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Citizen Cops put out an excellent brochure on “Emergency Planning for Pet Owners.” I’d like to share some of the high points with you: Prepare for the unexpected. For example, a disaster may strike when you are away from home. If you are unable to get to your pet, you will need someone else to step in for you.
Be ready to evacuate. You may only have a moment’s notice to leave your home. That’s why it’s important to:
• Have essential supplies ready to “grab and go” • Know where to find temporary housing for you and your pet. Also, your pet’s behavior may change under stress. Practice emergency procedures. For example, familiarize your pet with how you will transport him or her if you need to evacuate. Your pet should always wear his or her ID collar and rabies tag. If you are separated from your pet during an emergency, proper ID can help improve the chances you will be reunited. In case of evacuation, take care of your pet. Never leave your pet behind in an emergency. He or she may become lost, injured—or worse. The key to evacuating together is to arrange housing in advance. Consider: • Friends and relatives. Ask a friend or relative outside your local area if he or she can shelter either you and your pet, or your pet without you, if necessary. • Hotels and Motels. Contact hotels and motels outside your local area. Find out if they allow pets, and if so, whether they have any restrictions (such as size or species). Also find out if they have a special animal policy during emergencies. (You can visit www.petswelcome.com for a listing of pet-friendly options.) • Emergency shelters. Ask your local emergency management office or animal control for a list of emergency shelters that allow pets. Keep in mind that many shelters do not allow animals for safety and health reasons. • Veterinary offices, animal shelters, and boarding facilities. Consider these options as a last resort, since they will probably be full or closed during an emergency. During an evacuation: • Leave early. If you wait, you may be told that you cannot take your pet. • Make reservations at a hotel/motel as soon as possible, if applicable. • Label your pet with your temporary shelter or housing information. Create a pet emergency supply kit. Use this checklist to help you gather everything you may need for your pet. Basic Supplies (definitely include): • At least a 5-7 day supply of food and water • A 2-week supply of medication with dosage instructions (and any needed medical supplies) • A flashlight with extra batteries • Food and water bowls (or water bottles for smaller pets) • A can opener and spoon for canned food, if necessary • A cage or carrier for smaller animals • An extra collar, lease, or harness for larger animals • A litter box, litter, and a scoop (for cats) • Plastic trash bags, paper towels, soap, and bleach (for waste) Other supplies (consider including): • Comfort items (such as bedding, toys, or pet treats) • Latex gloves (for handling waste) • A hot water bottle or other heating source in cold weather (for birds or reptiles) • A spray bottle for misting in hot weather • Cage liner and perch (for birds) • A blanket or sheet to cover cages • Exercise equipment (for small animals, such as hamsters or ferrets) • A soaking bowl (for reptiles) Important information and records (definitely include): • Feeding schedule and dietary instructions, including any food your pet should not eat • A recent photo of you with your pet (in case you become separated) • A description of your pet (include species, breed, size, age, gender, coloring, special markings, etc.) • A copy of your pet’s medical records, including vaccination dates • A copy of adoption or purchase records • An emergency release form for your pet’s backup caregiver • Contact information for you, your pet’s veterinarian, and a friend or relative that lives out of town • A list of places where your pet can stay in an emergency (see above) • Microchip information, if applicable A first aid kit. Ask your pet’s veterinarian about what to include. He or she may recommend: • An animal first-aid book • Saline solution
• Hydrogen peroxide • Antiseptic wipes • Cotton swabs • Antibiotic cream • Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, and scissors • Flea and tick medication • Latex gloves To maintain your emergency supply kit, make sure you rotate food and water supply regularly (about every two months) to keep supplies fresh. Replace medication that is past its expiration date. Keep food, medication, and papers in airtight, waterproof containers. Also, store the kit in a cool, dry place. Get your pet microchipped. Ask your pet’s veterinarian about implanting this grain-sized computer chip under your pet’s skin. Most animal clinics and shelters have scanners that can read the chip for a special number. If your pet gets lost and turned in to one of these facilities, the number can be used to find you in an animal database. Any form of identification should include your pet’s name and the current contact information for you and an out-of-town friend or relative. Consider putting all of this information on your pet’s collar tags, leg or neckband, and cage or carrier (using permanent ink). To learn more about emergency planning for your pet, contact your pet’s veterinarian or your local humane society. Feel free to call us with any questions at (518) 828-6044 or visit our website at www.cghs.org. Our Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86.00 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only). Charlene Marchand is the Chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.