If You Had a House Fire, What Would You Do With Your Dog?

Watching the news these days it seems no one is safe from a disaster, natural or otherwise.  But disasters happen to someone else, right? Well not really.  A good friend of mine just had a house fire which made her house unlivable.  However, prior planning and a clear head allowed her to exit the house leading her two beautiful dogs to safety.  So it got me to thinking about what I would do with my dogs if my house burned down.  After talking to my friend and doing some research, I thought I would share some of the following tips.

  1. Place a sticker on the front and back doors or windows letting rescue workers know that you have a pet(s) inside. If you crate your pets while you are out of the house, mark on the sticker the location of the crates.  For example, “Two Dogs crated in bedrooms on the right”. You can purchase pre-printed rescue stickers or just make your own.
  2. Let your neighbors know about your pets and possible hiding places. I know my old dog Cooper used to hide in the bath tub when he was sick or scared.  If your dog is suffering from smoke inhalation he may be unconscious.  By letting your neighbors know of your pets hiding spot, you might save the rescue worker valuable time in locating your pet.
  3. Keep a slip lead leash in any room that your pet might be. A slip lead leash is one like they use in the vets office.  It is called a slip lead because you can just slip it over your pets head without requiring a collar.  If you do not have a slip lead, a traditional leash will do. Just slip the end with the clip on it through the leash handle and wrap it around your pet’s neck. My friend had the slip leads in her bedroom so she was able to quickly leash the dogs without fumbling with attaching it to any collar and lead her dogs out past the fire keeping them safe from harm.
  4. Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies in the car. If you have to evacuate your home, it could happen in the middle of the night or just past normal store hours. So keep a stash of supplies in your car.  These supplies should include a pet emergency kit, food and water bowl, one to three days supply of food and any medicines your pet is taking, a blanket, a favorite toy, pet ID tags, vaccination information and anything else to make your dog comfortable.
  5. A dog friendly location to go to. This could be a friend, neighbor, relative or a dog-friendly hotel.  Most Holiday Inns, Residence Inns, Microtels and LaQuinta hotel chains are pet-friendly so know where they are and what their policies are in advance. Keep in mind that hotels generally require you to have a credit card.  If you do not have a credit card, work with your bank to get a debit card that has the Master Card or Visa Card logo on it.  So even though you do not have a credit card, your debit card can act as one if it has a Credit Merchant logo on it.

As for my friend, well she was lucky.  Not only was she well prepared, but she had a friend nearby with a finished basement and a fenced in yard that could take her and her two beautiful labs in.

Hopefully, you will never need these tips but just thinking about them and planning for a fire will cause you to be better prepared in case it does happen to you.


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