For the love of your pet: Prepare your pet for hurricane season
By John Beck
July 7, 2011 at 2:07 a.m.
Updated July 28, 2011 at 2:28 a.m.
With the first storm of the season just passing through, it got me thinking about the future of this hurricane season. I have my human family covered for a storm but what do I need to do to get my four legged family ready?
Alex did just raise his ugly head and hopefully that will be the last storm to affect our area this season. Wishful thinking? You can never be too ready in case another one does head our direction. It's good to hear that you have a plan for your family. Having a plan for not only your human family but your pet family is essential to avoiding panic and disaster.
Just like your human family.think of your pet's basic needs first. If the electricity and water supply are lost to your home during a storm, you want to make sure everyone is covered. Dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. could care less if the lights don't come on when the switch is flipped. Their main concern is food, water, shelter. Make sure you have enough water for your pets. They will need water to drink and also to cool off with if the temperature gets too extreme or to wash off with if they are soiled. Don't forget that often pets will drink more water than normal in high times of stress. So if your dog normally drinks a 'bowlful' a day, you should measure how much fits in a bowl and at least double it for emergency reasons. You might be wondering why you would be bathing your dog in the middle of a hurricane, well not necessarily in the middle but afterward. Dogs especially will have a tendency to roam and who knows what they will get into. Some things could smell bad and/or pose a risk of infection if not rinsed. If a pet gets an abrasion, you will need water to keep the wound clean until you can get veterinary assistance.
Food is also another item to stock up on. Keep in mind you do not know when the store will open again or how long their current stock of dog food will last. When will the next truck be able to deliver more food to the store? Two weeks or more is an appropriate extra amount of food to have on hand for your pet.
And last but not least, shelter. Providing a safe, shaded, well ventilated place for your pet is something a lot of people don't think about. They figure the backyard is a good place, but not if your fence is blown down or completely missing. Make sure you have a crate that your pet can lay down, stand up and turn around in incase you have to travel or need a safe place for them to be when you can't be with them.
If you decide to evacuate, make sure you take all the above items with you. As everyone witnessed a couple of years ago, evacuations can be a very, very long process. Who knows how far you will make it or what trouble you will run into along the way. Try not to put your pets unsheltered in the bed of a pick-up. I saw a lot of dogs with severe burns to the skin from sitting in the bed of a pick-up truck for hours upon hours during the last evacuation. Other items to get taken care of include: making sure vaccinations are up to date and you have a recent copy, have extra medications (heartworm preventative, flea/tick preventative and other prescribed meds).
If you need help preparing a plan for your pets, feel free to contact me or your current veterinarian for further assistance.
Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.