Monday, August 11, 2014

Pet Safety Month: Animals in Disaster: Part 4: Preparing a Disaster Kit and a First Aid Kit for your Pet

Planning a disaster preparedness kit for your pet
  • One to two-week supply of food. Store it in a water-tight, rodent-proof container and rotate it every three months to keep it fresh. If you use canned food, include a spare can opener and a spoon.
  • One to two-week supply of fresh water. If officials declare your household water unfit to drink, it’s also unsafe for your pets. Follow American Red Cross guidelines for storing emergency water for your family and your pets.
  • Medication. If your animal takes medication, a replacement supply may not be easily available following a disaster. Make sure to include dosing instructions and refill information for your pharmacy or veterinary hospital
  • Copies of vaccination records and/or medical records in a waterproof sleeve (a rabies certificate is extremely important), and information about any special needs for your pet
  • Photographs of you with your pets to prove ownership
  • Photographs of your pets in case you need to make "lost pet" fliers
  • Emergency Contact list  (Veternarian, Emergency Vet, local pet-friendly hotels, and a poison-control center or hotline such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435). It is a good idea to include directions to these places as well.
  • Pet first aid kit and book
  • Temporary ID tags. If you've evacuated, use this to record your temporary contact information and/or the phone number of an unaffected friend or relative.
  • One secure carrier for each pet. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may need to remain in the carrier for several hours at a time. If you have multiple animals to transport, you can use an EvacSak, which is
    easy to store and use for transport, but if your pet needs to be contained for several hours, a carrier is a better choice. In an emergency where time is of the essence, a pillowcase will do for short periods of management, if nothing else will suffice.
  • Favorite toy, treats, beds, blankets - small creature comforts to help de-stress your pet
  • Small litterbox, litter scoop and litter
  • Paper towels, pee pads, pet cleaner
  • Garbage bags
  • Roll of tape and permanent marker
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Radio and spare batteries

What should be in your pet's First Aid Kit? Most of the items in a pet first aid kit can also be found in First Aid kits geared towards humans. It is a good idea to bring along a First Aid kit if you are traveling with your pet. Assemble the following in a zippered tote bag or plastic box. A fishing tackle box might do nicely!

Activated charcoal
Adhesive tape - do not use Band-Aids on pets! 1/2 - 1" tape is a good size for cats
Anti-diarrheal medication
Antibiotic ointment for wounds (neomycin, polymixin B, bacitracin)
Antibiotic ointment for eyes
Baby Wipes
Bandage scissors
Bandage tape
Betadine (povidone-iodine)
Blanket - foil emergency blanket
Chlorhexidine scrub and solution
Clippers for grooming - battery operated
Corn syrup (Karo) for hypoglycemia
Cotton balls and/or swabs
Cotton bandage rolls
Dawn dish soap
Ear cleaning solution
Elastic bandage rolls (such as VetWrap or Coflex) For cats, we are fond of 1.5". Do not wrap this too tight; preferably, loosen it from the roll, then wrap with it, just tight enough to stay on.
Eye rinse - sterile (not contact lens solution)
Flea and tick prevention medication
Gauze pads and rolls (2")
Hydrogen peroxide 3%
Ice pack
Large tongue depressors or ice cream sticks (can be used as splints)
Isopropyl Alcohol or alcohol wipes
Latex or nitrile gloves
Measuring spoons
Muzzle - this may be necessary if your pet becomes injured and is in extreme pain, but do not use it if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing
Medication - 2 week supply
Nail clippers
Needle-nosed pliers
Non-absorbent wound pads, Telfa or other
Saline solution for rinsing wounds
Sterile lubricant/petroleum jelly
Styptic powder
Small syringes and eye-droppers
Thermometer (digital) - your cat's rectal temperature should be between 99.9-102.5
Towel and washcloth

You can also purchase pre-assembled Pet First Aid Kits at many Pet Stores and online retailers.

Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment. Please consult with a medical professional before using any home remedies, or in any case where poisoning is suspected. Do not induce vomiting in a suspected poisoning case unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline - in some cases, vomiting can cause additional trauma and complications.

There are many pet first aid books that you can purchase for reference, as well. This one is produced by the Red Cross.

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