Pet disaster preparedness

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Disaster and emergency preparedness and response is or should be an important issue for families which include pets and livestock. Hurricane Florence caused the evacuating of approximately one million people in Virginia and the Carolinas. My personal estimation of companion pets affected by this storm is about 600,000. One poultry producer reported a loss of at least 1.7 million chickens in flooding caused by the storm. Monster storms bring challenges not only for us, but they are devastating for Fido, Fluffy and Tweety Bird too. Pet Disaster Preparedness should include birds, reptiles, horses, and other livestock. Hobo the Wonder Dog wants to bring awareness to emergency preparedness by sharing this important survival information with you.

East Tennessee and southeast Kentucky are no stranger to natural disasters. The Great Smoky Mountains wildfires in November 2016 claimed the lives of 14 people and burned more than 10,000 acres. In March of this year Gov. Bevin requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for twenty-two counties in eastern Kentucky impacted during severe flooding. Manmade or natural, disasters have been devastating in our areas. September is National Preparedness Month and Hobo the Wonder Dog want to focus on preparing your pets for the worst.

Hobo the Wonder Dog says: No disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all your animals. Any preparedness plan should be simple and easy to implement.

Identification: Rabies tag and identification tags should always be on your pet and may help reunite you and your pet if you are separated. Basic information on identification tags should have your pets name, telephone number, and home address. We recommend having your dog, cat, or horse microchipped as these have proven to reunite families and their pets even months after a disaster. This is a good time to contact your microchip provider to update your contact information. Many reptiles may be marked with a permanent marker.

Transportation: Each pet should have their own collapsible cage or airline approved carrier with bedding. Carriers / cages may become temporary housing for your pet at shelters or hotels. Hobo the Wonder Dog enjoys a retreat to his carrier on trips to unfamiliar places. It is important to familiarize your pet to their cage or carrier before disaster strikes. Fluffy’s carrier should be large enough to accommodate a small litter box, spill proof bowls for food and water, with enough room for them to comfortably stand and lie down. Fido’s carrier should be large enough to accommodate two spill proof bowls and to stand and turn around. Each carrier should be clearly identified with your and your pets contact information. Locate and prearranged an evacuation site outside your area for your entire family including your pets.

Veterinary records: It is a good idea to have copies of important medical records in your evacuation kit. Information to include:

· Vaccination with type and dates administered

· Rabies certificate

· Test results such as heartworm, tuberculosis, brucellosis, Feline Leukemia / Feline Immuodeficiency Virus.

· Microchip record and the number

· List of medications with dosing and administration information. Have at least two weeks of any medication in your evacuation kit

Proof of Ownership: Keep a current photograph of your animals in your evacuation kit for identification. Including at least one picture of you and your pet together may help to reclaim your pet if you are separated. Have a list of microchip numbers and information, telephone numbers, each pets breed, age, sex, color, and any distinguishing characteristics. We also include Hobo’s personality and fears that might cause him to hide or evade rescue.

Evacuation Kit: This list is basic and a small list of necessities each kit should contain. Consult your veterinarian on the appropriate first aid kit for your pet. Be sure to become familiar with the items in your kit and how to use them.

· 2-week supply of food and water

· Cage / carrier for each pet

· Wildlife gloves and mussel

· Emergency contact list including your veterinarian

· Familiar items to make Fido & Fluffy feel comfortable (Blankets, treats, favorite toy)

· Diet record with instructions and a list of allergies

· Medication record including drug name, dose, and frequency including pharmacy contact information

· Collar, leash, and harness for each pet

· Cat litter pan, litter, and scoop

· No-spill water and food dish

· Paper towels, spoons, manual can opener, and trash bags

· Flashlight and batteries

· First aid kit

While the information provided here is not complete, we hope to start conversations about animal evacuation and disaster planning. Hobo the Wonder Dog and his family have their own evacuation kits neatly prepared and easily accessible to grab and go in an emergency. We hope this article gives you the tools and information to prepare your whole family for the worse. Hobo believes in the mission and motto of the Boy Scouts of America — be prepared.

Life is better with a well-prepared dog — woof!

Hobo the Wonder Dog, Your guide to travel, health and fun. Please follow Hobo on Facebook at Hobo the Wonder Dog or contact us at: howard@howardsbaker.com.