pet safety

Last Friday was National Pet Fire Safety Day {tired of my ‘national day of this/that posts yet?} and normally, because I was too busy to post a write up on the subject that day I would say ‘skip it.’ But here I am…writing about pet safety because it is an important topic.  

At our house we have two emergency survival bags in the garage, filled with clothes, first aid kit, plates, cups, utensils, batteries, radio, food and water for one week…you get the idea.  But in our bags we also have stuff for Riley: meds, small bag of food, water, extra collar and leash, food/water bowls, brush, toothpaste + brush {yes, I brush his teeth}, towel, wet wipes and a toy.  I also have copies of his major vet files including vaccination records, recent photos and microchip info in the bag.  Most of us who make an emergency plan do so for our families but often forget about what our pets would need in the event of a fire or catastrophe.  But for most of us, our pets are part of our family so now is a good time to put a plan in place that includes them, too. 

In addition to having emergency supplies on hand for your pets it is a good idea to figure out an evacuation plan in case of a fire or earthquake.  How would you keep you pet safe and get them out of the house?  Our dog always wears his collar and is usually nearby when we are home.  And since he is really calm {even during thunderstorms and fireworks} I know he would stay close during a fire/earthquake, so grabbing him by the collar would be easy.  But if your pet is skiddish, know where his/her favorite hiding places are so you can quickly find them.  When evacuating your house, time permitting, always use a leash or pet carrier to remove your pet and keep them with you.  If you must leave your building without finding your pet first, leave a door open and call his/her name loudly from a safe distance.  

The room we mainly use in our house is on the third floor.  We are lucky that there is a deck off that room so in the event of a fire we can get down an escape ladder from there.  But Riley is a big guy and while I can dead-lift him into my car no problem, all 80 pounds of him, carrying him down a fire escape ladder would be impossible.  So I went to REI and got some ropes, a couple of harnesses, pulley and carabiners to fashion a rope system that can be done by one person to get the dog down to the ground level safely.  It’s all set up and stashed in a chest along with our escape ladder ready to use in case of a fire.  One quick, easy and inexpensive must-have is a window cling sticker that you can buy for about $1-2 at your local pet store that alerts first responders to the fact that you have pets in your home.  We have one at each main door to the house. It says we have one dog and lists his name and breed. I also wrote down his vet and vet’s number. 

Last thing is about boarding.  Whenever we board Riley some place other than with his vet, in addition to filing out all the up-to-date medical information required, I always send along his microchip number and two recent pictures – one full body and one face, noting all his individual markings.  It is something you can just save on your computer and update the photos as necessary.  Print it out and send it along to the boarder.  

All of your pre-planning now can help you later if there ever is an emergency.  You can rest assured that you have a plan together and can safely take care of your pet.  It doesn’t take a lot of time or money but your pet, and your heart, will thank you later.

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2 Responses to pet safety

  1. Jennifer says:

    Would love to see some pics or more info on how you set up the harness system. I have a 100 lb Great Pyrenees, and I have often worried about how I could get him out of the 2nd story window if necessary. Thanks!

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