Most pet owners spring into action to prevent, recognize, and treat a pet emergency, but what’s the right approach when it comes to disaster preparation? There are similarities, of course, but to truly tackle emergency preparedness for pets, you have to widen the scope quite a bit. Between hurricanes, floods, fires, and more, pets can quickly become separated from their owners, and suffer from injury or illness.
If You Gotta Go
Evacuation is one of the most common results of a natural or man-made disaster. The rule of thumb for owners of all types of pets is that, in the case of evacuation, pets must go, too. In other words, if it’s unsafe enough for people, it’s certainly no place for animals.
A major part of your emergency preparedness for your pet must include a list of alternative places to safely stay in the case of evacuation. Have an evacuation route all mapped out, and mark places along the way that you know are pet-friendly. Hotels, motels, friends, and family members are all excellent, safe choices, but if there’s a lack of availability, you may not be able to keep all your pets together.
Depending on the type of emergency, there could be temporary Red Cross shelters positioned around the area. Designed to help people, these shelters cannot accept pets except for service animals. Check with us about pet boarding.
Tips and Tricks
In the spirit of preparation, cover your emergency bases in these ways:
- Train your pet to leave the house. This will help them move quickly when it really counts.
- Have your pet microchipped and always update your contact information if it changes.
- Ensure that their vaccinations are all up to date.
- Print up your pet’s medical records just in case.
- Have a picture of your pet printed and placed on their travel kennel or crate.
- Keep a backup collar, ID tags, and leash in your car.
- Store a few days worth of food, water, waste disposal bags, toys, and bedding.
- Keep some first aid items on hand.
- Affix a sticker to the door or window near the entrance to alarm rescue workers that a pet lives there (be sure to remove them or write “evacuated” across them before you leave).
- Before moving back into your home, be sure to carefully inspect your property for any potential hazards to your pet’s health and wellness.
Emergency Preparedness Pets
No matter the type of destruction your home or block experienced, it’s an uphill battle to get back into the normal swing of things. You may notice subtle to major shifts in your pet’s behavior. Aggressiveness, resource guarding, or anxiety are typical results of trauma or stress. Please let us know if we can help you address certain behavioral problems.
Also, if we can answer further questions about emergency preparedness pets, we encourage you to reach out to us at Godspeed Animal Care.
Illness, injury, and accidents are an unfortunate, but inevitable, part of life for pets and people alike. Knowing what to do (and what not to do) in the event of one of an emergency can go a long way toward maximizing your pet’s safety and comfort. Assembling a pet first aid kit and knowing how to use one is the first step in the process of being a prepared pet owner, and the team at Godspeed Animal Care is here to help!
Pet First Aid Kit
Ideally, every pet owner should keep a pet first aid kit in their car and home. Kits can be purchased online or in most pet stores or you can assemble your own.
If you’re putting together your own pet first aid kit, start with a sturdy container, such as a lunch box or tackle box. Something with a strap is ideal so you can sling the kit over your shoulder should you need to carry your pet. Include the following essentials:
- Information – Download and print PDFs about pet first aid from the American Red Cross, and install their pet first aid app on your phone. Also have the numbers for Godspeed Animal Care, the Pet Poison Helpline, and an additional emergency contact programmed into your phone.
- Basic supplies – Many of the basic items in a human first aid kit can be used in a pet first aid kit. This includes gauze, hypoallergenic adhesive tape, blunt scissors, antibiotic ointment, styptic powder, cotton balls or swabs, instant cold pack, and a compact emergency blanket.
- Additional items – You may want to include other items, such as a clean towel, cloth strips, disposable gloves, saline solution, and bottled water for drinking and washing.
- Other supplies – Keep your pet’s leash, carrier, muzzle (if needed), medications, and medical records stored near the first aid kit for easy access.
Helping Your Pet
Being prepared helps keep you calm, which is what your pet needs most during an emergency situation. Before rushing in to help your pet, analyze the scene for any potential dangers, such as oncoming vehicles. Be aware that your pet might try to bite you out of fear or pain. Also keep the following in mind:
- Remove your pet and yourself from danger as soon as possible. If it’s safe, try stabilizing your pet’s wounds before moving.
- In the event of a dog fight, seek help in separating the animals, and keep your hands and face out of the fight.
- If possible, place your pet in their carrier or secure them in your car.
- Keep your pet warm to prevent shock, but make sure they do not overheat.
- Transport your pet to our clinic or to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Call ahead for help and to let the staff know you’re on your way so they can be prepared for your arrival.
If you have further questions about putting together a pet first aid kit, please don’t hesitate to contact Godspeed Animal Care.
Have you ever been concerned about your pet not eating? Maybe she’s been vomiting for a few days, and you’re not sure why. Chances are, you brought her into the vet. Sometimes the problem is quickly pinpointed and treatment begins immediately. But what about if we can’t find what’s wrong through a physical exam, x-rays, and blood tests?
Sometimes we need to dig deeper to diagnose your pet, and this is where ultrasound comes in. Years ago, we may have had to perform exploratory surgery to get a look at internal organs. Today, we have ultrasound to help us examine internal organs in a non-invasive manner. Godspeed Animal Care is proud to offer this service to pets in our area.
At Godspeed Animal Hospital, we believe that there is something special about a private veterinary practice. As with most local businesses, a private veterinary practice is rooted in the community in which it operates. We are your neighbors, friends, and fellow PTA members, and have been for years. We invest our resources into neighborhood little league teams, local non-profits, and our community as a whole.
However, as you may know, we have seen a rise in corporate veterinary practices in the Williamsburg area in the past few years. As a result, we find ourselves fielding more and more questions about what sets our private veterinary practice apart from our corporate counterparts. Because of this, we would like to share with you what we think makes a private veterinary practice special – for both you, and for your pets.