Episode 12- Emergency Planning for your Pet

Corey McCusker  00:03
Hello dog lovers, and welcome to Muttz with Mannerz™ Canine Academy Podcast, where we’ll share dog training tips and educational information to help you raise your pup, young or old, so they can be a loving part of your family and your community for life. I’m your host, Corey McCusker, Canine Coach, and with me is Diane Purser, Education Manager. Let me tell you a bit about our podcast. Today, we will be talking about a topic that all pet owners should be prepared for – and we hope it never happens – but sometimes, unfortunately, it does. What I’m referring to is an emergency situation, like a house fire, an accident, or maybe even a power outage. How many of you listening have made emergency plans in case something did happen to ensure your dog is cared for? Diane and I want to discuss some of the points and provide some tips and resources so you can put a plan in place.

Diane Purser  01:01
Yeah, it’s a big topic, right, Corey? Very important.  

Corey McCusker  01:05
Very scary. 

Diane Purser  01:06
Yeah, for sure. You know, over the last number of years, and even recently, there have been a variety of different natural disasters, as well as emergency situations in the news. And although many of them have not impacted us personally, it nevertheless makes you sit back and think, ‘Okay, what if it did happen?’ Or we have had things that are close to that. ‘Am I prepared, not just for myself, but also for my pet?’ Because you know, and we’ll keep saying this through the podcast, you don’t have a lot of time to think, depending on what the situation is. Most people, when they think of emergency preparedness, and immediately go to the big stuff, the natural, or the environmental disasters – hurricanes, floods, huge ice storms. Those kinds of things that not only impact you personally, but a lot of people around you. Tornadoes – we have had that recently – but the other things -and we have to be prepared for those. But the other things that are closer to us, that we maybe don’t give enough thought to is – a fire in the home, like you mentioned, a flood in the home where we have to leave and get out, a power outage, particularly an outage during the winter, where you know, we need to find a place that’s warm for an extended period of time. But also there’s personal emergencies. Have you thought about what would happen if on your way home, you had an accident, or at work you became ill and someone had to take you to the hospital? And your pets are at home. And what if they’re on their own? What’s going to happen to them? So that’s the kind of thing that we have to think about is, it’s not just the big disasters, it’s all the little emergencies that may last only a short period of time that we need to be able to help our pets. So hand in hand with this though, Corey, I know that part of the way we help our pets is by keeping them calm and feeling safe. And of course that comes from training.

Corey McCusker  03:17
Yes, Diane. Let’s now think about an emergency and what the experience would be for a dog and an owner. Let’s say you smell smoke. And then you notice there’s a fire has started. You want to get your dog and yourself out quickly, so you grab the leash and collar, you put it on the dog and you exit outside, and you jump in your car and you call 911. So if you think about that scenario, a number of things are happening. The owner’s rushing and nervous, grabbing things, the collar and leash and putting it on the dog. What if your dog isn’t comfortable with the collar and leash being put on? What if your dog likes to go for a walk and sees a leash and starts getting all excited and running around. So some of the simple things, and we teach this in our puppy classes is I want your dog to be able to sit. I want your dog to be comfortable with the leash and the collar being put on. And I want your dog to also be comfortable in a car. So those are some things you can prepare them for. Also, what if your dog did get loose because you’re panicking so much you open the door and they run off? Your recall, your dog, when you want your dog to come to you, having that recall proofed. So those are some of the simple basic things that you can work on that’s going to help you get your dog out as quickly as possible.

Diane Purser  04:35
Yeah, so true. So true.

Corey McCusker  04:37
And you know I also I’m thinking about, the smoke goes off, a fire alarm in the house goes off and I don’t know if any of you have been cooking and burnt something and the fire alarm goes off and the dog panics because they haven’t heard it before. So getting your dog climatized to noise, so fire alarms, fire trucks, police sirens and also other people. So making sure that they’ve been socialized and comfortable, because what if you need a neighbour to take care of your dog or you’re talking to somebody and a fireman has to come up and hold your dog? If your dog is not comfortable with other people, that’s going to create some nervousness in your dog. So that’s another area, you know, exposing and socializing your dog to different people, and places.

Diane Purser  05:19
Yeah, and you know, that’s the thing. I think people highly underestimate how they’re going to feel in an emergency, and also how their pet is going to feel. So, very good food for thought. The other part of this, too, is if you had to evacuate, and you had to either put your pet into a different place than yourself, or you have to maybe both go together to a motel or a hotel or something like that. One of the things you have to do is make sure your dog is prepared to go into these places, particularly at the last minute. So very basic things like, are they up to date on all their vaccines? Because nothing will not allow them to be a part of a motel or hotel, a kennel, is if in any way, shape, or form, they could be a harm, health-wise, to other people or to other animals. So make sure everything is current, and you have that information. Also, are they – and you mentioned this – are they licensed? Are they microchipped? And is that microchip registered? Because if your dog gets get away from you, or if your dog does have to go to a different place than you, can you get them back easily when everything is okay. Another side of this is also if you happen to be traveling with your pet. So you might be traveling somewhere, and everything is fine, but then you might get somewhere and something might happen. It could be a different province, a different country, and is everything prepared in order to make sure that you guys are brought back together again, if anything should happen. In order to make sure that someone can access that information, the best thing to do is to make an emergency list. So have on there contact information, your dog’s name, your name, whether they’re spayed or neutered, a list of the vet contact, the food they eat, the meds they’re on, anybody that – your neighbours, friends, family – that would be willing to take them. Make that available. Think about making a list of all the places where you could go with your pet at the last minute. Do you know what hotels are pet friendly motels, etc.? And then whatever your plan is, or whatever your information list is, and where it is, then please tell everybody that you’ve made it, and that it’s your wishes, and that includes friends, family, neighbours, and where they can find this information. The other thing, last thing, there’s so much in this part, is consider where you live right now, and what are the emergency preparedness protocols that are available if something happened in the city or region or province that you’re in right now.

Corey McCusker  08:18
Yeah, that’s really good. You know, something I just thought of too, is we talk about that emergency list and having that backup support. I know with myself, I have a key to my neighbours and then they have a key to mine. And the whole purpose for that is if something was to happen that they can get into my house. So because of my animal, but that’s something else is you know, if you did have a key or access to your home, if somebody did, you mentioned the car accident, and you’re going to be hours or something or you know, you might be hours. So those are just little things. So let’s talk about an emergency kit. So I think that’s something that’s important to have. So if you had an emergency kit, what would be in that kit? And this would be something that’s just easily accessible that you could just pick up and go. So maybe food, some food that your dog may need, you know, water, medicine, if they’re on the medicine, making sure you have easy access to that. A first-aid kit. Now we’re not going to get into that right now. I think that you speak to your vet and figure out what is it that I would need. We’ve talked about the collar and the harness making sure maybe there’s an ID tag on the collar so if you were separated. A traveling bag, or a crate, or a sturdy carrier, grooming items, you know, maybe even shampoo, conditioner, brushes, poo-bags, a picture of you and your pet together. So and you know maybe identify that, so if you were separated and people had that picture, it’s something that shows you and your pet together. And then anything that can help alleviate the stress for the dog. Maybe their favourite toys, some treats, and bedding. Anything like that. So that’s just a simple thing. And we’ll provide you with a list of things in the show notes that you can refer to to help you create this emergency kit.

Diane Purser  10:12
Right, perfect. Yeah, there’s a lot to think about. And maybe not everything is relevant to your pet. But it’s certainly worth knowing that you’ve given it some consideration. The next thing we want to sort of talk about is how to look after, what to do during the emergency, whatever it might be. And again, it’s going to vary a little bit depending on what the emergency is. But I think the utmost thing that you need to keep into consideration all the time, is that understand that your pet doesn’t understand what’s going on. They’re going to pick up on the fact that something is going on. And it could make them confused, it could make them scared, a variety of things. And try and take that into consideration, and keep them as calm and safe as possible. Now, again, depending on the emergency or the situation, if it’s a bad weather situation, and you need to stay inside yourself, make sure you keep them inside, don’t put them out in the elements. If you can’t take them with you, and you are going to leave them inside the house, then think about putting out wet food as opposed to dry, just simply because it has more moisture in it and it will help with that need for water. You certainly can put water out as well, and even consider newspaper on the floor. Because if your dog is used to going outside, it’s going to be uncomfortable at first for them to relieve themselves in the house. So putting newspaper down will again, hopefully make them feel a little bit more comfortable and also potentially save some issues in the house. If they are outside, do not tether them. Do not force them to live through what is going on and be tied down. For whatever reason they may need to run. They may need to find shelter. They may need to find higher ground. Don’t force them to be held in one spot. Give them a chance to find the right spot themselves. And also put a notice on your front door. Let people know where your pets are, how many there are, whether they’re outside running, whether they’re in the house, so that they have a chance to try and do everything they can to look after your pet.

Corey McCusker  12:36
Yeah, and I know there’s some some stickers and signs, we give out some to just to put on in the case there’s a pet in the house. So that’s where if you weren’t home. That’s really good. So we’ve covered, you know a lot of things. There’s a lot more. We’re going to provide you with some checklists and pet-friendly hotels and that too, but just make sure you have a plan. I talked about it in the beginning. Also make sure that you’re training your dog to be comfortable with other people, with different things. So make a plan and then build an emergency kit. One of the things, I have extra crates and that, so my actual emergency kit, everything’s in a crate, because one of the things I want to make sure too is if I have a crate that gives my dog a safety zone too, when we’re going somewhere else. So build that emergency kit and stay informed. Diane mentioned the Regional Emergency Preparedness protocols. What are pet-friendly hotels? Read our checklists. So just stay informed in what you would have to do. So we want to make sure that when you have this emergency that you don’t have to go, ‘Okay, what do I do?’ You’re already prepared and you know what to do. We want to thank everyone for joining us today, and, Diane, is there anything you want to mention before we wrap up?

Diane Purser  13:56
No, I think that’s a good start. But like you said it’s important for them to look at the links and the the attachments that will be included.

Corey McCusker  14:05
Perfect. So thanks, everyone for joining us today to discuss the importance of being prepared for an emergency and how to make sure your pet is kept safe. We hope it never happens, but if it does, you now have some things to think about and be proactive to ensure you’re prepared if it does. If you would like to learn more or listen to other podcasts, please visit our website at www.muttzwithmannerz.com. If you have a question or a topic you’d like to hear about on future podcasts, please email us at info@muttzwithmannerz.com. Thank you, everyone for joining us. Have a great day and bye for now.

Diane Purser  14:46
Bye everyone.

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