I know how my dog would react, though. I know this because the smoke alarm goes off about 75% of the time when my mom makes french fries. It’s how we know dinner is ready.
We adopted my dog when he was about four months old, but he came with a name. When the alarm goes off and he runs and hides, it’s apparent that Tyson was named after the brand of chicken and not the fighter. Even after the beeping stops, he continues to shake for several more minutes. If someone sets off a firework, I might jump. Tyson hides in certain spots in the basement.
Although our pets’ skittishness in these common situations can at times seem overblown, it’s a good indicator of how your pet will react in an emergency.
As a pet owner, you can create an emergency plan to help you make sure your pet gets out of the house safely, even when they might not know how to react. Here are some tips to help make sure every member of the family, including the four-legged ones, gets out safely.
See Spot Run
One of the simplest and most important things you can do is determine where your animal goes in times of stress. They’ll likely go there if they perceive danger in an emergency situation.
The sooner you find them, the sooner you can get them out of harm’s way.
Reduce Their Stress Through Acclamation
You may be able to make your dog or cat used to the noise through noise training so they aren’t freaked out in the event that they need to evacuate.
In the noise training, you make a recording of the alarm. You then play back the recording at a low level as background noise while your pet is relaxed and calm. If they show no anxiety, you can gradually increase the volume. Then, play the alarm sound at a volume they will definitely notice. At the same time though, associate this with a positive experience like eating, playing or getting treats.
As with humans, practice makes perfect. Take your pet through an evacuation drill a couple of times so they are used to it.
Finally, don’t panic. Your pets are perceptive and will pick up on your energy. If you remain calm under pressure, your pets will, too.
If You’re Not Home
If, heaven forbid, a fire were to occur at your home when you weren’t there, your first concern would probably be whether everyone got out okay. This is just as true for your pets. It might even be more disconcerting because they don’t know what’s going on. That said, there are some things you can do to help prevent emergencies and prepare in case something happens.
In many ways, animals are like toddlers. They can get into anything and everything and cause general havoc.
Blow out any unattended candles. Your pet can easily knock them over and cause a fire that can spread. Don’t leave anything plugged in that they can chew through.
If your pets can reach the stove, it might be a good investment to get handle covers.
It’s a fact of life that things can go bad when we least expect it. By preparing for these situations, we can help keep our pet safe.
A monitored alarm system may be a good idea if the dog is routinely left home during the day. This way, the alarm company will be able to alert fire personnel right away in the event of an emergency.
You can put a sticker in the window saying you have a pet. Make sure your pet’s bed is near an exit so they are likely to stay there and keep a leash by the door.
For more pet safety tips, check out our post on pet proofing your garden.
Do you have any tips for other pet owners on what to do in an emergency? Share them in the comments!
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