Keep your pets safe with tips from BluePearl.
September is National Preparedness Month, and as the country slowly recovers from Hurricane Dorian’s devastating path of destruction, it is a perfect time to put an emergency plan in place for the whole family, which means pets, too.
From power outages and tornadoes to fires and floods, BluePearl wants to ensure that all pet owners are equipped with the information and tools to keep their pets safe when disaster strikes.
Build a disaster pet kit.
During an emergency, aim to keep your pet safe, happy, and comfortable. Keep an emergency kit handy and make sure all medications and records are up-to-date.
Items to include in your kit:
- A five to seven-day supply of pet food and water (or more) as well as dishes.
- An extra supply of medicine/s in a waterproof container.
- Hard copies of medical records and other important documents such as registration information, vaccination documents, and rabies tag. In emergency cases, retrieving computerized records may not be possible, and most boarding kennels and veterinarians will require medical records to ensure that vaccinations are current.
- Two leashes (one for backup) and a secure collar.
- A crate and pet carrier.
- Favorite treats, toys, and bedding (this helps to reduce stress).
- First aid kit customized for your pet’s emergency medical needs. At a minimum, a good pet first aid kit will include antiseptic, bandages, and tweezers.
Evacuation often leads to a large number of lost pets. Talk with your veterinarian about permanent identification such as traditional microchipping or a GPS microchip for dogs and register your pet in a recovery database to ensure a safe return home.
Keep your pet drinking.
During Hurricane Irma, BluePearl hospitals treated a large number of dogs and cats with urinary blockages caused by stress and dehydration. The stress of evacuating, coupled with decreased water consumption, can produce various urinary issues in pets, including obstructions. Remember to keep your pet drinking regularly to avoid chances of urinary complications.
Prepare for a potential outage.
Whether you shelter in place or evacuate, consider the potential for an extended power outage and what that looks like for you and your pets. If your power is only out for a few minutes or a few hours, and the weather is mild, most pets won’t really notice. The two most important factors are time and temperature. If the power outage is going to be extended, or if the weather is extremely cold or hot, then it’s important to consider steps to ensure your pet is comfortable.
When it’s cold: If you’re facing cold temperatures, try to provide your pet with some additional bedding and warmth. Dogs and cats may need some additional blankets and you may need to move them into the warmest part of your home. Cats and dogs could also use some of your body heat, so snuggling is encouraged. Always ensure dogs and cats have fresh clean water to drink, and if you know a storm is approaching, remember to store some extra food.
Reptiles, amphibians, rodents and other small pets should also be considered when electricity is not available for warming pads or lighting. Have a backup plan for if you lose power, and know what your caged critter might need in terms of alternative backup heating sources in the event of a cold weather outage.
When it’s hot: A power outage on a hot day could be dangerous. Clean drinking water is vital when temperatures soar, and you’ll want to consider letting your animal stay somewhere shady and cool. Basements usually keep a bit cooler temperature for tough times. A frozen water bottle could be a nice cooling method for small critters, but once again, always be sure to know the best temperature and humidity conditions for your caged or tanked animals.
Make a plan: Know where you’ll go.
Pet owners should plan evacuation routes and identify inclusive places to take shelter. Keep in mind that not all emergency shelters accept pets. For this reason, pet-friendly hotels are a good alternative.
If you plan to stay with an out-of-town friend or relative, be mindful of other pet temperaments in the home you choose to visit. Amid a crisis, we frequently see cat and dog bites that occur by other household pets. Remember, dogs and cats can be territorial, so consider pet interactions when picking a final destination.
List contact information and addresses for veterinarians, boarding facilities, and animal hospitals local to where you plan to seek temporary shelter. This will be helpful if you are unable to return home or a sudden medical issue arises.
Align your plans with the evacuation recommendations of your local and/or state officials, and be ready to adjust your plan if there’s a change.
The safety precautions you take for yourself and your family, often translate to the safety of your pet. So, this National Preparedness Month, aim to keep the whole family safe by preparing and planning ahead.