National Disaster Preparedness Guide for Pets

This month is all about pet owners. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, September is both National Disaster Preparedness Month and Responsible Dog Ownership Month. These two things go hand in hand, and we’re going to make sure that you have all the information you need to be the best (and most responsible) pet owner on the block.

Thankfully, tornado season has come and gone with minimal damage across the state, but (unfortunately) there are more disasters that Oklahomans need to prepare for.

Natural Disasters



It may come as no surprise that Oklahoma has been subject to an ever-increasing amount of earthquakes over the past few years. So, when you aren’t living in the constant fear of tornado season, don’t fret; earthquakes are around all the time! Thanks to Earthquake Track, we can see when, where, and how frequently these earthquakes are happening:

Oklahoma Earthquake Tracker


Pretty frequently, right? News 9 also has an “earthquake alert” section of their website that will keep you up to date on the most recent earthquake news. What does all this mean? It means that earthquakes are becoming more and more frequent, and it could only be a matter of time before a big one rips through the state. This isn’t meant to be a fear tactic; this is just proof that you always need to be prepared to handle this situation. Here are a few things you can do:

Make sure your pet has up-to-date tags on his or her collar. This could also fall under the “be a responsible dog owner” category, as your dog (or cat/pig/whatever) should ALWAYS have up-to-date tags just in case of an emergency. However, the earthquake dilemma makes them even more a necessity. Consider this: you’re at work, your pet is outside, a big earthquake happens, your fence is compromised, your pet freaks out and runs away, you come home and find this scene, you become distraught and start searching the neighborhood, then it hits you…THE TAGS HAVE YOUR OLD ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER ON THEM. Okay, so maybe this is an extreme scenario, but it’s still a reminder that something like this could happen, so keep those tags up-to-date!

Have all of the necessary supplies ready to go. This includes food, water, leashes, crates, and any medicine that your dog may be taking or might need. Canned or dry food will come in handy during emergency situations, and bottled water should always be kept on hand in the event that a natural disaster taints or destroys your city’s water supply. These are rules that you should keep for yourself, but think about your little four-legged-friends, as well! If you are looking to buy extra leashes, crates, or pet food, these are the places in the Oklahoma City metro that can help:

Knowing some sort of pet first aid is probably a good idea. Look, if you haven’t gone through veterinary school (like our awesome veterinarians), chances are your pet first aid knowledge could be improved. Just because you own a pet doesn’t mean you’re expected  to know how to do bladder stone removals or how to handle internal parasites. However, if a natural disaster occurs and you’re left alone to take care of your injured pet, it would be good to know a few routine things. This is where your local bookstore comes in handy!

Barnes & Noble Oklahoma City, Pet First Aid


Just by typing in “pet first aid” to the Barnes & Noble search bar, I was able to find 392 books related to pet first aid! So that’s a solid place to start, especially since there are three different Barnes & Noble stores in the OKC metro. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, then you may as well go to Full Circle Bookstore across from Penn Square Mall, or one of the three Half Price Books in Oklahoma City.


Tornados and earthquakes aren’t the only natural disasters that can affect Oklahoma. Flooding is genuinely as terrifying as the other two, especially if it gets really bad:

Flooding in Oklahoma, Mesta Park Oklahoma City

Flooding in the Mesta Park neighborhood in Oklahoma City. Photo source: AP Photo/Nick Oxford

Did you know that September is the third-highest precipitated month in Oklahoma? According to, Oklahoma City averages 4.06 inches of precipitation in September, which is the height of precipitation during the fall season.

Precipitation in Oklahoma City by month

According to the graph, Oklahomans won’t see another month with over four inches of rain until next May; if you haven’t prepared for flooding, you might want to start. All of the same rules apply from the earthquake section, but you might also want to invest in a life jacket for your pet (again, we’re thinking worst case scenario here). Your once outside pet might soon become an inside pet if bad flooding persists, so it’s a good idea to make the necessary accommodations to your house before it’s too late. We’re talking beds, pee pads (or artificial turf pads), food, etc. This transition is new to both the pet and owner, so even though the outside conditions are dreary and stressful, you have to make your home as warm and inviting as you can to keep your pet calm.

For more information on how to make your home as pet-friendly as possible (during a disaster or not), check out this awesome Home Creations blog post that has quotes from our very own Danel Grimmett.

The Five Steps to Making a Plan

All of the aforementioned tips will serve as a great start to making a disaster plan for your pets and your family, but I only covered natural disasters. That means that accidental fires, chemical leaks, and even acts of terrorism are still on the table. The Humane Society has actually already made a disaster plan that you can find in detail on their website, but here are the five steps they propose that should help outline your own:

  1. Start getting ready now.
  2. If you evacuate, take your pets.
  3. If you stay home, do it safely.
  4. Keep taking care even after the disaster.
  5. Be ready for everyday emergencies.

If you haven’t already started your own disaster plan, then now is the time. Oklahoma is susceptible to too many natural disasters to not have a solid plan in line. Remember, winter is just around the corner, so the inevitable ice storm is on the way!

Yeah, I’m not too excited about it, either. Keep your pets and family safe; make a plan.

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