Getting Ready

Few of us have the forethought of getting ready in the event of a natural disaster. Here in the Santa Fe area our biggest concern is fires. As summer approaches and temperatures rise, the risk of a forest fire also increases. Yet, how many of us have a plan in place for ourselves and our pets?

Okay, I am going to raise my hand here. I have actually put together emergency kits just in case we have to evacuate our home in the event of a fire since we live close to the Santa Fe National Forest.

Yes, initially I dragged my feet in doing so, but like most anything else that calls for our attention the dreading part of it took more wind out of my sails than the actual chore! There is my first motivator for you.

Secondly, if we keep in mind that our brain has a difficult time planning (or getting motivated) to move forward when the end goal is not kind of immediate, we can more easily over ride that oh so very human MO. Once you have been aware that this is kind of our default setting, we can push to

concentrate on the “in the future (maybe) goal of being ready when calamity strikes” – ensuring as best one can that our loved ones (yes, I am talking about our pets here!) will be safe and as stress-free as possible.

Okay, hope the above serves as a motivator for you in getting your preparedness outfit in place. To make things a bit easier for you, I am sharing below what the group Animal Rescue Core ( suggests in terms of putting together a kit for your dog. They have on their website a list of supplies for a lot more pets and stock animals so if you have other animals in your life please check out their suggestions.

As for me, I put together my kits, which consist of three backpacks, one for John, one for me and one for the dogs that I can easily grab and carry to my car. If the season promises to be a very bad one, I might even keep the backpacks in my car. In addition, we made sure the fire dept. has a way to get into our property and that John and I know where we will meet if we have to evacuate pronto.

Here goes the list…

A large, lidded trashcan makes an excellent storage container for pet supplies. Supplies can also be stored in a pet’s crate. Make a copy of this checklist and tape it to the inner lid of the storage container for reference. Clean, dry spray bottles for cleaning and misting.

Water: A 3 to 7 day supply. A 10 pound animal needs about one quart of water per day; a 40 pound animal needs about one gallon of water per day.

Records: Copies of medical records, especially current vaccinations. Proof of current rabies vaccination is important for public health and safety. Boarding facilities may not take your pet without this information. If you are unsure about your pet’s vaccination status, contact your veterinarian. If you have pet medical insurance, include a copy of your policy.

Food: A 3 to 7 day supply. Food should be rotated every two months to ensure freshness. Don’t forget an extra can opener if using canned food.

Kennel or crate for housing: For dogs, it should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around, and include food and water bowls. Label the crate with guardian’s name, address, phone number and an emergency contact number.

Muzzle: A muzzle or a roll of gauze bandage that can be used as a muzzle in case your dog becomes agitated and aggressive during the confusion. Even the gentlest animal can bite when hurt and/or frightened. Your veterinarian can instruct you on the safe use of a muzzle. Or actually, call me! I can help you with this. 🙂

Towels: Towels for bedding and to cover the crate during transport.

Toys and treats: Just like children, pets can gain comfort with the distraction of a favorite toy or treat. Including an old unwashed shirt with your scent on it can be a comfort if your pet is being cared for by strangers.

I would add to this list the following items:

Harness and extra collar and leashes with id tags

A small first-aid-kit for dogs and instruction booklet

Some non-perishable chewy(s)

Some natural aid to help with stressful situation (try what works for your dog

prior to emergency)