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Pet Disaster Plan: For Dogs

Preparing what your dog needs in case of emergency

Focus on the positives as you prepare to keep your pet safe during an emergency or disaster. The following is a list to help you pack in preparation for hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, terrorists, or the bird flu. Prepared, you and your dog can weather whatever nature brings.

What your emergency kit should have in it:

    Personal Items:
  • bed
  • leash
  • harness or collar with ID
  • crate
  • grooming tools, shampoo
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
    Survival Items:
  • 2 bowls, one for water, one for food
  • bottled water
  • food packaged to keep dry and mold-free
  • can opener
  • medications for normal concerns: heartworm, fleas, thyroid, etc.
  • medications for emergencies: diarrhea, constipation, cuts
  • calming medications
  • have at least a 1 month supply of your pet's medication on hand. Now may be the time to renew your prescriptions
  • written schedule of when medications are given and the diseases they treat
  • brief health history
  • veterinary contact information
  • addresses of boarding kennels or shelters that accept pets
  • toys
  • a great little book

For your pet’s bed, choose a lightweight, washable towel or crate pad that’s easily packed. Use a bright leash and harness or collar that are easy to find. The collar should have your pet’s ID secured so it will not become dislodged. Bring a collapsible crate so your dog has a quiet place to sleep if you stay in a dwelling without locking doors and individual rooms. Pack grooming aids. During emergencies, it’s easy to forget how important grooming is to your dog. Shampooing and grooming will help you find skin problems and deal with them before they become infected. Keep the teeth brushed so that you can appreciate your dog’s good breath when you’re spending lots of time together.

Stressed dogs may not feel like eating. Don’t force it; instead, provide dishes and food your dog is familiar with to encourage your pet to eat normally. Keep your dog’s kibble dry. Damp kibble can mold so that it causes vomiting and diarrhea. Best to have it packaged in water-tight containers. Canned food is safe if it can be refrigerated once opened. Pack small cans so that less is wasted if there is no refrigeration and your pet doesn’t eat the entire amount.

When the world is topsy turvy, finding your dog’s dose of medication may be out of the question, so be prepared. Begin with a list of everything your dog needs and the conditions the medications are used for. For example, if your dog uses cyclosporin for allergies, write that down. If you ever need more medication and no cyclosporin is readily at hand, a veterinarian with a list of your pet’s medical problems may feel comfortable substituting prednisone or another allergy product without having your pet’s full medical chart.

Include a supply of medications your pet uses only monthly in case there is no access to a veterinary clinic for some time. Your pet may need heartworm and flea protection even though you do not currently use these medications if you evacuate to another area of the country.

For first aid medications, include Fast Balance-GI to treat diarrhea, Traumeel to help with bruising or injury, and your favorite first aid cream, such as Animax. Include a wound cleaner, such as Nolvasan. If your pet has occasional ear infections, include Zymox HC. For allergy flare ups, pack Yucca Intensive. For calming, include herbs, such as Composure Liquid or use the Comfort Zone DAP spray or atomizer. If your dog catches infections easily, pack an immune booster, such as Maitake-DMG.

If you are caught somewhere without the medications your dog needs and have been purchasing from 1-800-PetMeds, they can access your pet’s record and help provide what you need anywhere in the U.S. Be sure not to give your dog a human medication without checking with a veterinarian. Dogs have unique body chemistry and need particular medications at particular doses.

Plan for a positive adventure by including fun things to do with your dog. Bring bright toys you can’t lose in the grass. Include a Buster Food Cube or rawhide chews to keep your dog busy while you’re handling other matters. Pack at least one book that will make you laugh or feel upbeat. Check the book reviews in the News Section to find a book that you’d like to stash away and read on a rainy day.

Gather your Adventure Kit into one large bag and attach a list of contents. Include the dates of perishable items, especially medications. At the end of your local disaster season, remove the prescription medications and use them before they become outdated. Have your prescriptions refilled and replace the medication with a fresh supply so that it will not be outdated if your dog needs it and you’re on an adventure. Many of the nonprescription medications will be safe and effective for several years and won’t need to be replaced as often as prescription medications.

Enjoy your preparations knowing you’re ready for all of life’s adventures. Your dog will appreciate everything you do to keep it happy, safe, and healthy.

The AVMA is another good source for disaster plan preparedness and they are offering a free, 500-page Disaster Planning Guide for Pet Owners.


The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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 First Aid:
  • Fast Balance-GI
  • Traumeel
  • Animax
  • Nolvasan
  • Comfort Zone Feliway
  • Yucca Intensive
    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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