(CATS AND DOGS/PET CARE) Pet parents want to give their pets the best possible care. Regular vet visits, proper grooming, and ensuring regular exercise and adequate nutrition are just some of the ways in which we make sure our pets are happy and healthy. But what about in emergency situations or natural disasters? Not all pet guardians are aware of the need for an emergency plan.

According to Dr. Jason Nicholas, The Preventive Vet, it is a necessity for pet guardians to learn more about their pet’s emergency needs.

“It’s vitally important that people be aware of first aid measures that can help their pets in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Not just because such knowledge can help save their pet’s life, but also because this type of knowledge also helps people be more in-tune with their pets and how they’re doing.” explained Dr. Nicholas in a statement to Global Animal.

Follow the guidelines below to make sure you are prepared for any pet emergencies.

Bring along treats to make your pet's trip to the vet more enjoyable.
Photo credit: Earthworm, Flick

1) First Aid Kit 

Assemble a proper pet first aid kit. Below is a list of essential items. Check out a full list and advice on assembling your kit here and remember to keep your kit updated with new items.

* Absorbent gauze pads
* Adhesive tape

* Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
* Blanket (foil emergency blanket)
* Cotton balls or swabs
* Gauze rolls
* Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting when directed by a veterinarian or poison control)
* Ice pack
* Non-latex disposable gloves
* Petroleum jelly (to lubricate thermometer)
* Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
* Scissors (with blunt ends)
* Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
* Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
* Tweezers
* A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
* A pet carrier

Photo Credit: Sunny-Dog Ink
Photo Credit: Sunny-Dog Ink

2) Emergency Contact List

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers posted in your home where it is easily accessible. Include the phone number and information for your vet and the closest 24 hour emergency pet hospital. Click here for a searchable directory of emergency pet hospitals. Also include phone numbers to poison control centers. The ASPCA Poison Control Center’s phone number is 1-888-426-4435 but be aware that they charge a fee.

3) Natural Disaster Preparation

Wherever you and your pets live, there is the danger of some form of natural disaster. Whether your area is prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes, there are preparations you can make to protect your family, including your pets. Check out Global Animal’s disaster checklist to help prepare ahead of time before disaster strikes. The Red Cross also has information that includes how to assemble an emergency preparedness kit. The kit includes first aid items as well as appropriate paperwork and current photographs of pets encased in a waterproof container. Make sure to develop an emergency plan as well as become familiar with pet friendly evacuation sites.

4) First Aid Manual

Buy a first aid manual and keep it with the first aid supplies. But don’t just store it away after purchase. First, read through it so you have a general sense of the information and the layout of the manual. In an emergency, you may not have time to read through the book, so knowing where you can find key information is important. Pet First Aid: Cats and Dogs from the Red Cross and The Merck/Merial Manual For Pet Health are excellent options to keep on hand.

A vet gives CPR to a dog. Photo Credit: YouTube
A vet gives CPR to a dog. Photo Credit: YouTube

5) First Aid Class

Find a local pet first aid class and learn how to quickly respond to emergency situations such as choking, bleeding, and seizures. These classes can show you how to hold the injured pet appropriately as well as how to assess your pet’s vitals. According to Thom Somes of Pet Tech, most people learn about specific problems their animal companions face from each vet visit, instead of learning about the overall health and possible emergency issues that can arise.

“Knowing the skills and techniques of Pet First Aid is the foundation of every pet emergency preparedness plan,” Somes told Global Animal.

For a list of classes in your area check out Pet Tech or the Red Cross and watch a video on Pet CPR here.

Please note: The information above is provided for pet guardians in order to be prepared for emergencies and disasters. In all emergency situations, pets should be taken to a veterinarian or emergency pet hospital as soon as possible for professional care. 

— Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal

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  1. Definitely some great tips that any pet owner should know. Another thing I would also consider would be to get some type of veterinary pet insurance for your furry critter. I know what you are thinking insurance for your pet? But yes why not?! I know we have also seen those ridiculously high vet bills, and this helps to make sure that your pets get the care they need.