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Friday, July 31, 2009

Will you be taking care of your pets too?

Caring for a pet or pets in an emergency involves more than just having an extra supply of food. There are a number of issues to consider.

During an emergency or disaster situation your dog or cat must have an identification tag, proper license tag, and required vaccination tag on a collar. You should also have the vaccination records easily accessible in the event your pets need to be left in a kennel or boarded with other animals.

Dogs that have had obedience training are better prepared for handling in an emergency. Animals know when something is wrong and become stressed in times of trouble. This makes them harder to handle and less responsive. If they have had obedience training it is often easier for them and for you in a stressful environment.

You should also consider things such as a pet carrier, and all the supplies that are needed to care for your pet if you have to leave home. It is also wise to know in advance where you will leave your pet in your home or on your property if you have to leave but cannot bring your pet. You may also want to contact a local kennel to find out what plans, if any, they have for housing pets during an emergency. There will only be a limited number of spaces available in a kennel and perhaps you can make advance arrangements.

Imagine various emergencies and disasters and ask yourself what you might need to have in order to care for your pets. This might include things such as medications, a brush, a special familiar toy (for comfort during stressful times), blankets or towels, sanitation items, and first aid items designed for pets.

Emergency shelters do not accept pets, so if you must leave your pet behind have an emergency pen set up in your home that includes supply of dry food and a large, spill proof container of water. Preselecting a site in your home will make emergency preparations for you pet easier than waiting until the emergency occurs. It is a good idea to have an automatic feeder and water container on hand. Experts say it is not a good idea to leave a pet chained outside, but leaving a pet in a fenced area may be a good choice if the weather is not severe.

Discuss emergency preparations for your pet the next time you visit your veterinarian.

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