Every third Thursday of October is celebrated for being National Earthquake Preparedness Day. Those who live in earthquake-prone zones (looking at you, California) know what it’s like to wake up to the whole world crumbling around them. It can be quite a scary experience, no matter how big or small the earthquake may be. It can be especially difficult if you have a pet, who has no idea what’s happening. It’s crucial that you and your pets stay safe during such difficult situations, which is why we have some tips on how you can protect yourself and your family during the event of an earthquake.
Of course, it’s crucial that you prepare before you let an earthquake get to you. Being prepared has saved many lives throughout history, which is why it’s important that you do the same. Ensure that your home is earthquake safe: secure heavy items around your house, and store all of your fragile and heavy objects near the bottom of your walls. Everything should be secured and nailed down in your house, in order to prevent anything from falling on top of you or your family. Have an emergency plan ready, in case you need to find a way to evacuate your house and get to better safety. Make sure it’s a way in which your pet can also get to safety.
One of the most important steps during an earthquake is to follow stop, drop, and roll procedures. If you’re inside, crawl under a table or something else with a surface above you that can protect you. If you’re in bed, cover your head with a pillow to prevent any debris from falling on your head. Although this may keep yourself safe, it’s important that you take your pet into your care as well. If you can sense an earthquake happening, then make sure to not restrain your pet. When frightened, pets may try to bite or scratch, so let them go and find their own way to safety, especially if you’re outside. Your pet is smart and will protect itself, always put your life as a priority instead. After the earthquake is over, you can look for your pet, assuming that it’s safe. If possible, try to keep your pet in a carrier during an earthquake, as this minimizes the risk of debris falling on them.
Consider investing in a first aid kit for both you and your loved pets. While you can find the normal first aid kits at your average drug store, a pet first aid kit may be purchased at your local pet shop. Your first aid kit may not just include essentials, such as bandaids, gauze, and scissors, but it may also include items specialized for your pet, including a collar and leash, a can opener, a litter box with litter, food and water bowls, and familiar toys. It is important that you also have at least one week’s worth of food and water for both you and your pet, in the event that you are stuck at home for more than a couple of days.
Finally, it’s highly recommended that you microchip your pet. In the event that you are outside and your pet runs away, or your pet is out the window the second they feel the ground shaking, it might be hard to navigate them quickly. If your pet isn’t microchipped, then make sure they have a collar with a current ID tag attached to it. Make sure the collar is a good fit for your pet (you should be able to slip two fingers under the collar). Ensure that your pet is up to date on its vaccines, so they can be safer if they find themselves in a situation where they are in a dangerous or unknown environment.
After an earthquake is over, you can get up again, assuming that it’s safe. Make sure to stay put if there is debris around you. Once you can ensure that you are completely safe, feel free to try contacting people. If your pet isn’t with you, this is a good time to trace their microchip or wait for further news. Do not look for your pet if your surroundings aren’t safe enough to walk around. Remember that your pet is smart, and will have found a way to stay safe.
Here’s a fun fact: pets are quite excellent at predicting earthquakes, thanks to a phenomenon called the “Seismic Escape Response.” If your pet has a sudden shift in behavior and is found more stressed, anxious, or active than normal, then you might be able to take this as a sign of an earthquake occurring within the next few days or weeks. However, please do not rely on your favorite pooch alone, and instead, be prepared at all times! We wish you the best of luck, and stay safe in the event of an earthquake!