All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

Listen To The Pet Place Radio Show with Marie Hulett

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Put Your Pets In Your Disaster Preparedness Plan!

Dear  Marie:

I've been thinking a lot lately about earthquake preparedness and realized that I haven’t really planned anything for my dog.  If “the big one” happens while I am at work, I might not be able to get back home to take care of him.  Do you have any suggestions?

Dori, Fullerton

Dear Dori:

What a great question!  Planning for a disaster, such as an earthquake, is such an important issue.  Many people have taken the time to create earthquake kits and design  special disaster plans; but what is surprising is that people often forget to include the family pet in those plans.

If a major earthquake (or fire, or any other emergency) occurs in our area, there is a high likelihood that you will not be able to travel on roads and freeways leading back to your house.  If you work far from home, your beloved pet will be helpless unless you have planned ahead.  There are a number of steps you must take now to ensure the safety of your four-legged family members in the event of a disaster. 

First, talk to your neighbors and agree to care for each other’s pets if anyone gets stranded far from home.  If you have retired neighbors or “stay at home” moms /dads nearby, talk to them.  Chances are, they will be home when you are not and can provide care for your furry friend.   (Make sure you socialize your pet so that it will feel comfortable around your neighbors.  No one will want to care for your dog if it tries to attack them!)

Keep a t  least a three day supply of food and water on hand for your pet.  I recommend that you store a couple of non-spillable dishes in the same location with the food and water.  Also, assemble a pet first aid kit that should include the phone number of your veterinarian, antiseptic cream, bandages, and any prescription medication, complete with instructions for use.   It’s a good idea to store blankets, towels, and newspapers for your pet’s warmth and hygiene.  These items can be placed in back pack next to a pet crate (which may need to double as your pet’s housing if your home sustains structural damage).  The best portable pet crates are the strong plastic variety used for transporting pets by plane.  They can withstand the impact of falling rubble and are quite durable.  They also come in a number of different sizes.

Make sure your pet is always wearing an ID tag that has both your cell phone number AND the phone number of an out of the area friend or relative in case local phone service goes down.  If he gets loose after a disaster, animal control officers will be able to contact you or your designated out of town person and arrange to re-unite your pet with your family or neighbors as soon as possible.  In addition to a tag, get a microchip for your pet.  You can link all kinds of information to your pet's microchip so it is a HUGE resource.

Other items to consider are leashes, harnesses, and muzzles.  Any injured or frightened animal will bite.  Store a muzzle with your emergency supplies in case your neighbors need to use it.  A leash and harness will also come in very handy for safely moving your pet to another location. 

Finally, keep  a copy of your pet’s vaccination record with all your other supplies.  Officials may need  to verify that he is up to date.  If you discover that your pet  has missed getting some important shots, get him to the vet immediately.  During an emergency, your pet may come into contact with animals that carry diseases.  If he is current on all his vaccinations, he will be protected.

These simple precautions may someday save the life of your pet.  Take the time now to put your non-human emergency plan in play.

No comments:

Post a Comment