By Katarina Fiorentino Klatzkow
From wagging tails to joyful woofs, it’s no wonder dogs are often lovingly called man’s best friend.
National Dog Day, celebrated every year on August 26, honors the paws-itively infectious energy and love four-legged friends bring to the lives of their human counterparts. The celebration also happens to coincide with the start of the peak of hurricane season. So, in Florida and other states prone to extreme weather events this time of year, how can people ensure our canine companions and other furry family members stay safe?
Jennifer Applebaum, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions department of environmental and global health and a medical sociologist with a background in animal sheltering, provides some tips to help pet owners stay informed and prepared in case of an emergency.
- Have a plan. Make sure you know what you and your pets are going to do in an emergency. Identify shelters and places you can go that also house pets. If your pet needs to be crated where you are going, make sure you have a crate that can accommodate your pet in an emergency shelter or a hotel.
- Include pet supplies in disaster preparedness. If you have a go bag, which is recommended in Florida for hurricane season, make sure you include your pets’ supplies, things like food, water, poop bags, extra leashes and medications.
- Bring a picture of your pet! It can be really stressful if you become separated from your animal during an emergency situation. Make sure you have pictures of your pet with you. This will help rescue organizations match you with your lost pet.
- Consider microchipping. Microchipping is so important, and some clinics will even microchip pets for free. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States will deploy disaster teams to rescue pets that become lost during disasters. If they find your animal, you want to know where to go to reclaim your pet. Microchips are an integral way to be reunited with your pet if you lose them for some reason.
- Update contact information. Ensure you have contact information for your regular veterinarian and veterinarians in the area where you are going. Also, make sure your pet has a collar with identification and your phone number on it, and that this information is up to date. Same for the microchip as well because it’s only as good as your most recent information. If you’ve changed your phone number or address, make sure you’ve updated this so there are ways to reach you.
Barring any weather issues this year, dogs can enjoy several deals and treats offered by companies, retailers, and other organizations on National Dog Day, which are sure to unleash a bark of applause from pups across the country. At Krispy Kreme, dogs are in for a sweet treat: pup’kin spice doggie donuts, which are handmade biscuits made especially for dogs. For every purchase of an iced latte at Dunkin Donuts on Saturday, one dollar will be donated to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, a non-profit organization whose Dogs for Joy program aims to increase the number of dogs in-residence at children’s hospitals.
Founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige, an animal rescue advocate, conservationist, dog trainer, author, pet and family lifestyle expert, and founder of additional holidays honoring animal welfare, including National Cat Day, National Wildlife Day, etc., National Dog Day was created to shed light on the plight of animals and to encourage adoption.
“Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure. Our mission is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. For dogs adopted on August 26th, National Dog Day becomes many a dog’s birthday,” said Paige on her organization’s website.
Visit https://www.nationaldogday.com/ to learn more about National Dog Day and how you can help to protect and promote animal welfare in your everyday life.