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Service Dog Emergency Preparedness

The following information was adapted from the brochure developed and published by our friends at Working Like Dogs. Petjoy will use the words Service Dog and Service Animal interchangeably below.

Protecting your Service Dog in an Emergency:

This information is designed to provide a checklist of activities for people who own a service animal to improve your emergency preparedness in the event of an emergency, attack or natural disaster.  Preparation may seem like a lot of work.  It is.  Preparing does take time and effort.  So do a little at a time, as your energy and budget permit.  The important thing is to start preparing.  The more you do, the more confident you will be that you can protect yourself and your Service Dog.

Types of Service Dogs:

This is only a partial list of Service Animals:

  • Guide Dog or Dog Guide - Assist people with vision loss.

  • Mobility Dog - Retrieve items, open doors, push buttons, also assisting people with disabilities with walking, balance and transferring from place to place.

  • Hearing Alert Dog - Assist people with a hearing loss to sounds.

  • Seizure Alert Dog/Seizure Response Dog - Also known as Medical Alert Dog - alerts to oncoming seizures and is trained to respond to seizures such as "get help" or stay with the person until help arrives.

  • Medical Alert Dog/Medical Response Dog - Alerts to oncoming medical conditions, such as; heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, post traumatic stress disorder and more.

Service Animal Etiquette:

If you are unfamiliar with Service Animals, please keep in mind the following suggestions:

  • Do not touch the Service Animal, or the person it assists, without permission.

  • Do not make noises at the Service Animal; it may distract the animal for performing its job.

  • Do not feed the Service Animal; it may disrupt the Service Animal's schedule.

  • Do not be offended if the Service Animal's handler does not feel like discussing his/her disability or the assistance the Service Animal provides.  The handler is not required to disclose these details according to Federal Law and may feel uncomfortable doing so.

Identification and Licenses with Regards to your Service Dog:

Please make sure your Service Animal has identification tags with both your home telephone number and that of your primary out of town contact person.  Also, make sure your Service Animal's license is current.

Planning for Separation from your Service Dog:

It may be difficult to think about, but in an extreme emergency you might become separated from your Service Animal.  Plan for the worst just in case you do become separated from your Service Animal:

  • Keep several pictures of your Service Dog available. 

  • Know where the animal shelters or rescue animal organizations are located in your area.

  • Have your Service Animal Micro-Chipped and/or tattooed for identification purposes.

  • Be prepared to use alternative ways to negotiate your environment.

Service Animal Emergency Kit:

Assemble a Service Dog Emergency Kit that may contain the following supplies (you may want to group these items in a pack or backpack style vest that your dog can carry in case you need to evacuate).

Emergency Kit Items May Include, but are not Limited to -

  • Supply of any medications your animal is taking.

  • Week's supply of animal's food and water.

  • Bowl

  • Blanket

  • Favorite Toy

  • Extra Leash, collar and harness.

  • Copy of all current vaccinations and health records, license numbers, micro-chip numbers and tags.

  • Medication and feeding schedule.

  • Manual can opener

  • Plastic bags and paper towels for cleaning up waste.

  • Several photos of your animal

  • First Aid Kit

  • Prior to an Emergency, talk with your Veterinarian.  Ask if he/she has a Disaster Plan and if they have any suggestions for additional items to be included in your Service Dog Emergency Kit.

The above information was adapted by Petjoy from the brochure developed and published by Working Like Dogs.  No reproduction of this copyrighted information may be reproduced without permission from Working Like Dogs or Petjoy.