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As wildfires continue across B.C, here's how you can protect your dog in future emergencies

Plus how you can help dog owners impacted by the devastating fires across the province.

After wildfires devastated Lytton, Kamloops, and many other areas of the province earlier this month, over 200 fires still remain active in British Columbia today.

And as hundreds of people have lost their homes and possessions in the fires, many families are still separated from their dogs - or worse - have given up hope their pets are still surviving without them.

“It’s a terrible situation and people haven’t been able to get in [to Lytton] because of safety issues,” says Tricia Thorpe, who went around official restrictions to grab her puppy litter from Lytton on Monday.

“Our farm is classified as a hobby farm, and so far only commercial farms get access. I wasn’t going to wait. It’s so good to have them back and safe.”

Photo: Lytton resident Tricia Thorpe with her rescued puppy litter

Emergency workers and firefighters have been tirelessly working across the province, and have located and protected many displaced pets. Thankfully, there have been many happy reunions between owners and dogs that have given others hope.

Meanwhile, the BC SPCA has been working day and night to relocate shelters, distribute donations, and set up emergency boarding.

Lorie Chortyk, General Manager of Communications for the BC SPCA, is encouraging those still in need of assistance to call the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722. Donations for dog food, leashes, bowls, and other supplies can be done online or in person at your lower mainland SPCA location.

Preparing your dog for emergency evacuation or separation

No one wants to think about fleeing their home, but forward thinking can make all the difference in protecting your pet in an emergency.

If you can, always take your pet with you in an evacuation, even if you think you’ll only be away for a few hours. If you cannot take your dog for some reason, leave a sign on the doors and windows signaling there is a pet on the premises. Many pet stores sell window decals that indicate the breed and number of dogs on site for emergency responders.

Make sure your dog is registered with the B.C. Pet Registry and has a microchip, tattoo, or a proper license. Always make sure your pet’s information and your contacts are up to date.

Prepare a pet emergency kit in case of evacuation. The City of Vancouver recommends packing supplies for at least 3 days, while the BC SPCA recommends preparing for a week.

Items you should include in your dog’s kit:

  • Food and a (collapsable) bowl, can-opener

  • Water (dogs need 4L/day)

  • Medical and vaccination records, dog photos, and contact numbers for vets and family

  • Medications and instructions

  • Dog first aid kit, disinfectant wipes, towels

  • Leash and bags for waste

  • Comfort items (treats, toys, blanket)

If possible, bring a carrier, for both easy transport and a place for your dog to feel safe in times of transition and distress.

It is important to be prepared for any emergency and check on your kits every couple of months, remembering to keep the water refreshed. For more info on pet preparedness, please take time to learn these simple, but crucial tips.


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