It is best to prepare an emergency response plan prior to any crisis to
avoid suffering to our four-legged friends. The American Red Cross provides
excellent materials that will also help you and your family to develop an
emergency plan. You should decide ahead of time who will be responsible for pet
care if any emergency strikes. Choose the best room in the house to leave your
pet if necessary. Make arrangements with neighbors. Be sure they have keys to
your home along with specific information as to what pets are there, where they
are located, and instructions for any medication needed. It also helps if your
pets are familiar with your neighbors ahead of time, so they will not be
dealing with strangers, and adding to the stress. Train your pet to a crate. In
a crisis, he may need to be transported, and the ordeal will be less stressful
if the crate is a comfortable and familiar place. Always keep pet's
It is a good idea to prepare a disaster kit for your pet which should
include: collars, tags, and leashes, a muzzle or gauze bandage, two-week supply
of dry food, water, bowls, paper towels, and plastic bags for waste clean-up,
and copies of pet's medical and vaccination records. Your pet's crate should be
labeled with the pet's name, your name, and where you may be reached, or an
out-of-area phone contact, if phone lines are down, and any specific medical
instructions for the animal. Prepare a telephone tree, with numbers of family,
friends, veterinarian, local animal control, or shelter, local hotels which
accept pets, etc.
Twenty years ago, if you suggested getting a pet health insurance policy, most pet owners would have taken it as a joke.
Not anymore. As veterinary treatments have gotten more advanced and sophisticated -- and vet bills for serious conditions can quickly add up to thousands of dollars -- buying pet health insurance is something to consider.
Don Klingborg, DVM, is associate dean for extension and public programs and director of the Center for Continuing Professional Education at the University...
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LEAVE PERTINENT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PET
Your name and whereabouts including phone number (cell phones
Pet's name, age, vaccination status,
Name and phone number of family veterinarian,
Pet insurance papers (if applicable),
Any health issues or information about recent diagnoses, i.e., diabetic,
epileptic, spayed/neutered, special diet, medications, heart disease, cancer,
Behavior characteristics, i.e., fearful, aggressive w/children, other
In addition, it is a good idea to leave some type of signed authorization
sheet, outlining your wishes (include financial parameters and humane and
compassion guidelines) for your pet's care. Examples include:
I authorize veterinary health care providers to care for my pet in the
following manner -- either authorize up to a certain reasonable figure: $300 -
$500, or "whatever care is necessary."
I authorize that if determined to be suffering without reasonable chance
for survival, that my pet may be euthanized following examination and
determination made by a veterinarian. (or list the name and phone number of a
person who may be authorized to make this decision under the advisement of a
veterinarian in your absence)
Please provide only the basics for life-threatening conditions only.