PET EMERGENCY KITS
This veterinarian says you MUST have pet I.D tags, Rescue Remedy, and other innovative gadgets like Pet GSP locators!
Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners
Patricia Jordan, DVM, CVA, CTCVH, & Herbology
Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit is vital for Surviving the Storm as the Atlantic hurricane Season Officially begins and the country is wracked with floods, tornadoes and increased weather phenomenon.
Let us think ahead and prepare for the storm before the storm. Get a Family Plan, a Mobile Communications plan and a Pet Plan and be ready.
Consider the identification of your pet. Some pets may have microchips; some may have tattoos. If your companion is already listed on a registry make sure the information is updated and current. I always advised my clients to have contacts for their animals with relatives on different parts of the country…..just in case the telephone lines are down or the electricity is off on one side of the continent. There are some new tech items on the market for recovering your companion animal; the Spotlight GPS pet locator www.spotlightgps.com (about $250) lets you use your mobile phone or personal computer to locate a lost pet. A 2.5 oz. locator attaches to the collar, lets you set up safe zones and then, in a disaster situation if he goes missing, you can find him. Or try the Flexi Pet ID tag which is a $15 USB drive housed in a water proof and shock proof case 64 MB to put address, phone, contact essentials at www.thinkgeek.com.
Now, what about the au natural pooch? Make sure you have current pictures of you and your dogs. Have an ID tag on his collar, on his leash and on his kennel. Any favorite play toy, especially one of those Buster Balls, Bully sticks, trachea cartilage, Frisbees, tennis balls, special smelly socks, tee shirts or favorite blankets all are welcome reminders of home.
I would also think about having Stress relief, Rescue Remedy, if not for the dogs then for yourself. Also the DAP collar (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) which also comes in a diffuser if you have electricity. I have seen this be effective in helping dogs with loud noise and fear of thunder issues. For the dog that can get anxious this will have a calming effect, and a good essential oil like lavender and a banana could do the trick to keep your feet on the ground in stressful situations.
For the raw fed dog, think ahead, it may be better to have some dehydrated foods. Honest Kitchen is one vendor supplying the next best thing. Halos’ Spots Stew may also be a consideration that will also get some fluid into your dog. If you have a canned version for emergencies make sure you pack a can opener if the top isn’t a pull off top. Vacuum packed foods like those sold through Oregon Freeze Dried for humans should be investigated. Besides having a 25 year shelf life, they can provide organic nutrition as your base meal. What do outdoors folks that hike into the back country take for their dogs meals? There are a number of good freeze dried raw dog foods for the guys; Paw Naturaw, Steve’s Real Food, Stella and Chewy’s and Krun Cheros, just to name a few.
Find a backpack for your dogs and they can help carry their stuff if an evacuation is ordered. Visit www.rei.com and prepare now, from Pet First Aid kits, Adventure Dog packs, Dog tents, Dog Float coats and Dog Dream Beds, REI caries 10 pages of helpful “dog needs to leave home quick” adventure products. Do you think anyone carries grass fed tripe you can just add water to? Stella and Chewy’s has it. Think of the evacuation as a big community camp out. Just don’t’ forget to plan ahead and take the chuck wagon.
For those who own the short faced breeds that are so prone to overheating, the little battery operated fans could be helpful and making plans to have enough water is crucial when disaster strikes during the hot summer months. There are even fans with water bottles attached to make a little cool air, a very little bit of cool air but cool none the less. Solar pup with UV protection and a little popup kennel could be your salvation.
Access the www.avmamedia.org for podcasts in the animal tracks of Summer Pet Safety and they will educate you on recognizing signs of heatstroke  and teach you how to recognize the signs of overheating.
I know we don’t like to think we will be tangled up in a disaster but take it from me, 3 hurricanes in one summer in 1996 taught me about leaving no stone unturned when planning for that event you think will never come. The Red Cross sure learned something during the Katrina Hurricane Disaster .The Federal Government took notice also. People would not leave their pets behind, refusing to evacuate without the whole family. One older woman was taking off her jewelry on the bus sent to evacuate her. She wanted so desperately to bring also her dogs that she was willing to sacrifice the family jewels in order to bring the whole family. I don’t think anyone missed the picture of the little boy tearfully refusing to let go of his little dog when getting on the bus. The federal government did take notice and as a result FEMA HR 3858 acknowledges the Human Animal Bond and so you should be aware, plans have been made to evacuate the whole family when disaster strikes.
If your pet is not yet adjusted to crate living, you might think to read that chapter to him ahead of time. Having a collar or harness is paramount. Think about the free-standing barriers like the collapsible exercise pens. A leash set makes having control of your dog easy and comfortable. Grooming utensils are not a bad idea, especially if you never had the time before to deal with knotty problems. If you won’t have big loads to clean up after then please don’t forget the little pooper bags that can attach to the leash for cleaning up after your best friend.
Think also about parasite control, what you would use for tick, flea and MOSQUITO control! Make sure you bring enough for the whole family. The Magellan’s Travel www.magellans.com website is a great resource for-all natural Bite Blocker as well as sunscreen wipes for use in protecting the whole family. If there are any medications make sure you have 2 weeks supply. You can be sure your neighborhood pharmacy will not be up and running without electricity. Shade cloth could be useful if the shelter is overly crowded. Water sources could be iffy so store products with which you can treat questionable water sources in order to pacify the thirsty beasts. Avoiding Montezuma’s revenge may just be a drop of a little something into the water. Seriously, no one wants to meet Giardia up close and personal or to down a mouthful of pathogenic Leptospirosis. I am not suggesting you find room for all of this stuff, just the stuff that would be useful to your family and your situation of emergency preparedness.
Having a digital camera charged up and ready for action is smart as is having a cell phone even though cell towers could be down for a little bit. If the only picture you have of your loved one is your screen saver on the cell phone hey, at least you have one. About those vaccine papers……..if you have shot records or titers done, make sure you have those copies. If you have a waiver letter, make sure you have that copied and have all the evidence necessary to save your companion from unnecessary vaccination. For the life of me I cannot understand why emergency teams are so ready to administer the jab into a stressed out animal, I don’t know when they will figure out that then is not the time as it is a scenario that will increase virus return to virulence and disease expression.
A first aid kit for the natural dog? An animal emergency homeopathy kit like the one available from Washington Homeopathic (www.homeopathyworks.com) will be the treasure box to have in your possession. A little “what to use for what” guide is included and the kit takes up very little space. Leptospirosis is going to be an issue is post flooding times when increased water of contaminated areas could increase the risk of infection. Having homeopathy doses and a weeks worth of Doxycycline would prevent any infection from both natural Leptospirosis and Natural Lyme Disease, either of which could become an issue in a disaster situation. The prepared family should be thinking of a few flower essences, Bach Rescue Remedy [also available from Washington Homeopathic] which also comes in a spray…..Sharon Callahan’s flower essence Return to Joy seems appropriate. Australian Flower Essences EMERGENCY if you need the stronger stuff. Calendula ointment and Lavender essential oil and whatever else you could think of.
If you need help in selecting other items, I would be glad to help. Humans sometimes need additional grief relief from overwhelming disasters. Practicing in this hurricane amongst military personnel that deal with war and catastrophe every day has given me insight to natural therapies I would have never found otherwise.
For disaster preparedness the official website for FEMA is Ready.gov where you can access the FEMA Ready Campaign on Pet Preparedness http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
Note the plastic tote for assembling all this stuff, however we can do much better than packing dry dog kibble and bring a better planet safe cleaner than bleach. Take the time to plan a greener healthier emergency kit. Find alternatives to stressful veterinary kennels with free flying viruses from live virus vaccine administrations and dead food feeding of commercial dry kibble] Community Pet Preparedness Toolkit http://www.ready.gov/toolkits. Open Shelter locator website www.redcross.org/nss/#
Finally, I have always realized that the state of Florida has been ahead of all of the 50 United States in their state’s emergency planning and this goes for the animal disaster preparedness. Go to your state's disaster preparedness website for information and links to the AVMA and the ASPCA animal disaster preparedness plans. I could provide tips for those with cats or birds or horses and if you need that help feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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