Dogs, cats, horses, etc., could be very scared during a disaster. After some disasters, pets should be tied up, put into a crate, or kept in a closed section of the house until they can be calm enough to not run away out of fear. Some situations may warrant keeping them under “protective custody” for an extended period. There could be broken glass, live electrical wires, and spoiled food out there – just to name a few dangers.
An open jar of mayonnaise is one example of a “tasty” threat to your cat or dog. It only takes a few hours for this to become lethal. It is a good idea to keep a bottle of ipecac syrup on hand to deal with this or other poisons. Just a little ipecac syrup spooned into the pet’s throat will cause him to vomit out the poison.
Pets that are easily stressed might need tranquilizers, so you may want to talk to your veterinarian about getting some in advance. If your veterinarian does not want to let you get regular pet tranquilizers in advance, ask him if your pet would have any problems with Valerian (a natural tranquilizer for humans and animals) and what dose would be safe for him.
Those of you who live in an area where flooding is possible might want to keep a pet life jacket in your emergency kit. Most dogs and cats can swim (dogs with heavy bodies and short legs can’t – like basset hounds), but for how long? It could be a long way in treacherous rapids and debris before they could find an escape route. The life jackets are bright yellow to allow your pet to be seen from a long distance, they have a grab handle so anyone could pull them out of the water easily, and they’re incredible inexpensive. You may not be in a flood zone now, but would you be if terrorists or an earthquake destroyed a nearby dam?
A great “quick-escape” survival kit you can just grab and run would be kept in a backpack. You could also grab “Fido’s” backpack (which you keep filled with his survival essentials, including a collapsible water bowl for compact storage). Once you are both in a safe area, simply strap his backpack on so he can carry his own load – or get one large enough to carry some of your essentials also.
Dogs and cats should always wear an ID tag so that they can be returned to you if they do get lost in an emergency. You might even put a second phone number of a friend or relative in another neighborhood. Since ID tags can come off, an even better idea is to have a microchip placed under your pet’s skin by a veterinarian.
Prior to an emergency (now) is the time to get all shots their up to date. Wild animals carrying rabies could come to your home looking for food after a disaster, and flood waters might bring diseases with them.
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