Monday, August 17, 2015

Emergency Preparedness for your pet

Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.

Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian's phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write "EVACUATED" across the stickers.

To get your sticker, contact petStop in Sehome Village at 738-3663.

Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

·         Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities. If your dog is a regular at Tails-A-Wagging, contact us for getting on our emergency list, as your pet might be able to stay at Tails-A-Wagging in an emergency situation.

·         Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets. Our local shelter is : Whatcom Humane Society 733-2080

·         Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.

·         Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Step 3: Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Keep an Evac-Pack and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

·         Pet first-aid kit (specifically for pets) and guide book.  These can be purchased locally or at the ASPCA store online. OR build one on your own. (SEE LIST BELOW)

·         3-7 days' worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)

·         Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)

·         Litter or paper toweling

·         Liquid dish soap and disinfectant

·         Disposable garbage bags for clean-up

·         Pet feeding dishes

·         Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash

·         Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)

·         Bottled water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)

·         A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet

·         Flashlight, ideally non battery crank activated

·         Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)

·         Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)

·         Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter

·         Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner.

You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

Step 4: Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.

When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this "foster parent," consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

Step 5: Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

·         Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.

·         Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet's ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet's name, your name and contact information on your pet's carrier.

·         We recommend microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal's shoulder area, and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters.

·         Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.

·         Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.



Step 6: Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

·         Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.

·         Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.

·         Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.

·         In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it's crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies close at hand. Your pets may become stressed during the in-house confinement, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.

Special Considerations for Birds

·         Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.

·         In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.

·         In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird's feathers.

·         Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.

·         If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently.

·         Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.

·         It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.

·         Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.

Special Considerations for Reptiles

·         A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.

·         Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming device, such as a hot water bottle.

·         Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).

Special Considerations for Small Animals

·         Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.

·         Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week's worth of bedding.



The ASPCA is launching the first-ever disaster preparedness app for pet parents. This free app will help pet parents spread the word about their missing pets, store vital medical records, and make life-saving decisions during natural disasters.



Making your own FIRST AIT KIT: here are a list of items to include in your homemade kit.

  • Scissors with blunt edges - for cutting out things matted in fur, freeing your pet from entanglements, but also for cutting bandage material.
  • Sterile eye wash - make sure it is eye wash, not contact lens solution.
  • Tweezers - to remove splinters, or other foreign materials from wounds.
  • Tick remover tool - if you are in a tick-infested area, consider one of many tools to easily remove ticks and reduce additional damage or infection during removal.
  • Ear wash - speak to your vet about what one would be best for your pet.
  • Toenail trimmer and styptic pencil or powder, for torn toe nails. Cornstarch also works for torn nails, but not for mild skin wounds.
  • Tape - preferably the 1" white medical tape. Easy to tear off and holds well.
  • Roll Gauze - used for bandaging, an aid to stop bleeding, and padding for splints.

  • Vet Wrap - this is a conforming bandage wrap used over a telfa pad or roll gauze that comes in many colors and two sizes (2" and 4" - pick one that best fits your pet). It clings to itself and is semi-watertight. Caution is advised to not wrap this too tight. It is best to unwrap it from the roll, then use it for the bandage with very light tension. It can be purchased at many feed stores (often in the horse section) and some veterinary clinics.
  • Telfa pads - non-stick dressings for bandaging a wound.
  • Antiseptic wash or wipes - look for non-stinging preparations such as chlorhexidine or betadine. Rubbing alcohol is not good for open sores or wounds.
  • Antibiotic ointment - over-the-counter "general purpose" antibiotic ointment for light use with minor skin wounds. Not for eye use. Caution is advised for animals that may ingest by licking. The antibiotics are absorbed via the skin, remaining ointment may collect debris or actually slow healing in some cases. Use with discretion.
  • Vet-prescribed pain relief (NSAID) - speak to your vet about obtaining as-needed first aid kit pain relief. Do not use human prescription or over-the-counter pain medications for pets. Some medications, like Tylenol, are poisonous and may be fatal to pets.
  • Latex or plastic exam gloves - for your protection and your pet's protection - use when the situation is messy.
  • A muzzle - or materials to make a muzzle (roll gauze works well). Even the most well-trained animals may bite when injured or afraid.
  • Thermometer -  Digital or ear only.  Learn how to use the thermometer with a pet.  Normal Temp for a dog and cat is 101 to 102.5 degrees F.
  • Water-based lubricating jelly - for use with rectal thermometers.
  • Ice and hot packs - cool down skin after a burn or keep an animal warm if hypothermic. Always use a cloth between the pack and skin and check frequently for redness or irritation.
  • Extra towels, wash cloths and a blanket - use for washing, keeping warm/cool, and if necessary, a way to transport the injured pet (sling).
  • Diphenhydramine aka Benadryl. For stings and allergic reactions - speak with your vet first about proper dosing.
  • Syringe or large eye dropper - to flush wounds or administer fluids by mouth.
  • A list of phone numbers - your regular vet, the emergency vet, animal control, and animal poison control number.  ALSO: Pre Program these numbers into your mobile phone.
  • A sturdy box - ideally plastic or metal - to hold all of your supplies and is easy to carry and pack with you will complete your kit.

Customizing a First Aid Kit for Your Pet
Different species, age groups, and pet lifestyles have different first aid kit needs. For example, a ferret or diabetic pet kit should include honey or Karo syrup in the event of a low blood sugar episode. Your veterinarian can help you customize a first aid kit to meet your pet's additional medical needs.


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