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Armitage Animal Clinic

Providing excellence in health care…for your pets!

Call us today! 905 836-4001
Call us today! 905-836-4001
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18025 Yonge St, Unit 6
Newmarket, ON L3Y 8C9

Tips for Pet Owners: Preparing Pets for Disasters

May 1 2024

In Canada, the first week of May is dedicated to Disaster Preparedness Week. This awareness event was originally targeted towards people, but is also highly relevant to pets. We sincerely hope that you never have to face a major disaster. However, taking a few simple precautions might significantly impact such situations. Pet owners can take certain measures to prepare their furry companions for emergencies. In this article from Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON pet hospital, a local veterinarian offers advice on how to effectively prepare for emergencies as a pet owner.

How Can You Best Prepare Your Pets For Natural Disasters?

In Canada, we tend to experience blizzards, fires, and floods more frequently than tornadoes and earthquakes. As a result, we usually receive some advance notice before these natural disasters occur. Unfortunately, unforeseen events can happen at any given moment. To maximize your preparedness, consider following these steps.

Make Sure That Your Pet’s Identification Is Up To Date

Microchips and identification tags may be small, but their significance in safeguarding your cherished pet’s well-being cannot be overstated. Disasters can be incredibly overwhelming and frightening for people and pets. Even the most affectionate companion can still be influenced by their innate fight-or-flight response and may flee when scared. It is essential to ensure that your beloved pet is microchipped and has proper identification tags. These things create an unspoken bond, linking you and your beloved pet. Make sure to keep this information up to date whenever you relocate or update your contact details.

Smart tags and GPS tags are also worth considering. These inventions have already helped many people find their pets. However, look over the various options before purchasing. You’ll want to research things like battery life, range, and technology used. Ask your Newmarket, ON vet for more information. 

Have Your Pet’s Documentation Readily Available

You may need documentation that verifies your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations and parasite control. It’s crucial to have this prepared ahead of time to avoid wasting precious moments during an emergency.

Physical copies can be stored in your glove box. You can also take pictures of them and store the photographs in your phone’s gallery. Or, email scanned copies to yourself.

You’ll also want to have copies of your pet’s medical records and any necessary prescriptions.

Create an Emergency Bag for Your Pet

Having a few essentials prepared ahead of time can greatly impact your ability to evacuate swiftly when necessary. We strongly recommend that pet owners keep bags readily available for their furry, scaly, or feathered companions. Additionally, this bag can be used for traveling, so it is a versatile option for those who enjoy taking their animal companions on exciting journeys.

Here are some of the elements you might consider including:

  • Dishes
  • Water
  • Food
  • Treats
  • A Harness
  • A Leash
  • Blankets
  • Toys
  • Products designed to help calm pets, such as sprays or treats
  • Wipes
  • Towels
  • Any Medications Your Pet Is Currently Taking
  • First-Aid Kit For Pets

These are the fundamentals. The list of the exact items that would be needed may vary depending on the type of pet you have. Fluffy will require a litterbox and litter, whereas Fido will require waste baggies and a tie-out line. Including a dog muzzle is highly recommended: if a shelter asks for it, it’s a small compromise for you and your pet. 

If your furry friend has thin fur and needs a little extra warmth during the winter months, make sure to provide them with a cozy coat. It’s also a good idea to include a thermal blanket. Consult with your Newmarket, ON veterinarian for personalized guidance.

Get A First-Aid Kit For Your Pet

Pets are vulnerable to injuries that can occur during fires, floods, and other incidents. Having a pet first-aid kit prepared is highly recommended. Make sure to keep this in or near your pet’s carrier for easy access.

If you shop around, you’ll find a wide range of first aid kits tailored to various types of pets. You could also start with a kit designed for people and then incorporate some items tailored for pets. Include things like sharp-edged scissors, popsicle sticks, pliers, disposable gloves, flashlight, magnifying glass, nail clippers, tweezers, wire cutters, styptic powder, bandages, gauze, disposable cleaning wipes, cotton swabs, medical tape, syringes, eye droppers, eye wash solution (saline), chlorhexidine, disinfectant wipes, iodine and towels, hydrogen peroxide, milk of magnesia, and activated charcoal.

You might need a larger case. You could consider using a tackle box, an overnight toiletry bag, or a small backpack as potential options. 

Of course, a first-aid kit will be useless if you lack knowledge of what steps to take. Purchase or print a high-quality pet first-aid brochure and store it in your kit. You may also want to try downloading a pet first-aid app. The Red Cross has an excellent one.

Stay On Top Of Your Pet’s Preventative Care

We strongly recommend staying on top of your pet’s wellness and preventative care. This is essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being. It is important to consider this factor in case of an emergency. One thing to consider is that during disasters, there tends to be a significant number of animals that become lost or are just roaming freely. This includes both domesticated pets and wild animals who are fleeing danger in their natural habitats. Some of them could harbor diseases or parasites. It is very possible for an infected animal to enter a suburban neighborhood while escaping a wildfire, or for a stray dog with heartworms to end up downtown.

Additionally, many shelters and hotels may ask for documentation to ensure that your beloved pet is current on their vaccinations.

Seek additional information from your Newmarket, ON veterinarian.

Get A List Of Shelters

Have a well-thought-out plan in place before a disaster occurs. Printing out a comprehensive list of pet-friendly hotels within a reasonable driving distance can be incredibly helpful. It’s also always smart to have a map handy in case you encounter a situation where cell service is unavailable and GPS is not an option.

Get A Good Emergency Pet Travel Carrier

We always suggest that people travel with pets in crates for safety purposes. This also—and especially–holds true when faced with an emergency. We suggest investing in a high-quality hard-shell carrier as it provides better protection than fabric ones. Put your contact information on the carrier. A luggage tag works well for this.

Have A Fire Plan

House fires are considered disasters as well. If you have children, you may already have put window stickers on your windows indicating the number of children in your household. Additionally, you can apply this technique to pets by sharing the types of pets you own and their potential hiding spots.

We would also suggest that you establish an emergency plan with the members of your household. Don’t forget to involve your furry friend in those conversations too.

Reach out to Your Newmarket, ON Animal Hospital

Are you seeking any advice on how to properly care for your beloved furry companion? Feel free to reach out to Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON pet hospital, anytime. We’re happy to help!