By Betsey Mullen Everett Animal Shelter volunteer
It’s fall. Time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also time to plan for those winter storms – like this past weekend’s – that can knock your power out or, worse, keep you at home with ice and snow shutting down businesses and roads. While it’s important to make preparations for ourselves and our families, we can’t forget our pets’ emergency needs as well.
Here’s an emergency-prep list to get you started:
- Water – We need one gallon per person per day, and experts suggest having at least a three-day supply on hand. For pets, track how many times you fill the water bowl each day and with how much water to determine how much water you’d need for your family’s pets in an emergency.
- Food – Keep a minimum of three days of pet food on hand at all times. I use a 1-week rule of thumb: when I get down to one week of dog food left in the pantry, I get another bag. If you feed canned food, be sure to rotate your food so that it is less than two months old
- First aid kit – While many of these items are the same items you would put in a first aid kit for yourself, it is good to keep a separate kit for your animals. You can build your own, or buy a pre-made kit online. If you build one yourself, here are some items to include:
– Gauze pads or non-stick pads
– Gauze roll
– Adhesive tape or adhesive bandage
– Activated charcoal
– Scissors and tweezers
– Rectal thermometer &petroleum jelly
– Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or Bacitracin)
– Styptic pen
– Hairball remedy (if you have cats)
– Any medications your pet regularly takes (remember to rotate these out so medications do not go out of date)
- Important numbers:
– Your veterinarian
– National Animal Poison control Center (888) 426-4435
– Pet Poison Helpline (800) 213-6680
Some emergencies might require you to leave your home temporarily. To prepare, develop a shortlist of places you could go that will allow you to bring your pets. In case of an evacuation, plan to bring the following items in addition to the items listed above:
- A carrier or crate for your small pets (ideally one for each small pet)
- Extra harnesses and leashes
- Toys or chew toys
- Feeding dishes
- A photo of your pet in case you get separated
There are many online resources with additional information, including the ASPCA website: www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness
Trick or treat – it’s Halloween! Remember to keep your pet away from the candy (and especially the chocolate) in those treat bags. Treats for kids are NOT treats for your pets.
Learn more about the Everett Animal Shelter. Plan a visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out all of our adoptable pets. And be sure to watch our featured Pet of the Week on the Everett Channel.