Are you prepared for an earthquake if it happens today? Unlike hurricanes and tornados, earthquakes strike without warning. How do you keep your dog safe during an earthquake? Being prepared is the best protection for you and your pets.
No one knows when the “Big One” will hit, but if you live in a seismically active area, it’s not a matter of if, but when you’ll have to deal with a serious quake.
As a pet owner, learn what to do now, so there’s no doubt in case of an emergency. Be prepared in the even disaster strikes!
How to Keep your Dog Safe During an Earthquake
First, make sure you’ve done everything you can to protect your pet. Taking these steps will also help you get back together with your pet if an earthquake separates the two of you.
Microchip your pets and don't forget to register them
If you have your pet micro-chipped and their contact info up to date, you have a better chance of being reunited during an earthquake.
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Check your dog's collar
Check the fit of the collar on your pet regularly to ensure it doesn't slip off in the event of an emergency. When the collars fitted properly, you should be able to slide two fingers underneath it. Their collar should have current ID tags.
Keep your pet's vaccinations up to date
During natural disasters, stagnant water, poor sanitation and rotting debris might make your pet sick.
If you keep vaccinations current, you can keep your pets healthy, even in unsanitary living conditions and under higher stress levels that might compromise their immune system.
Training and socializing your pet
If your pet escapes, he or she will be easier to catch if they are well socialized with people and new situations.
A well-socialized pet also handles stress better than an under-socialized pet. Dogs can be socialized regularly by attending puppy classes and visiting unknown places like dog parks, pet stores, outdoor cafes, etc.
Include your Dog as Part of your Disaster Plan
Make a disaster plan and pick a place that everyone in your family can go if the power goes out and the phone stops working.
Make plans for your pet in case you have to leave them behind. In your disaster plan, have the phone numbers and addresses of places where you can board your pet in an emergency. You can even find out their disaster protocols.
If you are leaving your dog at home, let a friend or neighbor have a set of your house keys and a copy of your disaster plan, as well as instructions on how to care for your dog while you're away.
Create a First Aid Kit for your Dog
Create a pet first aid kit for your home, and one for your car if you travel with your pet a lot. Include basic pet first aid items and other useful disaster materials. Pack blankets and towels and something to confine your pet with such as a crate, play pen, carrier or yard stakes.
Also include supplies for cleaning up pet waste, like paper towels and waste bags, and your pet’s medical records, including current photos.
You should store your pet’s disaster supplies in such a way that they are easy to grab and go. Duffel bags work great for storing dog stuff near or inside their carrier.
What to Do During An Earthquake
What do dogs do during an earthquake? When frightened or distressed, any animal could bite or scratch to flee, so it is very important that you not restrain your pet.
If an earthquake happens outside while you're walking your pet, stop and get down on the ground.
How to Protect Pets During an Earthquake
- If Your Outdoors with your Pet:
- Try crawling to an open area, so you're far from trees, power lines and buildings.
- Attempt to hold on to your pet’s leash. However, if this puts your safety in danger, let go.
- Although it might be heartbreaking, you can’t protect your pet if you’re injured.
- You could still catch your pet once it's safe, and the shaking has stopped.
- Next, put your arms around your head and neck and hold on to something to stabilize yourself.
- If you’re Driving with your Pet:
- Pull over to the side of the road.
- Don’t park anywhere near power lines or overpasses.
- Don’t get out until the shaking is gone.
- If your Dog is already inside, it's crate:
- Let him stay there.
- The structure will give them much-needed protection from falling objects.
- If you can easily move it, carry or drag it to safety.
- If you are at Home when the Earthquake happens:
- Let your animal find safety on its own.
- If your pets don't mind being held, drop to the floor with them, crawl under a desk or table and cover your head and neck.
- You can also grab a table leg.
- If your pet struggles to get away, you should let them go.
Should you go inside a Collapsing Building During an Earthquake?
Should you go inside a collapsing building during an earthquake to save your dog?
Keep in mind that if you go back in a building and it collapses, you’re also putting first responders at significant risk trying to rescue you’ve gone back in for your pet.
It's important to first evaluate the situation and make sure it's safe before proceeding, and then factor in how your family would be affected if you were lost. This is something people should think about, no matter if it’s an earthquake, fire, tornado, hurricane, or anything of the like.
Also, dogs have a way of finding their way to safety, even in a collapsed building.
3. Can Dogs Sense or Predict Earthquakes?
How does a dog act before an earthquake? Many people think that dogs and cats can predict earthquakes. People have long reported that their pets began behaving strangely right before an earthquake.
Pets may behave differently for a few minutes or days before an earthquake, such as anxiety, pacing or increased activity. This phenomenon called Seismic Escape Response and may result from dogs hearing high-frequency seismic sounds coming from deep within the ground.
There have been several studies investigating a pet's ability to predict earthquakes. After the big earthquake in Japan, they performed a 9-magnitude earthquake study, which investigated pet owners accounts of their pets acting abnormally right before the earthquake.
- Out of 1259 Dog owners, 236 of them reported their dogs acting strangely.
- 115 cat owners out of 703 reported the same strange behavior minutes before the big one hit.
The study concluded that pets can predict earthquakes.
However, you shouldn't trust your pet to let you know when it's time to prepare for an earthquake. Start preparing now!
Gather a First Aid Kit for Dogs and Cats
Earthquakes and emergencies can happen. When they do, you want to be prepared with a first aid kit for your dog, just as you would for yourself.
Always keep your kit well stocked and contained in a box or bag. You can easily make a backpack as a "go bag."
You can buy a complete first aid kit online if it's easier, simply add important items like leashes, collars and important papers.
First Aid Kit Supplies for your Dogs
- Extra collar and leashes
- Familiar Toys
- Collapsible food and water bowls
- 1 Week of non-perishable food
- 1 Week supply of water
- 1 Week supply of your pet's medications if needed
- Styptic Powder
- Vet Wrap
- Pet Specific Healing ointment - for minor cuts and scrapes.
- Adhesive Tape
- Antibacterial ointments
- Blunt scissors
- Diarrhea medication for pets
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Medicine dropper
- Plastic storage container
- Self adhesive bandaids
- Litter box for cats and litter
- Manual can opener
- Copy of veterinary records in a waterproof bag.
- Vaccine Records
- Micro-chip number
- Photos of your pet
- Doctor's letter if an emotional support pet.
What to Do After an Earthquake
Follow your disaster plan. If your home isn't safe, take your go pack and make your way to the agreed-upon meeting place.