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Disaster Preparation Tips for Pet Owners

May 1 2024

Disaster preparedness always takes center stage here in Canada during the first week of May. Although this awareness event is geared toward people, it is also extremely relevant to pets. Blizzards, fires, and floods are more likely to occur here in Canada than tornadoes and earthquakes, so we at least usually get some warning. However, disasters might happen at any time.  While we hope you never have to cope with a severe tragedy, there is one area where taking a few easy preparations could have a huge impact. Continue reading for tips from a local Oshawa, ON veterinarian on getting your pet prepared for emergencies.

Make a Pet Emergency Bag

If you ever need to leave fast, having some basic supplies on hand ahead of time can make all the difference. We always urge pet owners to prepare emergency bags for their furred, scaled, or feathered animals. (This can also double as a travel bag.)

Some of the items to add include collapsible dishes, bottled water., food treats, a harness, a leash., blankets, comfort toys, pet relaxing goods, such as sprays and treats. (if veterinarian-approved.), wipes, towels, and any drugs your pet takes.

Those are the general essentials. The exact list will differ depending on the type of pet you own. Fluffy, for example, requires a litterbox and litter, whereas Fido must have waste bags and a tie-out line. We would also suggest including a muzzle for dogs: if an emergency shelter mandates it, it is a minor concession to make. If your dog has thin fur and wears a coat in the winter, include one for him as well. Ask your Oshawa, ON veterinarian for specific recommendations.

Keep Up With Your Pet’s Preventative Care

To be fair, we always recommend keeping up with Fido and Fluffy’s wellness and preventative care: it is critical for their overall health and wellness.

This can also come in handy during an emergency. One reason is that during calamities, there are often numerous lost or escaped animals running around. This includes both pets and wild animals. Some of them could be carrying illnesses or parasites, including rabies, which is actually the most dangerous disease in the world. It is absolutely feasible that a rabid animal could run into a suburban area while fleeing a wildfire, or that a stray dog with heartworms could end up downtown.

Also, keep in mind that many shelters and motels need confirmation that your pet’s vaccinations are current.

Contact your Oshawa, ON veterinarian for further information.

Make Sure Your Pet Has Current ID

Microchips and identification tags are both small objects that can have a huge impact on your pet’s life. Disasters can be incredibly chaotic and terrifying for both people and pets. Even the most affectionate pet is wired with that fight-or-flight drive and may bolt if scared. Make sure that your pet is microchipped and wearing ID tags!

It’s also important to keep your contact information up to date. Remember to update this every time you move or change your email or phone number. (You can check your records here at the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup website.)

Smart tags and GPS tags are additional options worth considering. These are excellent new inventions!

Have Your Pet’s Papers Ready For Emergencies

It is also critical to have documentation proving that your pet is up to date on any necessary vaccines and parasite treatments. This is not something you want to waste time hunting for in an emergency, so get it ready ahead of time.

One thing you can do is keep a printed copy in your glovebox. That way, you will already have them with you. (This is also useful if you’re taking Fido to the park or going camping with him.) You can also take photos of them and store them in your phone’s gallery, send scanned copies to yourself via email, or save copies to a cloud drive.

You’ll also want copies of your pet’s medical records and any prescriptions they may require.

Get A Pet First-Aid Kit

By nature, disasters are extremely dangerous. Pets, like people, are vulnerable to injuries from fires, floods, and other catastrophes. It is a good idea to have a pet first-aid kit prepared. Put this in or near your pet’s carrier so everything is in one location.

You may find first aid kits for a variety of pets online. You can also begin with a kit designed for humans and then add pet-specific stuff to it. You’ll probably need a bigger case than the original one, though. A tackle box, overnight toiletry bag, or small backpack might work.

Some of the things you’d want to include are nail clippers, tweezers, wire cutters, corn starch or styptic powder, non-stick bandages, gauze, paper towels, cotton swabs, first-aid tape syringes, eye droppers., saline solution (eyewash), a muzzle, blunt-ended scissors, popsicle sticks, pliers, disposable gloves, penlight, magnifying glass, chlorhexidine, antiseptic/alcohol wipes, iodine, towels, charcoal, and hydrogen peroxide.

Of course, the best first-aid gear won’t help if you don’t know what to do. Purchase or print a decent pet first-aid leaflet and store it in the kit. It’s also helpful to download a pet first-aid app. The Red Cross has a good one. However, we still recommend carrying a paper copy, as cell towers may be down in a catastrophic event.

Print Out A List Of Shelters

Having a plan in place before a calamity can make a significant impact. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to sort out an evacuation plan. One of the most useful things you can do is to print out a list of all the pet-friendly hotels within a few hours’ travel. It’s a good idea to keep this with a map in case cell service goes down and you can’t use GPS.

Choosing an Emergency Pet Travel Carrier

You will also need a carrier. For safety reasons, we always recommend that pets be crated while traveling. This is definitely true in the event of an emergency. We recommend obtaining a decent hard-shell carrier, as it will provide greater protection than a cloth one. It’s a good idea to have your contact information on the carrier as well. You can use a baggage tag for this. Another option is to use a mailing label. Cover it with clear tape to make it waterproof. Add comfy blankets and toys to make it more appealing.

Don’t Overlook Pet Fire Safety

House fires are also classified as disasters. There are also a few options available here. If you have children, you should put window stickers on your windows that say how many kids you have. You can even do this with pets: specify what type of pet you have and where they might hide. Firefighters often try to save pets if they can.

It’s also a good idea to discuss an emergency plan with your household members. Make careful to include your pet in these discussions.

Train Fido

Last but certainly not least, if your pup hasn’t finished his petucation, take time to work with him. Proper training can help keep your pet from running off or approaching dangerous areas.

Contact Your Oshawa, ON Animal Hospital

Do you have any queries about caring for your beloved companion? Contact us, your Oshawa, ON pet clinic, anytime!

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