Emergency Preparedness and Pets
Hurricane season is upon us again and being prepared is vitally important. We all know this, but
sometimes we let it slip or don’t find time to “get ready”. It’s so easy to forget our fuzzy friends
in this preparation, but we don’t want to make that mistake. Let’s talk about some tips to help
our pet preparedness situation.
Keep your pets’ vaccines up-to-date.
In case of an evacuation, the shelter decides if they will
take your pet – not you or your vet. Keeping them fully vaccinated will prevent most shelter
problems. If you have a pet that cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition, have your vet
write you a letter stating why. Additionally, in a flood event, certain diseases like leptospirosis
can become an epidemic because of environmental conditions. But many of these diseases have
vaccinations for prevention.
Keep your medications stocked.
Our clinic has been closed for extended periods of time due to
storms on more than on occasion. Records might not be available because of closure.
Emergency trips without chronic or travel medications can be deadly. Try to always have a
couple weeks of medication available at all times.
Having a supply of food and clean water is also very important.
Maybe your pet requires a prescription food – you don’t want to run out. In the event of a catastrophe, scrambling to get a supply of food upon an evacuation can be very time consuming. And don’t forget the bowls!
Make sure your pet can be identified.
Have some good photos in your phone. Collars with a
name and contact number can be very helpful, but collars can be lost. Microchipping is the best
option. Microchips don’t get lost and always work. I’ve seen many dogs reunited with their
owners due to microchips. Additionally, make sure all the collar and microchip contact
information is up-to-date.
Finally, have a plan that you have thought out.
For example, if you have to leave right now - Do you have enough carriers that work, with bowls for each pet? Are medications easy to grab? Are leashes present? Are records easy to get?
Remember emergencies occur all the time. Just about all of us live down wind of some chemical
Remember the fires that occurred near the Battleship of Texas? You won’t have time to
prepare if the fire department is knocking on your door.
Bruce W Meuth DVM