The time to be prepared is here. The Humane Society of the United States and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have declared June as National Disaster Preparedness Month. Facing a disaster is never pleasant, but the trauma can be greatly worsened, for us and our pets, if we are not prepared. We are filling our own duffel bags with special papers, good jewelry and photographs.
Your pet needs his bag also.
A medium-sized duffel bag serves as a great pet care pack and it can easily be shoved under a table and out of the way. Having the essentials ready will make all the difference if that siren does suddenly sound.
A crate or kennel really comes in handy in an emergency for dogs. With a cat, it is a necessity. Cats get so frightened in strange surroundings and having a space with their own blanket and a few toys will make it so much easier on them and on you.
For both dogs and cats, get them accustomed to spending time in the crate and then their own smells will be in there, which will be a comfort to them. A tasty treat makes going into the kennel more inviting. Put your name and contact information and the pet's name on the kennel.
Including a photo is a good idea. Keep a collar on the dog with his rabies, license and identification. Have a collar in the bag for the cat, preferably a harness type from which he cannot escape.
Items to be included in this pet care pack include:
- ood and water dishes that stack together and are unbreakable are a must. Stainless steel bowls work great and come in a variety of sizes. Pack a few day's supply of his regular dry food in a resealable plastic bag. A couple of cans of dog or cat food come in handy if the pet is upset and not wanting to eat the normal fare. Be sure to include a can opener and fork or spoon.
Have two or three gallon jugs of water ready. A change of water or food can cause stomach upset and there will be enough upset already. Do replace this food and water every couple of weeks with fresh.
- Vitally important is that your pet is current on all shots. If he is not, make that appointment with the vet today. If you are not sure, dig out your records. While you have those health records out, make copies of them and put them in an envelope and into the duffel bag. If your pet has to go into a shelter or a boarding kennel, those records will save a lot of frustration.
For the protection of your pets, you should not leave him anywhere they do not insist that all pets are current on vaccinations.
The dog must be licensed. Also in this health record envelope, keep a listing of all medication and the dosages that the pet is on. With several pets, keep each pet's records in a separate envelope but put all pet records together in a larger envelope well marked -- Medical Records. Photographs on each envelope are helpful. Make sure the name and phone number of the veterinarian is on the envelope. Also have your name, address and phone number in plain sight along with a friend or relative who lives in another area who could possibly care for the pet but also would be a contact. •eashes, tie outs and a stake should be kept in the duffel or stowed in the car. If your dog is a chewer or extra strong, a cable is best. Snaps and cords are available at hardware stores for those who want to make their own. But be sure to have both walking leashes and long ropes so that he can be tied.
A first aid kit should contain bandaging material, antibiotic ointment and a cleansing solution such as hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. Cotton balls, gauze pads and cotton swabs should be well stocked in this first aid kit. Clean sheeting can be torn up into strips or otherwise for use in wrapping or cleaning wounds. Scissors, tweezers and tape should be inside the first aid kit. •lways include a couple of your pet's favorite stuffed animals, a bone or hard chew and a blanket or pad which he calls his own.
We all hope that this pack will never be needed due to an emergency. However, when traveling with your pets, the same items are necessary. Keep it handy. The pet will know that his things are in there and will feel comfortable when it is packed in the car with him.
For more information about disaster preparedness for your pets, write to disaster services, the Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L Street N.W., Washington D.C.20037 or visit the website at www. hsus.org.
Christy Wrather is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.