Disasters happen when we least expect them. Being prepared and having a plan can make a difference in the outcome. Here, our Deer Park vets talk about creating an action plan for disasters and what to include in a pet emergency kit to help you manage these stressful situations.
Preparing for a Pet Emergency
While everyone generally has some type of emergency plan at home to protect the human members of the family, we often forget to consider our furry family members.
Unfortunately, this often leads to pets running free during an emergency and becoming lost. Once found, they are usually brought to the local shelter or animal services. While some pets are happily reunited with their owners, this is not always the case.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your pets make it out safely with the rest of your family is by having a pet emergency plan in place and a fully stocked emergency kit.
What to Keep in Your Pet Emergency Kit
An emergency kit can help you be prepared for anything that may happen. Some of the basic items that you should include are:
- A pet carrier for each of your pets, clearly labeled with identifying information
- At least two weeks' worth of food and water for each pet
- Litter box and litter if you have cats
- Plastic bags for poop if you have a dog
- Medications for at least two weeks
- Medical records (vaccinations, prescription medications, and medical history)
- Sturdy leashes or harnesses
- Microchip number
- Contact information for the vet and close relatives or friends
What to Do in an Emergency
During Disasters or Emergencies
Emergencies can be natural or manmade, such as earthquakes, fires, or even terrorist situations. If an emergency were to arise suddenly, would you be prepared? Here are the steps to take during a disaster.
Assess the situation: Depending on the situation, you may or may not need to evacuate. This means that it will be critical to follow the media for specific instructions from emergency response personnel. Follow all instructions immediately as they are given. This can include evacuating, sheltering in place, or seeking medical attention for you and the members of your family, including pets.
Create your evacuation plan: Develop a plan ahead of an emergency for evacuating safely and efficiently. Plan your route out, and plan to bring your pets whenever possible. If your pets will not be able to join you at the evacuation shelter, you will need to plan for their accommodations. This may be with family or friends, at a kennel, boarding facility, or veterinary clinic. Always plan these out ahead of time.
Develop an emergency buddy system: Speak with those you know to create a plan for someone to collect your pets in emergencies if you are not able to. Share your evacuation and emergency plan with this person or people, and show them where you keep your emergency kit.
Collect contact information: Keep a list of emergency vets in the Deer Park area along with animal control services. You should duplicate this list and keep one with your important documents and one in your pet emergency kit.
Label your home for pets: Place stickers indicating that pets live in the home on doors and windows. This will notify emergency response teams that there may be animals in the home that need to be evacuated. If you can take your pets with you when you leave and have the time, you should write 'pets evacuated' on these stickers.
In a Medical Emergency
Knowing the steps to take in a veterinary emergency can help you move swiftly, providing your pet with the best possible outcome. If there is an emergency or urgent care situation, you should get your pet to an animal hospital in Deer Park right away.
The first step in an emergency will be to assess the situation and perform first aid. First aid for pets is similar to first aid for humans. Use the 'Dr. ABCs'.
Danger: Make sure that you and your pet are free from any further harm or danger.
Response: Check if your pet responds to their name or touch.
Airway: Is their airway clear?
Breathing: Are they breathing?
Circulation: Do they have a pulse or heartbeat?
Send: Get someone to call for help.
Importance of Action Plans During an Emergency
When disasters and emergencies happen, you will likely not have much time to react and plan. By having an emergency plan laid out in advance, you will be able to manage the situation more quickly and efficiently.
When a disaster happens, having an action plan will help you know which steps to take and how to react. Generally, in disaster situations, unless you are in immediate danger, you will be waiting for further instructions from emergency response personnel. While waiting for instructions, you can gather your personal belongings, emergency kits, and pets. In some cases, you may also choose to evacuate early to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your pets.
Trauma & Accidents
When a pet experiences an accident, trauma, or medical distress, you will need to act quickly. Having an emergency plan ready can help you manage the situation and make decisions quickly. This can include performing CPR and contacting your nearest emergency veterinarian in Deer Park.
Evacuating With Pets
In certain emergencies, you and your pets may be forced to leave your home. Many of these times, you will not know how long you will be away from home. It's important to plan for their evacuation as well, whether or not they join you at the emergency shelter. Having a plan in place and evacuating your pets can ensure their safety.
Veterinary Emergency Care at Deer Park Animal Hospital
No matter how careful you are, emergencies can happen. In some cases, you may need to bring your cat or dog in for veterinary emergency care. Preparing for an emergency and seeking veterinary care quickly can make a huge difference in the outcome for your beloved companion.
Our veterinary team offers emergency veterinary care for dogs and cats in Deer Park on a limited basis, during our regular hours. We also offer local hospital recommendations for after-hours emergency veterinary care, ensuring that your pet gets the care they need when it's required.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.