The folks impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey will spend quite some time recovering and rebuilding after the devastation the storms created. Their lives have been severely impacted and their suffering has been immense.
Included in that suffering was the impact on pets. The photos of people attempting to save their pets from being lost in the deep swift flood were heartbreaking.
In my column last week I highlighted the importance of making two laminated fliers for each of your pets in advance of an emergency. One flier should have a current picture of your pet along with his full description. It should include your contact number along with the contact information of a relative or friend who lives in a different area.
The second flier should have a list of your pet’s medical history with any known allergies, the brand of food he eats and his feeding schedule. It’s helpful to include any specific information about behavior too like if he’s afraid of thunder or if he has trouble walking on a leash.
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The next important thing to do to prepare is a disaster kit. Choose a sturdy waterproof container that is easily transported. Then fill will the following necessities.
Include two weeks of food and water for each pet. It’s best to use canned food rather than dry food so the expiration date will be extended. Throw in a manual can opener just to be safe but try to select canned food with pop tops. Remember to put food and water bowls in the kit too.
Next include sturdy collars with ID tags in case something happens to the ones the pets are already wearing during the evacuation. Put in strong leashes for each pet.
If you have kitties, include a litter box and litter. For both cats and dogs have plastic bags and disposable gloves to clean up bathroom events.
Of course, have carriers or crates that are large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. If you’re evacuated to a shelter you’ll probably be required to keep your pet confined to the crate for an extended period so please keep the comfort of you pet in mind. Add cushions or blankets and his favorite toys
Include any medication your pet may be taking and have two weeks supply of his medicine. Also list the contact information of his veterinarian and the pharmacy where refills may be obtained.
Your pet’s medical records are important to have in the kit. Make sure your have a current vaccination record along with his rabies vaccination certificate.
Write down your pet’s microchip number on your medical records as well. If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet please make the appointment with your veterinarian this week.
And while you’re at it if your pet hasn’t been spayed or neutered get that done immediately. You want your pet to have the surgery for their own health and to prevent reproducing but also, in the event of a disaster and evacuation, you don’t want to be confined to a shelter with an un-neutered male or an unspayed female.
Even though a disaster is tragic and destructive you can minimize the stress it creates, at least for your pet, by planning ahead. Assemble your pet disaster kit and you’ll know you’ve done everything you can for the safety of your beloved pet.
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