In case of emergency, prepare your pets

By DR. FRED SELF / VETERINARIAN

In light of recent events around the world and the upcoming tornado and hurricane seasons, taking time to make certain you have a disaster preparedness plan is a good idea.

We always hear about which room we should go to in case of bad weather, how to avoid black ice on the roadway and how we should avoid driving through deep water. But we rarely get instructions on what to do with our pets in case of an emergency.

It is important to mention some things that might help you plan for a worst-case scenario with your pets. After all, the main thing is to have a plan and stick to it.

First, have a good evacuation plan. Being able to evacuate to safety, whether it is to a basement or the next state, is the first priority. It is a good idea to keep your pets’ collars and leashes in one location to make them easier to find at a moment’s notice.

It is also a good idea to train your pets to stay or ride in a kennel in case they have to be transported long distances. Another important tip is to have plenty of kennels to go around. Five cats may get along in the same house but not in the same cat carrier.

It is important to have food and water stored for your pets. If you are iced in and have to go six days without going to the store to buy dog food, and there is none on hand at home, there could be some hurt feelings. It is a good idea to keep an extra bag of food on hand.

If your pets are on medication, it is a good idea to have it all stored in one container so that getting it together in a hurry is easy. Clear plastic containers are good so you know what you are picking up without having to open too many lids. If any of the medication needs to be refrigerated, it would be good to have an ice pack ready to go as well. Having your veterinarian’s phone number in the container may also be helpful.

As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” With any emergency plan it is a good idea to practice several dry runs so that you can identify problems and ways to make the plan run more smoothly should you ever be required to carry it out.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic in Columbiana, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach the clinic at 669-7717.