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.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Preparing for El Niño - A Guide for Pet Parents

For California, El Niño is finally here and hopefully all you pet parents have prepared properly!  (Say THAT three times fast!)

If you haven't, then it's time to get with it!

First and foremost - have your emergency pet packs prepared in case you need to evacuate your home.  These are the same items you would use for earthquakes or any other disaster preparedness pack.  Many homes in California are in danger of being flooded or are in land slide locations.  This is a serious issue and you MUST be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.  This means you should have ID tags on each and every one of your pets.  Microchips are important too since tags can be lost.

Have collapsible dog crates, food, bowls, bottled water, leashes, harnesses (even for cats), license and vaccination paperwork loaded in your car.  If you pet takes medicine each day, add extra prescription medicine for these pets into your emergency pack.  The phone numbers for your regular veterinarian and emergency veterinarian secured on every pet crate, along with your cell phone number and contact info (and emergency person contact info).  That way, if you need to leave your pet at a shelter, they will have that information.  It's best to put your cell phone number on your pets' tags in addition to your home number AND the number of your emergency contact person who lives out of the area (and presumably in a safe location).

DO NOT leave pets outside during storms!  Even if you have dog houses! Cats should be indoors anyway, but if you are one of those people who still lets your cat roam, at least bring it in for the storm season.  They will get drenched and will become susceptible to upper respiratory infections.  (How would you like being cold, wet, and sick because you are locked out of your family home?)  Dogs also need to be indoors.  Rain is frequently accompanied by wind.  If there is heavy enough rain and strong enough winds, fences, and trees WILL blow down, allowing your pet to escape.  And I'll say would you like being cold, wet, and locked out of your home?

For horse and livestock people, make sure your animals have a dry place to go.  Add sandbags or other sealing material to the outside perimeter of their barn or other enclosure.  Cover with fresh straw/hay/bedding material and clean/change regularly.  Don't let food get rained on and if it does get damp, make sure to clean/dry the receptacle so that it does not get moldy or start growing another fungus.  Check your fence-lines DAILY!  Be prepared to evacuate your livestock to a safe place if you live in a landslide, mud-flow, flooding area.

Finally, consider fostering the pet of a homeless person during storms.  They cannot take pets to temporary homeless shelters and will often remain unsheltered themselves so that they do not lose their pets.  We all see these people and their pets throughout the year and hopefully we have all been showing them kindness by providing blankets, food, etc., all year long.  So if you see them, HELP them by offering to care for their pets.