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Disaster Preparedness Tips For Pet Owners

May 1, 2024

In Canada, the first week of May is designated as Disaster Preparedness Week. This is a human-focused awareness campaign, but pets can also benefit greatly from it. While we hope you never have to cope with a severe tragedy, there is one area where taking a few easy preparations might make a big impact. Blizzards, fires, and floods are more common in Canada than tornadoes and earthquakes, so we typically receive some notice beforehand. However, catastrophes might strike at any time. You can do a few things to make sure you and your furry pal are as prepared as possible. A Waterdown, ON veterinarian offers some pet owners’ emergency preparedness tips in this article.

Stay Current On Preventative Care

To be fair, we always recommend being up to date on wellness and preventative care; your pet’s health and well-being depend on it. This may also become very relevant in an emergency. One reason is the prevalence of abandoned or stray animals during calamities. Both domesticated animals and wildlife may be running around, and some of them may have parasites or diseases. It is totally plausible for a stray dog carrying heartworms to end up in a downtown area or for a rabid animal to run into a suburban community while escaping a wildfire. Another reason is that many hotels and shelters need documentation proving your pet is current.

Ask your veterinarian For more details.

Create a Pet Emergency Kit

If you ever need to flee swiftly, having a few necessities packed ahead of time can make all the difference. We always recommend that pet owners prepare luggage for their feathered, scaled, or furry companions. This can also be used as a travel bag for people who want to travel with their animal companions. You’ll want to pack dishes, food, treats, a leash, a harness or collar, a tie line, blankets, toys, towels, and meds your pet may be taking. Cats need a litterbox and litter: Fido will need waste baggies and a muzzle, in case shelters require it. Even while it might not be to your and your pet’s liking, it’s a small compromise to make if a shelter requests it. 

If your dog has thin fur and wears a coat in the winter, include one for him as well. It’s also not a bad idea to include a thermal blanket. Seek particular guidance from your Waterdown, ON veterinarian.

Verify That Your Pet’s ID Is Up To Date

Little things like identifying tags and microchips can make a big difference. Catastrophes can be frightening and incredibly disruptive. Even the most devoted pet still has that ancient fight-or-flight response, and may very well flee if they feel threatened. 

Make sure your pet has an ID tag and is microchipped. These things create lifelines that bind you and your animal friend together.

Even though using microchips is typically a one-time process, it’s crucial to double-check your information. Whenever you relocate or modify your phone number or email address, don’t forget to update this. Try using the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup website to view your records.

GPS and smart tags are recent inventions, but may well be worth looking into. (This is also a good thing to have for those with pets who have wanderlust.) Just do some research before purchasing. You’ll want to look at things like range, battery life, water resistance, and subscription fees. Reading reviews is also a good idea. 

Have Paperwork Ready

Having documentation demonstrating that your pet is up to date on all necessary vaccinations and parasite prevention is also crucial. We advise preparing this beforehand so you won’t have to waste time searching for it in an emergency. Copies of your pet’s medical records and any necessary prescriptions should also be included.

Here are some tips we have for this one:

  • Hard copies can be kept in your glove compartment. 
  • Take images of the docs and save them to your phone’s gallery.
  • Send yourself scanned copies via email.
  • Copy the files to a cloud drive.

Invest In A Pet First Aid Kit

Disasters are exceedingly perilous by nature. Pets are vulnerable to injuries from fires, floods, and other incidents, just like people are. Putting together a first aid pack for your pet is a smart idea. To keep everything in one place, store this in or next to your pet’s carrier.

First aid kits for a variety of pet species are available online and at many pet stores. You can also begin with a human kit and then supplement it with products designed specifically for pets. (Note: you’re probably going to require a larger case. A modest backpack, overnight toiletry bag, or tackle box could be useful.)

Here are a few items to consider:

  • Blunt-End Shears
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Pliers
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Penlight
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Styptic powder or cornstarch
  • Non-stick Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Paper Towels
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Syringe
  • Eye droppers
  • Saline Solution 
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Alcohol/Antiseptic Wipes
  • Towels with Iodine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Activated charcoal
  • Turkey baster
  • Milk of magnesia

Of course, even an outstanding first-aid kit won’t help if you don’t know what to do. Purchase or print a high-quality pet first-aid pamphlet, then store it in the kit. Getting a pet first-aid app is also a good idea. This can save you valuable time in an emergency. We do advise having a paper copy, though: in an emergency, cell towers might go down. 

Put a muzzle in the first aid kit if your emergency kit doesn’t have one. Even the most loving canine may bite if they are afraid or injured!

Print Out A Shelter List

Planning ahead before a calamity strikes can have a significant impact. Making a printed list of all the hotels and emergency shelters within a few hours’ drive that allow pets is a great first step. Having this and a map handy is a smart idea in case your mobile service goes out and your GPS isn’t working. 

Planning to stay with friends or family? Make sure Fido and Fluffy are welcome as well! 

Have A Pet Travel Carrier For Emergencies

For safety reasons, we always advise keeping pets crated for travel. That is a must in an emergency. We would advise purchasing a decent hard-shell carrier, since it will provide greater protection than a fabric one. Putting your contact details on the carrier is also a smart idea. A luggage tag will work well for this.

Don’t Forget About Fires

Disasters also include house fires. Additionally, there are a few things you can do here. If you are a parent, you may already have gotten window stickers indicating the number of children on your windows. This also works for our animal friends! Say what kind of pet you have and where they might hide. 

Having an emergency plan with your household members is also a smart idea. Remember to account for your pet during those conversations.

Book A Visit To Your Waterdown, ON Veterinary Clinic

Do you have any inquiries about taking care of your animal friend? Is your furry friend due for an exam, wellness care, or parasite control? Reach out to your Waterdown, ON veterinarian at any moment! We are always happy to help! 

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