disaster emergency kit ready to go but be sure you are remembering your bulldog when preparing your kit. In addition to food, water, and supplies for humans, your dogs will need some items to ensure they are well taken cared for during the disaster. Include the below dog-friendly items in your emergency kit:




  • TWO WEEKS of food, water, and medicine (plus your vet’s contact and instructions to administer medicine and food). Put these in waterproof containers. The containers will help with secure transport and can be utilized for other tasks.

  • Familiar Toys

  • Extra Bedding & Blankets

  • No-Spill Food & Water Bowls

  • Vaccination, Registration, Medical Summary, Insurance, & Microchip Records. Include your contact information & a recent photo in the event you’re separated from your dog. You can never include too much information.

  • Leash, Collar with ID, Harness. Grabbing an extra leash or two isn’t a bad idea.

  • Kennel for Transport & Temporary Housing

  • Manual Can Opener (if you dog is on soft or wet food)

  • Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicine for 1 Month

  • Treats / Snacks

  • Plastic Bags, Paper Towels, Disinfectant, and Baby Wipes for Accidents

  • Animal First Aid Kit (with flashlights & headlamps) & Animal First Aid Book

Spend some time getting familiar with your supplies and your kit – you want to be comfortable with your kit and you should be able to get to any of these above items quickly and easily. You also want you dog to be familiar with evacuating, so practice with your dog beforehand – load them in the kennel and go for a quick ride so they are more comfortable during a real evacuation.


My mom says "evacuation" but all I hear is "CAR RIDE!"

6. Take Action. Keep constant watch over your bulldog so you know where he or she is at all times in the event you need to grab them and leave quickly. If you are evacuating, set a time in which you decide you will leave, and be sure you have put all preparations in place by that time. NEVER LEAVE YOUR BULLDOG AT HOME IF YOU ARE EVACUATING!! If you are sheltering in place, declare a time that you plan to be finished with your preparations so there are no surprises. Select a safe room in your home (interior room with few or no windows) and remove pet hazards ahead of time – you want it ready if the weather gets bad and you need to get yourself and your bulldog(s) there quickly.


Hurricane Tip: Place pieces of sod in a kiddie pool for your dog to potty during the storm, and place in the garage. Never let your dog off their leash in the yard during a storm - hurricanes often scare dogs and they can spook easily & run away. This is also helpful for after a storm when fences & gates are damaged.

7. Returning Home. Once the danger has passed and you are ready to return home (or venture outside if you are staying in place), remember that your bulldog’s familiar scents and landmarks may have changed. They may become confused, anxious, and lost in their new surrounds. Until you can safely clean the area and remove debris, keep your dog on a leash or in their kennel. Check your home & yard for spilled chemical, hazardous debris, sharp objects, and exposed wiring, and remove these hazards before allowing your bulldog to run freely. Pay attention to any behavioral changes in your dog after the event – normally quiet animals can be irritable and anxious.


Once the clean-up is finished, check your area to be sure there are no other hazards present. Only let your dog roam freely if there are no other hazards or issues that could affect their health and well-being.


Helpful Links


2. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/features/petsanddisasters/index.html




5. Find Pet Friendly Hotels:


Local animal shelters can offer advice on what to do with your pet if you need to evacuate your home.


7. Relief Organizations: https://redrover.org/

Red Rover helps to shelter and care for animals displaced by a natural disaster.

 

Questions? Comments? Further points to add?

LET US KNOW!

 

The information in this post expresses the opinion and recommendations of the owner of Sweetgrass English Bulldogs. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinarian advise, and Sweetgrass English Bulldogs is not responsible or liable for any loss or damages as a result of implementation or instructions of the above article. Sweetgrass English Bulldogs is not a licensed veterinarian, does not claim to be, and the information contained in this article should not be accepted as such. Please use common sense and contact your veterinarian if you are concerned with issues affecting your bulldog.

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