National Disaster Preparedness Month: Send Me Your Good Ideas in Exchange for a Chance to Win a Book!

Today marks the beginning of National Preparedness Month. Whether you live in the land of earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes here is your reminder to reassess just how prepared you will be should a disaster strike. And, such preparedness must extend beyond the humans in the household to all the critters under your care, from the cats to the cows and the hamsters to the horses.

I invite you to provide me with your best disaster preparedness tip(s) live link “provide me with your best tip(s)” to public post site related to caring for your animals. Also, please describe the type of natural catastrophe most likely to occur in your neck of the woods.

In exchange for your disaster preparedness tip, I will enter your name in a drawing to receive a free copy of Speaking for Spot or Your Dog’s Best Health (the choice will be yours). If you are not the winner, do not despair. I will be glad to provide you with the book of your choice at a deeply discounted price.

Here’s an example of what I’m looking for:

When I lived in northern California, the natural disasters most likely to occur were earthquakes (any time of year) and fires (particularly this time of year). As part of my disaster preparation I made sure that my horse trailer was always hooked up to my truck and turned in the appropriate direction so as to make a quick departure with my horses should the need arise. Part of my personal preparedness plan was moving to western North Carolina where the most common natural disasters (lightning strikes and falling trees) create a bit less angst for me.

Send your live links to the public comments for this post, and send as many ideas to me as you like. Together let’s assemble a comprehensive list of preparedness tips.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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16 Comments on “National Disaster Preparedness Month: Send Me Your Good Ideas in Exchange for a Chance to Win a Book!

  1. live in Illinois and for me snow storms and ice storms with 13 dogs all in the house, 5 kinds of food due to allergies, all kept in the entry room kennels and all leashes too. I get plenty of meds that the dogs are on and there monthly allergy shots stocked up on in the fall. We can get stranded for days or weeks out here. Back up generator and natural gas heaters in the dogs rooms plenty of food and water .vet records are on a SD card kept in with tags on a hook pics of dogs and names vets name and phone number all have chips too. lap top is kept in there too.If we have to leave we have it all. If we cant get out we have plenty of food and heat and power

  2. Multiple dogs who often don’t wear collars in the house means we need to be prepared. A simple sturdy buckle collar, pre-sized to each dog, with an ID tag and a leash attached… all in one place for easy “leash and go” in an evacuation situation.
    Everyone is permanently ID’d, usually with both a chip and tattoo. My ID tags have an email address on them that a non-local friend has access to (and that I could give info for to others if needed). My dogs are all muzzle and crate trained, so if we needed to stay somewhere short term, they will not be stressed by additional confinement if necessary.

  3. I live in southern Cal where we have earthquakes, fires and a water shortage. Being part of a phone tree in case I’m not home or help a neighbor if they aren’t home. Keep the horse water trough full in case you can’t get home. Know the streets in your neighborhood by foot in case the roads are closed. In my case, I know all the trails and will ride out w/ all the critters in tow. Have a cat carrier ready and hand off the cat to anyone who can leave the area. Knowing the destination or have several in case roads are closed to one particular destination. Have a plan to text my family to help care for their animals. I also have the sheriff’s phone number, fire dept. phone number stored as favorites on my phone. And of course having trained dogs who will stay with me in case of any kind of emergency w/ or w/out a leash. There are always more leashes than I need in my car so we are prepared to walk if we need to get home w/out the car. Being prepared in advance is so helpful and leaves me able to help others who may not be as prepared. Also, having a will w/ my wishes for all my animals so they will be cared for if anything happens to me. thanks Nancy for bringing this to our attention.

  4. Take a pet first aid class! Pets differ from humans in several key areas. They can’t tell you what’s wrong and generally a human won’t bite when injured are two easy examples. This training can save your pet’s life in times of disaster.

  5. I live in “EARTHQUAKE” country – Northern California. I have an emergency pack in my car and under my bed for me and my dog Bella. I have extra leash(s) at all times in the car and at home. Bella goes everywhere I go so I don’t have to be to concerned where she is when one hits.
    1 gallon of water per day per person/pet is what I also keep on hand.

  6. I helped out during Katrina and here’s a tip I learned during that horrible disaster. Keep photos of you with your companion animal. They can help act as proof of “ownership” during the chaos of a disaster. Now that cell phones are almost everywhere, it’s easy to have this “evidence” with you at all times. It really helps should you ever find yourself in a situation when you need to establish that an animal is yours.

  7. I live in Kansas. We have fierce storms and tornadoes, especially in the spring and fall. And then there are the ice storms in January. I have dog crates in the most protected part of my basement, as close as I can come to a storm shelter. The crates have tags with my name and contact information in case I need to take them with me. Most important, I have a “Go Box.” This contains what I will need to care for my dogs should we have to evacuate or have some sort of local disaster. In the Go Box is a canine first aid kit (which I purchased, but which you can make yourself). I assembled a plastic bag of photos of me and my dogs, in case I have to identify them and prove ownership. I also include their Home Again microchip information as well as AKC Canine Partners dog recovery information. If I had medicines they needed, I would put these in, too, as well as any pertinent health information and veterinarian’s name. Three days food and three days water, plus handi-wipes and paper towels round out the box. It really is compact and easy to store. All I have to do is remember to replace the food every few months. I got these ideas from our Northeast Kansas Animal Response Team. My guess is that most states have some sort of regional or county response group that could provide lists of items to have ready.

  8. Living in upstate New York, our biggest natural disasters is snow.
    However, I am always prepared by having the following:

    1) a set of slip leashes that live in my nightstand as my dogs do not wear collars around the house. Regardless of the reason why I might need to make a fast get-away, I know where they live and can have control of my dogs in the event of an emergency

    2) I have an “In Case of an Accident” laminated sheet on all my crates in my car. It gives instructions how I wish for my dogs to be care and who to contact, in the event that I cannot speak for them. On the back is their current rabies vaccination and a current picture of them. It’s free on my website at

  9. In Houston Texas, we are always watching what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico for hurricanes. I try to have on hand at least a month’s worth of food and two months worth of pet meds. I know – they talk about 3 days on all the big sites.

    Sooo, let me talk about Ike and Houston (the 4th largest city in the United States and about 50 miles from the coast). 2.2 to 2.8 million customers (not families) are without power the day after the storm. Supplies like groceries were limited initially. I was led around by the light of a cell phone in a store. Some people did not get the power back on at their home for 4 weeks or more. Some did not have a home to go back to. This was not a fun but long camping trip.

    Human supplies will come back fairly quickly but pets will be farther down the list of importance in the eyes of the disaster planners. So, at least a month’s worth of food and two for meds.

  10. I live in ME and the big danger is power outages that can last an extended amount of time in winter. I always keep rabies certificates in the car. All my cats and dogs are microchipped and the vet has the microchip numbers. All tags are kept updated on dog collars. My dogs are all licensed with the city. I keep cat carriers in the garage where I can easily toss them in the car.

    When I lived on a well, I had bottled water in the house at all times and also had a generator to use for power outages. I lived in a rural area where power outages could last a week or more.

    When I lived in FL, the danger was hurricanes. One of the key things I did when I lived there was to keep all medication prescriptions up to date and filled in case I could not get access to a pharmacy. I had hurricane shutters on the house so that it would be safe to be home as the shelters did not take large dogs.

  11. I also live in western NC outside of Brevard, and wildfires floods and mud slides are, in fact, realistic risks here, Though not as serious as in CA. Where I live at 3200 feet elevation I’m not likely at risk for flooding, but I have in the past been cut off from town for days at a time, so I keep plenty of dog food, hay and feed on hand, as well as food for us. Wild fire worries me since I live at the top of three converging coves and I no longer have a trailer, but depending on where the fire was coming from I could walk everybody out. Knowing ahead of time where to go, what route to take and having all the animals chipped or tagged would be critical.

  12. I live in tornado alley. I keep a large (Golden Retriever size) crate in my basement for my two Cavaliers – soft bed inside and plenty of room. When the sirens go off, they immediately go to the basement.

    In my bedroom closet, I keep multiple woven shopping bags. In one, goes all my meds; in another, all my jewelry, in a third, small framed pictures on a table in my BR. Then off to the basement.

    I have a bed down there and pillows. Also, my computer and a TV. My purse, cell phone and car keys are already down there – I have a basement garage. I also keep a couple of gallons of bottled water there as well, plus a small bag of dog food in the freezer (don’t want to attract mice). I have a whole house generator, so if power goes out, I will have TV and computer unless the cable goes down, too. I am planning on adding a radio, but can get that on my cell phone, too.

    It’s about as much as I can do in the middle of the night (which is when the sirens always wail!).

  13. Living in Central Ohio we are always concerned with tornadoes. I too carry my two dogs’ information in my car and on their crates and both have microchips. If the worst is to happen to me and I don’t make it then I have contacted a friend who will take and rehome them. My sons just don’t have the room for 2 big dogs but would do what they could. Maybe I should put this in my will.

  14. In Massachusetts we are experiencing tornado season. We don’t evacuate during the tornado instead we go into the cellar. So I make sure my kitties are acclimated to their carriers and that my dog gets a chance to go up and down the cellar stairs at least once a month. We also change our water that we have stored for emergencies once a year.

  15. In Nebraska, our greatest threat is tornadoes during the summer months. I scan important documents such as vaccination records, prescriptions records, lists of contact info for her vet and physical therapists and pictures of her. I then email these scanned copies to myself so they are always accessible through my email account no matter where I am in case we would need to evacuate or, worse possible scenario, if we would take a direct hit from a tornado and lose everything.

  16. In coastal Rhode Island, it’s hurricanes. The only good thing about them is that we kind of know when we’re going to get hit. I always have my two Gordon Setters’ rabies and vaccination information in the glove compartment of my car. I have all of the rest of their gear (crates, extras dishes and buckets, bedding, leads, and first aid kit in one area of my sunporch. I can easily toss their food bag and canned food as well as meds and supplements into a canvas bag for quick travel. They both have microchips too, and my one boy has a tattoo in his ear (required in Canada). They’re better prepared than I am!