How To Deal With Pet Emergencies

Emergencies happen, which can affect both humans and animals. We need to prepare ourselves, for potential emergencies, and we need to have our pets prepared as well. Preparations for both are surprisingly similar.

1. Everyone should have a summary of their pets' records, up to date, and easily accessible. These records should include vaccination records, as well as information about health problems, and medications the pet receives, the type of food he/she eats, and any major personality issues, such as extreme shyness, or fear of other animals. The record should also include the animal's veterinarian, his/her name, address, and phone number, as well as the name of an alternate caregiver for the pet in case you yourself are injured or ill. If you do not have an alternative caregiver, include the name of a suitable kennel that you know will accept your pet in an emergency.

All pets should wear a collar. A sturdy leash should always be on hand. Consider purchasing a collar and leash that has the pets name and phone number clearly embroidered on it, or at least a collar tag with that information. Every hurricane, flood, wild fire, or earthquake makes us aware of the tremendous problem of trying to reunite lost pets with owners. Should such an emergency occur in your area, your pets need to be protected. Consider having your pet tattooed, and chipped. It takes only a few seconds.

3. It is wise to have safety harnesses (as seen on the dogs in the picture) for your pets, when they travel in a car. These snap onto the seat belts, comfortably restraining your animals, and making transportation safer. Keep the harnesses in the car.

4. Make sure to train your pet to come when called. Most pets, will come for a treat, so.I keep a a few near the exit doors, on a just in case basis. In an emergency, it is vital that your pet come to you immediately, so you can all get to safety swiftly.

5. Just as adults should have emergency food and water available, so should pets. The food can be canned or dried. Dried food is lighter to transport, but make sure it is a food that your pet will eat. Bottled water is best, remembering that animals need water proportionate to their weight, about one cup per day for every 10-15 pounds of animal, and more if the weather is hot or dry. The supply should be sufficient to last at least three days, and remember to include feeding bowls. You also need clean-up supplies for dogs and litter for cats.

6. Every home that keeps a pet should have a pet emergency kit. This should be kept instantly available. There are kits you can buy, but you can just as easily, and more cheaply, make up your own. You can purchase some bandages and sterile pads, but enlist your veterinarian for the rest. He can suggest an anti-biotic ointment, pain medication etc. Be aware that medication meant for humans are not always, the best choice for pets. Some human medications may actually harm animals.

7. If your pets are small to medium size, they should have a portable kennel that fits easily into a vehicle. Keep this handy. In it you can place a soft piece of bedding, or part of an old quilt, and a chew toy or two. Make sure small or sensitive pets have a warm coat or sweater handy.

8. If your pet is seriously injured, call your vet immediately for advice, then, if necessary, get ready to transport your pet. Injured animals may bit or scratch, simply out of fear. You should have a simple muzzle in your emergency kit. Ask your veterinarian what he considers appropriate for your pet. Cloth muzzles are cheap but can restrict breathing. Some muzzles cannot be used if there is injury to the head or face. In this case, you may have to wear some heavy gloves, and keep a bulky cloth wrapping between you and the pets mouth.

Small pets can be picked up for transportation, but if you have a large pet, that cannot walk, and are some distance from your vehicle, you will need a large sheet of heavy fabric, like canvas. Either knot two ends tightly or attach a heavy strap. Slide your animal onto the canvas and then drag it slowly towards your vehicle. Wrap the fabric around your pet so it (the pet) does not slide off. You will need a helper to lift the animal aboard. If you are alone, use a long, strong, piece of plywood for a ramp and pull it (again the pet) up the ramp, and into the vehicle. Practice this to make sure it works.

9. Hopefully you will have practiced a fire drill or evacuation plan with your family. Evacuation of your pets should be included in this drill.

10. Check your supplies and update your pet medical information, periodically, and should an emergency occur, your pet will not be one of its victim.

Some areas have set up emergency shelters which are prepared to house lost or abandoned pets in the event of an emergency. These shelters are run by volunteers, some of which would man the shelter and care for the animals, while others rounded up pets in need. Supplies to have on hand are all donated. If your neighborhood does not have such a shelter, perhaps you could think of organizing one.

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Comments 29 comments

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

This is a very informative hub, thanks so much for sharing. Your hub reminded me about our own pet emergency we had just last week. My husband's grandmother's cat got sick very suddenly so we took her to the vet and they gave her a shot of strong antibiotics and had us come back the next day and she seemed to be doing a little better so they gave oral antibiotics for her to finish off. Long story short my husband's grandmother found the cat passed away a few days later. I guess the antibiotics weren't helping as much as we thought. I've voted up, and useful. Thank you again for sharing.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment - I am so sorry your husband's grandmother lost her cat - losing a pet is the same as losing a dear friend - regards - B.


reynold jay 4 years ago

I had a dog that died when I was a child and the experience was so devasting that I cannot keep a pet now that I am an adult. I love animals and humans alike. Up and beautiful.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Reynold Jay - I am so sorry you lost your pet - it can be just as traumatic as losing a family member - hope some day you will be able to keep another pet - there are so many out there that need loving homes - regards - B.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks for all this get information and advice within this well written hub, it will help everyone who has a pet to deal with any pet emergencies .

Vote up !!!


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Kashmir - I do hope it helps some pets - regards, B.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Excellent ideas. After hurricane Katrina I started thinking about this. Our dog passed not long afterward. Now we have 2 Border collie/ Mac Nab teenage dogs. I will be working on a plan for them.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you for your comments - any dog with Border Collie in it is a really fun dog - they just can't get over the urge to herd - no matter what size you are, you are fair game - regards, B.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for your comments Polly - I am not very knowledgeable about cats, but I know if I want to be sure my dogs come immediately, there has to be some treats at hand - would that work with a cat? - regards, B.


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 4 years ago

Hi! billips Excellent ideas. We have a dog and 2 black cats. Angie


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for your comments Angie - I love to see dogs and cats living happily together - B.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 4 years ago from Philippines

This is a good hub, you are right, in case of emergency, our fogs must never be left behind... nice to meet another animal lover here... voted up..


Suki C profile image

Suki C 4 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

Great advice here. Since moving to Spain I have acquired six dogs and four cats - all rescued from abuse & neglect and, yes, all living happily together :)

I have also become involved with a local animal charity and will pass on the advice you have here about transporting injured animals as they are so often called out to animals that are victims of traffic accidents!


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Always happy to meet someone who rescues neglected and abused animals - those animals repay us many times over with their loyalty and love - thank you for your comments and I am so grateful to you for the work you do - regards - B.


Suki C profile image

Suki C 4 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

Thank you - the charities out here are having quite a lot of success lately re-homing dogs from Spain to Holland, Belgium & Germany.

I take some in as foster dogs while they are waiting for flights to their new homes :)


Derdriu 4 years ago

Billips, What a caring, compassionate, considerate summary of getting pets safely through emergencies! In particular, you show great sensitivity in including pets in emergency planning (escape route, food, medical kits). A couple of years ago I remember reading about a family whose home burned down and the pet dog was found dead in a corner of the attached but still-standing garage. That may not have happened if the family had included their loyal canine in mock emergency sessions.

Thank you for caring and sharing,

Derdriu


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi Derdriu - I really do care for animals - they give us so much in return for so little - the least we can do is to ensure their safety - Thanks for reading and commenting - B.


Juliette Morgan profile image

Juliette Morgan 4 years ago

Sound advice and useful information, thanks. So sorry for your loss - I had a rescue Border Collie - R.I.P.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Juliette - nice to know that there are so many compassionate dog-people out there - B.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

This is a great idea I had never considered!


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for taking the time to comment Pollyannalana - I appreciate your comments - B.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

An excellent hub with great ideas and advice. Pets become part of the family and should be taken care of as such.


Paulart profile image

Paulart 4 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

Great information is given on this hub regarding how to deal with pet emergencies.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you for your comments Rosemay50 and Paulart - I am glad that you feel the information is useful - B.


sasanka7 profile image

sasanka7 4 years ago from Calcutta, India

Very useful and important hub. I liked it. Thanks for sharing.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you for your kind comments Sasanka7 - they are appreciated - B.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Not everyone thinks of an emergency plan for their pets. What a great idea for a hub. You seem to find all the things people need to know and write hubs about them! Another great hub. Voted up and useful.


billips profile image

billips 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you for these flattering comments Tillsontitan - it was my love for animals that led me to writing this article - I don't write many, but I do try to make them meaningful and useful - regards, B.


emitchell1 profile image

emitchell1 4 years ago from Utah

Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing.

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