The song in Roger and Hammersteins hit musical, “Carousel” announced elatedly that “June is bustin’ out all over. But something was missing; the reminder that June 1 heralds the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane season in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical depressions develop quickly and may rapidly develop into ferocious hurricanes and/or tornadoes. Since weather and other emergencies can and do happen, FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital has set aside June as Pet Disaster Preparation Month
Being fully prepared for the upcoming potentially hazardous hurricane season before catastrophic weather occurs makes life much easier. It is critical for pet guardians to have a plan in place to help ensure their pets safety. And having a pet disaster kit on hand that is kept fully stocked and ready to go can save the lives of our beloved animal companions.
How to make a fabulous DIY kit/where to buy one:
You can easily build a pet disaster kit. Buy an easy-to-carry waterproof container. Those medium- sized transparent plastic storage boxes sold at Walmart and other department stores are perfect. Load the box with several days worth of pet food, bottled water, a water dish, feeding bowls, spoons, favorite toys, an extra leash and collar complete with an identification tag, a blanket or a small pet bed.
Include in your kit a nail trimmer, digital thermometer, Vaseline, flashlight and several jars of baby food (only meat and broth variety). Baby food can be tempting to frightened pets and it may even encourage them to start eating their regular pet food. It is wise to also enclose a small first-aid kit.
In the kit (either purchased or a DIY kit) include information about your pets’ feeding schedules, any chronic medical conditions and/or if your pet has any behavioral problems. If your pet has chronic medical conditions, to be sure you don’t run out of any medications, arrange with your veterinarian for an emergency supply of your pets drugs to include in your kit. Also be sure that your veterinarians contact information is included in your kit just in case weather conditions make it necessary to temporarily board or foster your pets.
Also include a list of the addresses and phone numbers of pet friendly hotels outside of your immediate area. Make reservations in advance once you get notice of an impending disaster. Additionally, prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians that will be able to board your pets in an emergency. It is also wise to include proof of ownership of your pets and vaccination records.
In your kit enclose a list of the addresses and phone numbers of pet friendly hotels that are outside your immediate area. Make hotel reservations as soon as impending disaster news is released; especially if you live in a mandatory evacuation zone. Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinary clinics that can board your pets in an emergency.
However, if you aren’t into making a DIY kit, you can buy a ready-made pet disaster kit online or at shopping malls and pet stores that carry a wide selection of Pet Disaster Kits. For example, Amazon.com carries simple pet disaster kits for a nominal cost. They also carry kits that are more expensive but are designed to fit just about anything you can possibly think of to complete a kit that is fully stocked.
But when an evacuation is either mandatory or suggested, understand that most shelters do not accept pets. If you get an evacuation order, do not leave your pets behind. Once you get home you may not be able to find them. This is a compelling reason in itself to have your pets microchipped. Doing so can help to facilitate a happy reunion should they go missing.
Preparing for emergencies before they happen helps pet guardians deal with any unexpected disasters. By having a fully stocked pet emergency preparedness kit ready, it saves time, lessens anxiety and save your pets lives.
Our specials for this month include the following:
FloridaWild Vet Hospital: We will be offering microchips at a discounted price of $25.
We will also be ensuring you leave with an Emergency Sticker with each receipt. This sticker is filled out by you and placed on your door/window to let emergency personnel know if you have (and how many) pets inside your home.
The Funky Mutt Market: Our boarders who elect to have an exit bath will receive it for half the cost ($7.50). Your pet can come back home all fresh and clean – and you save some money!
Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW, (Ret.)