If you live in an Earthquake prone region, you know the lingering fear, that the “big one” could happen at any time with little to no warning. The best course of action is to have a plan in place to protect your pet when the time arises. When it comes to making that plan, read on to learn from the Trupanion experts on how to keep your pets safe in an earthquake.
How to keep your pets safe in an earthquake
Pack the essentials
Having an emergency kit with essentials is necessary when planning for any natural disaster or emergency situation, especially for an earthquake. The pet emergency kit should include ample food, water, medications, and records. Also, it’s important the number of emergency kits you have with your belonging’s. Since the earthquake activity can be unpredictable, it is important to have multiple “go-bags” and emergency kits. In addition, plan to have enough emergency provisions anywhere you may be when a disaster strikes, such as at your home, work, and in your car. You never know where you will be when it strikes, so it pays to be prepared.
Plan for the entire family
Developing a safety plan that includes your entire family is invaluable, especially when you are dealing with disasters as unpredictable as an earthquake.
Before the big one, a small one hits. “You should secure objects in your home (particularly those that are tall and heavy) so that they are less likely to fall/move during an earthquake. Also, use this time to determine where would be the safest place to take cover during an earthquake in each room of your house. For example, try practicing ‘Drop, Cover, then Hold On’,” states Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold.
Practice your plan
Take a look around your space and think about how you could prevent damage if an earthquake were to occur. Don’t forget about mirrors or artwork that could fall. Also, think about where you and your pet could easily find shelter. Once everything is secure, and you have a plan, practice until everyone in your family feels like the plan is second nature. Teach your pet to get under the table if possible.
Common injuries due to earthquakes
As with any natural disaster, there is always a risk of injury or illness to your furry friend. “Lacerations and injuries from fallen debris would be common in earthquakes,” points out on-site Trupanion veterinary technician Aubrey Halvorsen. For example, it would be a good idea to invest in pet first aid kit or download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app. Accessibility to emergency care during or after a natural disaster will likely be limited. Anything you can do to help your pet prior to veterinarian care is essential. For an additional resource on pet apps, read this.
A unique indicator of earthquake activity
Although earthquakes are often unpredictable, some studies have shown that animals can predict when a quake might take place. “In dogs and cats, unusual behavior was most frequently observed within 24 hours of the earthquake and included vocalization, restlessness, and hiding,” emphasizes Nold.
If you notice behavioral changes in your pets, it could be a key indicator of something more going on. If you have any concerns or questions in regards to your pet’s behavior, don’t hesitate to seek veterinarian care.
Identify your zone
Anything you can do to prepare for an earthquake is beneficial for the safety of your entire family. While you might not be in a direct earthquake-prone region, such as the West Coast or Pacific Northwest, but could still be a potential risk. For example, “know if Tsunamis are a risk after an earthquake in your area and where you should go after the shaking stops. Also, plan to meet up with members of your household after the earthquake if you get separated,” Nold. Further, by knowing your earthquake zone it could help you prepare how many safety plans to have in place.
Pets and earthquakes: plan and practice
No matter the season, keeping your pet’s happy and healthy is all that matters. But when it comes to pets and earthquakes, if you establish a plan, practice, pack the essentials, and know your zone, you can help provide the best safety, comfort, and care for you and your best friend.
For more on pet emergency care, read Pet First Aid Kit: What to Pack