Pet Owners, Here’s What to Need to Know When Disaster Strikes

Be prepared for any emergency with these tips.

If a catastrophe hit and you had to evacuate your home, would you know how to handle the emergency needs of your pets?

Dr. Joshua Portner, an emergency and critical-care specialist and a member of the executive board of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, recommends these steps to prepare for household emergencies and local disasters:

1. Always store a waterproof bag of pet essentials near the door of your home. This should include bottled water, food, feeding dish, water bowl, paper towels, liquid dish soap, leash, and clean-up items, such as poop bags or litter, litter pan and scoop. Perishable items should be replaced regularly.

2. Maintain a portable first-aid kit with absorbent gauze pads, self-clinging bandages that won’t hurt the pet’s fur, cotton swabs, scissors, non-latex gloves, sterile saline solution, towel, washcloth and tweezers.

3. Be sure to have convenient access to all prescribed medications and instructions on how to use them. Include syringes, eyedroppers and other necessary devices, and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert).

4. Keep a file with your pet’s health history, including records of rabies and other vaccinations and treatments for chronic conditions, plus contact information for your veterinarian, local animal hospital and poison control.

5. Collar and tags should include your address and telephone numbers. Always carry a photo of you and your pet (in your cell phone, for example), which will help if you are separated. You should also have contact information for a neighbor who can take your pet if you are not home.

6. Don’t forget the comfort items: carrier, blanket and toys.

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