April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

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Each year, hundreds of pets are lost during natural disasters, and many are never reunited with their owners due to a lack of proper identification.  That’s why the American Red Cross has named April National Pet First Aid Awareness Month so pet owners can take time to prepare for disasters.

pet_firstaidPreparing for a Disaster and Evacuation:

  • Make sure your pet can be identified with an ID tag and microchip. Don’t forget to register the microchip.
  • If evacuation occurs, don’t wait to the last minute and don’t leave your pet at home. Think of a place to take your pet ahead of time.
  • Have an emergency kit with basic pet care items, including a two-week supply of food and water.
  • Keep a cat carrier and/or dog leashes near the front door and within reach.
  • Leave pet information, such as type, amount and behavior tendencies, at your front door in case you must evacuate before going home and authorities search the neighborhood for those left behind.

Pet Care During and After Evacuation:

  • Keep the animal confined when staying in your pre-designated temporary location and maintain confinement when you return home.
  • If the pet has been deprived of food, slowly re-introduce food in small portions when returning home.
  • View the pet’s environment and spot out any potential hazards, such as broken glass or fallen utility lines.
  • Take the pet for a medical check-up to ensure the animal’s health hasn’t been affected

Don’t forget to assemble an emergency medical kit for your pets and keep it with your family’s emergency kit.  Items to include in the kit are:

  • Gauze
  • Nonstick bandages
  • Strips of clean cloth (for wrapping wounds, controlling bleeding, or muzzling), securing the cloth with adhesive tape; never use human adhesive bandages (like Band-Aids®).
  • Digital thermometer; do not use a human thermometer because these do not go high enough for animals.
  • Leash, provided the pet is capable of walking without further injury.
  • Makeshift stretcher comprised of a door, board, blanket, or floor mat can be used to stabilize the patient and prevent further injury during transport if the pet is not mobile.

Another important thing to have handy is the phone number for your personal vet and the nearest emergency vet hospital.  Planning ahead for a potential disaster can save time and lives should your family be affected.