Friday, August 26, 2011

Prepare your pets for any emergency situation

As I clean my backyard from the debris that was tossed around after the crazy weather from Hurricane Irene as she passed us yesterday, I realized that even “I” did not have my furry family members prepared if the hurricane came closer to home.    I remember, not so fondly, my first month of vet school.  Gainesville was hit by a hurricane and we were without electricity and water for 9 days.  I studied anatomy by flashlight! It was not a fun way to start vet school.  That experience was not only difficult for me – but for my pets as well.  I’d like to share some tips for having your pets prepared for any natural disaster.
  • Micro-chipping – I know that everyone has heard to do this – but you would be surprised at how many people do not have their pet’s chips actually REGISTERED.  Just because your pet has a microchip does not mean it is ‘working’ – you have to pay for a yearly subscription. But it is SO cheap – approx $1/month.  Your subscription allows you to keep contact information, pet information, important medical information on your pet, a picture, etc.  So please make sure your subscription is up to date and have their ID number handy!
  • Poisonous plants – since we all don’t want our plants to go flying around outside – we bring them into the house during a storm. Well – some of your ‘outside’ plants may be poisonous to your pet and now you just brought them indoors for them to have full access to. Be on the lookout for plants that could be harmful to your pet.
  • Heartworm prevention – there is nothing better than a rainy day to provide the optimum breeding ground for mosquitoes – and the mosquito is how the deadly heartworm is transmitted. Make sure ALL pets – outdoor and indoor pets are treated.  Just last night I swatted 2 mosquitoes in my bedroom – so they get into your house – do not forget about the pudgy cat that stays safely indoors – they are also at risk.
  • Rescue Alert Sticker – (lets rescuers know how many pets are inside) if you can’t get those stickers right away – at least make a label and put it at the front and back doors.
  • Collar and Tags – make sure everyone has theirs on and that phone numbers are up to date on the tag!
  • Haircut time – for dogs that have thick long hair and whom get regular grooming – a haircut BEFORE a disaster happens will help keep them clean and cool. I have a Samoyed – that is a unique breed -  imagine a Husky mixed with a Great Pyrenees and a Polar Bear – well she was so hot without air conditioning or a fan.  My clippers were not battery operated so I couldn’t shave her.  I was left to scissors and she looked HORRIBLE but she felt better!
  • Food – don’t forget to have adequate food and water for each pet – a 2 week supply is best to have on hand.
  • Medications – make sure you are not running low on any medications for your pet and if you need certain medications kept in the fridge – have a cooler on standby.
  • A recent picture of your pet and vaccine history – somewhere waterproof is best.
  • A leash for dogs and a crate for cats/small dogs.
  • A first aid kit.
I hope that the rest of the US is safe from this storm!

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