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7 Ways To Prepare Your Pet For An Emergency

May 1, 2024

Disaster Preparedness Week falls during the first week of May here in Canada. This awareness event is targeted towards people, but it is also highly relevant to pets. Although we sincerely hope that none of you ever have to cope with a significant calamity, in situations like that, taking a few easy safety measures can go a long way. In this article, a local Peterborough, ON veterinarian offers some key tips on how to prepare for emergencies as a pet owner.

1. Don’t Lapse On Preventative Care

We highly recommend staying on top of your pet’s wellness and preventative care. This is essential for maintaining Fido and Fluffy’s overall health and well-being. This can also become very relevant in case of an emergency. One thing to consider is that during disasters, a significant number of animals are lost or displaced. This includes both domesticated animals and wild ones. Some of them could be harboring diseases or parasites. It is not uncommon for an animal infected with rabies to find its way into a suburban neighborhood while escaping a wildfire, or for a stray dog with heartworms to end up in a downtown area after a flood.

Additionally, many shelters and hotels may ask for documentation to ensure that your beloved pet is current on their vaccinations.

Reach out to your Peterborough, ON veterinarian for further details.

2. Keep Fido And Fluffy’s ID Current

Microchips and identification tags are incredibly small, yet they can potentially save the life of your cherished pet. Disasters can be incredibly overwhelming and terrifying. Even the most affectionate pet can still be driven by their innate fight-or-flight instinct and may run away if they get scared. It is absolutely essential to ensure that your beloved pet is microchipped and has proper identification tags! These things create an unspoken bond, linking you and your beloved animal companion.

Although microchips are typically a one-time procedure, you’ll need to keep your information up to date. Make sure to keep this information up to date whenever you relocate or update your contact details. Feel free to check your records at the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup here.

Smart tags and GPS tags are also worth considering. These inventions are truly remarkable! Just do a bit of research before buying, as products and services vary quite a bit.

3. Have Paperwork Ready

Make sure you have all your pet’s necessary documentation readily available in case of emergencies. If you need to go to a hotel or shelter, you might have to prove that your pet is up-to-date on the required vaccines and parasite control. This should be prepared ahead of time to avoid wasting precious moments during an emergency.

Here are a few suggestions for this one: 

  • Capture images of them and store the photos in your phone’s gallery.
  • Send scanned copies of the documents to your own email address.
  • Store copies in a cloud drive.
  • Keep copies in your glove box.

It is also important to have copies of your pet’s medical records and any necessary prescriptions  on hand as well! 

4. Create a Pet Emergency Bag

Having a few essentials prepared in advance can be incredibly helpful in the event of an evacuation. It is highly recommended that pet owners keep bags readily available for their beloved furry companions. These bags can also serve as travel bags for those who enjoy bringing Fido and Fluffy along on their adventures.

As to what to include, we suggest dishes, food, treats, a leash, a harness or collar, a tie line, blankets, toys, towels, and any supplements or meds your pet may need.

These are the fundamentals. The exact items needed may vary depending on the type of pet you own. For instance, Fluffy will require a litterbox and litter, while Fido will need waste baggies and a tie-out line. You may also want to include a muzzle for dogs. While you may not be happy about it, if a shelter requires it, it’s a small compromise to make. If your furry friend has thin fur and needs some extra warmth during the winter, make sure to provide them with a cozy coat. It wouldn’t hurt to include a thermal blanket, either. Consult your veterinarian for personalized guidance.

5. Make A Pet First-Aid Kit

Just like humans, pets are vulnerable to injuries that can occur during fires, floods, and other incidents. Having a pet first-aid kit prepared is highly recommended. Make sure to keep this in or near your pet’s carrier for easy access.

You can find a wide variety of first aid kits designed specifically for different types of pets online or in stores. Another option is to begin with a kit designed for people and then incorporate a few items tailored for pets. If you are going this route, you may want to consider getting a larger case. A tackle box, an overnight toiletry bag, or a small backpack would all work.

You’ll want to add sharp-edged scissors, popsicle sticks, pliers, disposable gloves, flashlight, magnifying glass, nail clippers, tweezers, wire cutters, cornstarch and styptic powder, bandages, gauze, paper towels, cotton swabs, syringes, medical tape, eye droppers, eye wash solution, chlorhexidine, disinfectant/alcohol wipes, iodine and towels, and hydrogen peroxide. 

Even the best first-aid kit will be ineffective if you lack the necessary knowledge and skills. It’s a good idea to get a high-quality pet first-aid brochure and store it in your kit. Downloading a pet first-aid app can be quite helpful. (The Red Cross has a good one.) Even so, it’s still a good idea to keep hard copies of important papers, especially in case of an emergency when cell towers might not be working. If you don’t happen to have a muzzle in your emergency bag, include one in your first-aid kit. Even the gentlest dog can become aggressive when they are in pain or scared!

Ask your Peterborough, ON vet for more information.

6. Have An Emergency Pet Travel Carrier

For safety reasons, it is always best to travel with pets in crates. We suggest investing in a high-quality hard-shell carrier, as it provides superior protection compared to a fabric one. It is highly recommended that you put your contact information on the carrier. A luggage tag can be used for this.

7. Print Out A List Of Pet-Friendly Hotels And Shelters

Printing out a comprehensive list of pet-friendly hotels within a few hours’ drive can be incredibly helpful. It’s also good to have a map on hand in case cell service is unavailable and GPS isn’t working.

Conclusion: Pets are just as threatened by natural disasters as people are. Living in Canada, we often face the challenges of blizzards, fires, and floods rather than tornadoes and earthquakes. Fortunately, this means that we typically receive some advance notice. Unfortunately, disasters can happen unexpectedly. There are several steps that pet owners can follow to make sure their animal friends are well-prepared, such as preparing an emergency bag, gathering key documents, and keeping pets’ identification current.

Reach out to Your Peterborough, ON Animal Hospital

Do you have any questions about taking care of your beloved pet? Feel free to contact our Peterborough, ON pet clinic at any time!