By Michelle Patel, Owner of Pet Life Saver in Jacksonville, Florida
Hurricane season is upon us. When making preparations for possible evacuations, it is important to plan for our furry family members also. The last thing you want to do is leave your pet home in an emergency to fend for him or herself. Preplanning takes much of the stress out of an emergency situation when it arises. Before the storm is approaching, do some research on animal friendly shelters. Know your evacuation routes and scope out hotels that are pet friendly. Keep their contact information handy so that you can book a room as soon as you know you will need one. When disasters are imminent, rooms (especially pet friendly ones) book up quickly. Keeping your pet up to date on vaccinations is not only good for their health, but also up to date vet records are often a requirement for bringing an animal to a shelter or hotel.
Evacuating as soon as possible will greatly reduce your travel time. The closer people wait until mandatory evacuations, the more congested the roadways get. When traveling with your pet, you will want a minimum of three days worth of medications, food/treats, toys, water, a towel or blanket, litter and a litter pan (for cats), a first aid kit, paper towels, trash bags, carrier, and leash/harness. If you keep these items in a large bin, that is one item off of your to do list when an emergency strikes. Everything is already together (except for the perishables that need to be packed last minute), and you can simply grab the bin.
If you do not plan to travel with your pet, have several boarding options available. Do research ahead of time to know which vet offices and boarding facilities will board during a disaster. Make sure you have their 24-hour contact information handy, as one can never be sure when a disaster will strike.
If you decide not to evacuate for whatever reason, figure out the safest room in your home and set up camp together there. Make sure there are no unsafe areas where frightened pets can run off to, hide in, and escape your reach. Keep poisonous substances out of your pet’s reach. Bring any outdoor pets inside at the first sign of approaching danger. Keeping dogs on leashes and cats in carriers prevents you from having to round them up if you need to leave in a hurry. Monitor the situation via radio, television, or cell phone regularly, and do not leave your home until it is safe to do so.
Sometimes disaster can strike while you are away, and you cannot get to your pets at home. It is always advisable to have someone trustworthy that can access your home and care for your pets in the event you are unable to. Carrying a card on your person at all times with instructions on who to contact in the event of an emergency is helpful to emergency personnel if anything were ever to happen to you and you could not get to your pets.
The first line of defense against a pet getting lost is ensuring proper identification. Ideally, two forms of identification should be on the pet at all times. A permanent form of ID (such as a microchip or tattoo) is recommended. Since these are permanent, they cannot be removed from your pet. A veterinarian can read these and get in touch with you. Additionally, a collar with identification tags containing the address and phone number to the pet parent increases the likelihood that someone who finds your pet will be able to reach out to you. It is critical to keep the contact information up to date at all times. GPS trackers that are located on your pet’s collar are also becoming quite popular. In case you ever need to show proof of ownership, it is a good idea to always carry a photo of you and your pet. When it comes to our pets, we can never be too cautious.
Always being prepared for a hurricane would come in handy if any other emergency were to come about as well. We never know when a fire, flood, tornado, break in, terrorist attack, etc. could happen.
About the Author:
By Cara Armour, Product Manager Pro Pet Hero
While online learning has been proven by the US Department of Education to be a more effective way to learn, it’s only as good as the actual material, mode of presentation and instructor. YouTube videos are fine and dandy but is that information correct?
Learning how to save your pet’s life and knowing how to react when something is wrong is crucial to anyone that spends their life with pets. This includes pet owners and pet care professionals such as dog walkers, pet sitters, trainers, groomers, dog daycare operators and even vet techs. Did you know that vet techs – the nurses of the veterinary field are never taught cat or dog CPR in their training to become a certified veterinary technician? Crazy right?
You Care Enough to Know How to Save Them
You’re reading this post so you are already intrigued about knowing what to do. It is pretty easy to just dash off to the ER vet, or even your regular vet. I can get an appointment for my dog or cat much faster and easier then I can for myself at my own doctor’s office. That is wonderful but sometimes the added stress and cost of being able to do that isn’t always the best for you or your pet – certainly not your wallet.
The Cost of Veterinary Care
Even with pet insurance the cost of veterinary care is no joke. Depending on your insurance coverage (if you have it), you may still have to pay a good portion of the bill. Pet insurance does not work the same as human coverage – you pay up front, submit the claim, then wait for reimbursement; with monthly premiums this can all add up.
Please do not get me wrong, you are going to the vet for many issues, this is not to dissuade anyone from going and in fact the course teaches you about knowing when to go and what information to have to help the vet help your pet. Knowing when to go or even more importantly, what you can do before you head to the vet can be crucial for your pet’s survival.
The Big Picture of a Pet First Aid and CPR Certification Course
The title of the course doesn’t even begin to sum up the vast skills and knowledge that you will learn. Beyond the sheer volume of over 40 topics you will also learn what to do, what to look out for, and how to act.
If you are going to take the time to learn how to keep your pet safe or recognize issues before they become more serious – most importantly, get their heart beating again when it stops – then you will want to make certain you are learning the life-saving information from a qualified person.
Who Teaches Me How to Save My Pet in an Emergency?
Credentials are extremely important; I wouldn’t want to take a cooking class from someone that has never cooked, so why take a class about pet CPR from someone that has never used it to save lives? ProPetHero is an online cat and dog first aid and CPR certification course taught by a board certified ER vet, Dr. Bobbi Conner DVM, DACVECC. She also happens to be a professor of veterinary medicine and critical care; so she’s saved a few hundred lives in her life and she teaches up-and-coming vets how to do the same.
It’s important to have the right tools in your toolbox; or in this case first aid kit. I hope you never have to use them but in my 30 + years of sharing my life with pets and working with them, I’ve used the skills and knowledge more than I would have liked.
So for less than a night out and less than most wellness exams you can learn from an ER vet on how to help your pet. There are no animal EMT’s so your pet depends on you. Even if you just learn when to recognize when something is not right because you paid attention to when it was – you are on your way to making your pet’s life better.
A typical vet visit is 20 minutes, don’t you wish you had more time to learn from them, now you do and for a lot less than the time it would take! So set aside a little time, the course is under 2 hrs but you can take it in bite-sized chunks. It always remembers where you left off so you can take it at your own pace and place that is most convenient for you. After you complete the learning you’ll have the confidence to act in an emergency and take the best care of your pet. You have 2 years access to review the videos to keep the information fresh in your mind and have the correct information at your fingertips.
In 2003, Cara Armour co-founded Active Paws Inc., a professional pet care business based in the greater Boston, MA area that has expanded to grooming and operating a holistic pet supply store. Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year, the industry’s highest honor awarded by Pet Sitters International and collected many other accolades over the years.
Since 2003, Cara has been trained by the American Red Cross as well as several veterinarians in Pet First Aid and CPR. In 2011 she completed an instructor training course and became a certified pet 1st Aid and CPR instructor. When she found the training online by an ER veterinarian, she decided to join the ProPetHero team, the pet first aid and CPR division of ProTrainings. She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc, a health conscious breeder of Boxers, as well as an active member of several kennel clubs. She has been a mentor to many in the pet industry as well as those in the small business world.
Cara spends her free time traveling to agility, lure coursing and conformation trials. When not at a trial or finding a good home for a Boxer through the rescue, she’s training with her pups or playing in her garden.