Don't Forget Your Pets

Most people forget that their pets will need to survive through a crisis as well. Stock up on at least one week worth of canned food for both your dog and cat. Dry foods will be destroyed if the bag gets wet or bugs get into the bag so it's best to go with canned food which also has a long shelf life. Use stainless steel food and water bowls since they are the most durable and trap less bacteria than plastic and ceramic bowls. Remember, your pets need clean water to drink too. Allow for at least one large bowl of water per day per dog and one smaller bowl a day per cat.

If you have an alternative source for heat (such as a kerosene heater) you need to keep your pets at a distance to prevent their skin from being scorched, or worse, the pet catching on fire. The best way to help your dogs and cats keep warm would be thermal blankets and Igloo type shelters that they could curl up in to trap their body heat. You may also want to purchase a waterproof coat for each pet. Some people try booties in extreme cold temperatures but many dogs and cats will not walk in these. The sweaters, coats and booties are sold for both dogs and cats at most pet stores and online pet shops.

Be sure to update each pet's ID tag with your mobile phone number as well as your address. It's best to also have each pet outfitted with a microchip in case they wander off. Most animal control facilities are equipped to scan for microchips. Another good idea is to attach a mini light stick to their collar or harness. However, each light stick will only last one night. For long term night safety you should buy glow-in-the-dark or neon colored collars and harnesses.

First aid kits should include alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, gauze pads and rolls, tape, tweezers and cotton balls. If you have elderly or ill pets that require one or more medications, be sure to stock up on extra in the event of an emergency.

Your pets are family members too so be prepared!

-Joanna Perry

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