Matthew a reminder that pet owners must stay prepared

Date: 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 (All day)

By Alan Green and Lisa Olsen

Emergencies can come in any form. Here in the Lowcountry, with the recent visit of Hurricane Matthew, we are reminded that these emergencies affect not only us, but also our family members both two legged and four legged. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure that all members of the family remain safe the next time Mother Nature strikes.

Prepare emergency and travel supplies

Being prepared ahead of time ensures you and your pet are able to seek and maintain safety early, should you be required to evacuate. Ensure that your pet is securely confined in a carrier/crate, or has a well-fitting collar/harness attached to a leash at all times during travel. Pets allowed to be loose during travel are at increased risk of being separated from you as a result of the stress and anxiety. When packing your preparedness kit, consider taking the following with you:

  • Three-to-seven days of food (canned pop-top, or dry — no more than three months old) and five-to-seven days of water for each person and pet
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans work well), litter or paper towels and scoop
  • Extra collar/harness and leashes
  • Two-week supply of any medications your pet takes regularly
  • Pet first aid kit: disposable non-latex gloves, ice pack, clean t-shirt, betadine, towel/blanket, strip fabric, well-fitting muzzle, blunt tipped scissors, triple antibiotic ointment, saline eye wash, Ace bandage material, roll gauze, rectal thermometer, adhesive tape, gauze squares, plastic wrap, bed sheet and Telfa pads
  • Disposable garbage bags and hand sanitizer
  • Recent photos of your pets in the event they are lost
  • A few favorite toys/treats
  • Blanket and flashlight

Have all necessary paperwork in order

In addition to having proper supplies prepared, there is some essential paperwork that should always be kept with your emergency kit to be sure any caregivers have the necessary information to provide prompt and effective care for your pet. In a waterproof document holder, the following should be available at all times:

  • Photocopies (or a USB drive) with up-to-date medical records including rabies certificate, other vaccination records, most recent heartworm or other test results, prescriptions for medications and a brief pertinent medical summary of any illnesses being treated or those treated historically which could be pertinent to future care (transfusions, allergies, etc.)
  • Feeding schedules for each pet
  • Lists of medications and administration schedules for each pet
  • The most current name, address and contact number(s) of your pet’s primary veterinarian
  • Permission to treat letter including the following: caretaker’s name, authorized locations for care (routine and emergency), dates you expect to be out of town and alternate contact numbers (hotel, friend, family, etc.) for authorization details
  • Copies of pet insurance reimbursement forms
  • A list of any and all potential behavioral issues/fears/anxieties your pets may have
  • Photocopied registration information and proof of ownership (adoption records, etc.)
  • A detailed physical description of your pet to accompany photographs, including age, sex, breed, color, weight, distinguishing physical characteristics
  • Microchip information including microchipping company, contact information and chip number
  • An “advanced directive” for your pet, to include your wishes for transfusions, advanced life support, or CPR should the need arise

Ensure all identification is up to date

Too often pets are separated from their owners during emergencies. This can result from damage to perimeter barriers, forceful escape from the home out of fear or anxiety, or becoming lost in new surroundings as you and your pet evacuate from the area. Keeping all identification tags attached to your pet, legible (ensuring names and phone numbers are not worn due to age of the tags) and current is essential. If your pet is microchipped, be sure that the chip’s registration is paid and all information is current with the microchip provider. This will allow rescuers or good Samaritans to easily be in touch with you and provide for safe reunion with your beloved companion.