California is one of the watch-out states when it comes to earthquakes and even though we don’t feel most of them or have many warnings, it never hurts to be prepared – especially when you live in a state famous for them!
Earthquakes can happen very suddenly with little notice, so it’s important to put some proactive measures into place early on. Having plans for your pets in place is also recommended.
Here are some tips for what to do during an earthquake and how to prepare for one ahead of time.
During an actual earthquake, no matter how much you prepare, some of our actions and those of our pets are strictly instinctual. If you only remember one thing, however, it should be three words: DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. This simply means that in the event of an earthquake, you should be prepared to drop to the ground, take cover under a solid structure and hold on to something around you.
As far as how to help your pet during an earthquake, it’s usually best to not restrain or hold on to your pet. When dogs and cats are frightened, they will act uncharacteristically and their own survival instincts might take over, forcing them to bite and scratch to try to get away. Let him or her find their own space in your house that they feel protected and safe. If you are out with your pet during a natural emergency, try to seek cover and don’t let go of the leash!
Before an earthquake, we recommend you take a few precautionary steps to make things easier in the event of any natural disaster.
- Keep your pet’s collar on at all times.
While you may not think a collar is necessary for an indoor cat or a dog that spends most time indoors, it’s one of the only ways your pet can be identified should he or she run out an open door or window during an emergency. If you are worried about keeping a collar on, talk to your veterinarian about microchipping your pet.
- Maintain current vaccinations and keep health records.
Should your pet runaway or wander from home during an earthquake or similar event, knowing that your dog and/or cat is current on vaccinations will not only put your mind at ease, but will keep pets from contracting any preventable illnesses while braving the elements until the two of you are reunited. Keeping health records, photos of pets and veterinarian contact information in a safe place at home is also helpful in the event that an emergency team should access your house without your presence and need to search for pets.
- Pack a first aid kit.
We recommend that you have a first aid kit in your car for traveling with pets, but also one in your home as well in the event that a neighbor or emergency team need to care for pets while you’re not home. This should include health records, veterinarian contact information, enough food and bottled water for a week or two, collars, leashes and bandages.
Should you become separated with your pet during an earthquake, check your local animal shelters and call your veterinarian. Having your pet properly identified with collar tags or a microchip greatly increases the chances of a reunion, so consider exploring those options ahead of time.
If your pet requires medical attention, please call Butte Orville Veterinary Hospital or stop in for care. We will also print medical records upon request and provide additional information about disaster preparation. Remember that the most important thing is to be prepared and try to keep your family and pets calm in the event of an earthquake.