Recognizing when an emergency is occurring and being able to quickly but calmly preceed is critical in possibly saving
your dog's life. Being able to determine what constitutes an emergency and what can be handled as routine health care
is also important. To be vigilant and alert, but not overreactive is a skill acquired with practice.
As the person responsible for a dog, you must remain calm and clear-thinking, as any anxiety or fear you display will
influence the dog's state of mind. In situations where a dog may already be worried or scared, be careful to monitor
your own behavior so that you do not increase the dog's anxiety.
Taking a few deep breathes, consciously relaxing, and lowering the pitch and volume of your voice should be a regular
part of your emergency routine.
Develop and use a personal calming ritual.
Create a three-minute calming exercize and visualization for yourself which you practice regularly
and often during non-emergency times. This exercise should always begin with: Take three deep breathes. Develop
this into a personal
ritual you use, always doing the same steps in the same order until you
can do them automatically.
Write down your calming exercize and visualization in detail. You may want to use an
affirmation as part of your personal exercise. Make several copies of this ritual. Put copies in your dog training
journal or logbook, your first aid kit, your disaster preparedness kit, the glove compartment of your car, your wallet or
purse, on your refrigerator, and anywhere else you feel will help you to remember to practice often and regularly.
Begin using this calming ritual any time you feel stressed, anxious, or paniced. You want this
routine to become automatic. You cannot be in control of an emergency situation with your animal if you cannot be in
control of yourself.
Create Emergency Instructions Paperwork
This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. This information needs to be readily available AT ALL TIMES.
Include contact information for your dog's veterinarian and two people who know and can handle your dog if you are unavailable
or incapacitated. Include instructions about where your dog will go to be taken care of if you should become incapacitated.
Create Dog Identification Information Paperwork
- Photographs of your dog from the front, and from the side, and photographs of you and your dog together.
- Health records on your dog with vaccination information detailing any special considerations
- City License information and tag #.
- Microchip and/or tattoo numbers.
Make several copies of this information.
- Have your dog carry a copy in the pocket of her or his vest.
- Put a copy in the glove compartment of your car.
- Put a copy in your wallet or purse.
- Give a copy to your veterinarian to keep in your dog's file.
- Give a copy to each person named as an emergency contact, and every person on your support team.
Go to Possible Emergencies to see examples of situations that could happen and explore how you can be prepared.
This is not a hypothetical exercise. These situations are based on actual, real life situations that have happened.
The outcome of these emergency situations often depended upon the preparedness of the person involved. Your active participation
in this exercise will have a direct relationship to your ability to respond should any of these situations occur.
An Emergency Plan
For each of the situations, create for yourself An Emergency Plan. Write down your plan as
a series of steps. Write down any necessary resource information or equipment you will need for each plan. Make
a file or notebook with your Emergency Plans and put it in a specific place where it will always stay so that you can find
it quickly. Include with each Emergency Plan the location of any supplies or equipment that may be needed specific to
the plan. Do this in hard copy so that if your computer is not working you will be able to locate the information you
Dog First Aid Kit
Create a Dog First Aid Kit and keep it in a specific and accessible place. You will probably
want to create three different kits: one small-sized collection of items to carry with you, one travel-sized to carry in the
car, or on trips, and one base camp group of all necessary items you keep at your house. Several websites have good
information you can use as reference.
Depending on where you are living, the possibility of Natural Disaster occuring at unexpected times without warning is
real. You may suddenly be faced with Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake, Flood or Wildfire conditions. At some point
in your life, you probably will. Again Preparedness is critical.
Make a list of Natural Disasters which could occur at your locality. Make a Disaster Plan for
each of these situations, including where you will go, the possible routes you could take, supplies and equipment you will
need, and important paperwork you will not want to leave behind.
FEMA has a free Independant Study Course: Emergency Preparedness USA with maps showing areas where
specific types of Natural Disasters are most likely to occur. You can see this information at:
Make a Plan for War, Riot, Robbery, and Structural Damage to your home. Where will you go?
What will you take with you? Who needs to be contacted?
Make a Plan for loss of electricity, gas, water, or heat to your home. Who will you contact?
What supplies and equipment will you need to have ready? Know where your candles, matches, flashlights, and extra warm
clothing and sleeping bags are. The Disaster Preparedness Questions in the homework section will help you find
the information you need.
Create a Disaster Preparedness Kit, keep it packed, in a specific location, and readily accessible.
Research various websites to help you decide what you should include to be able to care for yourself and your dog. Include
your Dog First Aid Kit, Emergency Instructions, and Dog Identification Information.
Answer these questions about types of disasters, services,
resources, and your personal needs and plans as they apply to your geographical location.
When you have completed all of the exercises in this section, you will be more thoroughly prepared, mentally and physically,
to be responsible in caring for your dog and yourself, should an emergency occur. We all like to think, "That will never
happen to me." And maybe you are the lucky person who lives a charmed life. But the ability to be prepared and
cope with emergencies can make a big difference in the outcome, should unexpected circumstances occur.
By actively participating in these exercises now, you may be able to save your dog's life in the future. It is
your responsibility to your dog to be as prepared as possible for emergencies that can and do happen.
When all homework from this section has been received, reviewed, and found to be correct,
an Emergency Preparedness Certificate will be issued in your name and
sent to you.