Emergency-preparedness plans for your pets

Consumer Reports News: July 03, 2008 12:50 PM

I've got fond memories of childhood and adult trips to Big Sur. This amazing area along the California coast is one of my favorite places in the world, so I've been paying particular attention to the wildfires raging there in recent days.

The section below about pet evacutation in this New York Times news story on the Big Sur wildfires reminded me of an article we ran about emergency preparedness:

"Yellow smoke and ash mixed in the air as a procession of possession-laden cars, trucks and vans streamed north out of town. Horses, goats, cats and dogs were also being trucked out by animal welfare workers, as helicopters ferried back and forth to the ocean, drawing out water to dump on smoldering hillsides east of town."

If you own pets, read "Protect your pets during emergencies," which includes information about preparing for and dealing with emergencies—a few basic steps can help you safely evacuate yourself and your pets. When an emergency does occur, take these bare necessities for your pet with you:

Harnesses, carriers, crates, and cages. Harnesses are better than collars for safety and security. Each pet should have its own crate, cage, or carrier. Be sure to include comfortable bedding, such as old blankets, and any toys to help your pet feel more secure.

ID, contact information, and medical records. All pets should have ID tags with emergency-contact information in case you become separated. Write the same information in indelible marker on the pet carrier. Include feeding and medical information, as well as a description of any pertinent behavioral issues. Keep a copy of records and identification photos of your pet with you at all times.

Food, water, and medicine. Pack three to seven days' worth of nonperishable food and water for your pet, as well as a week's supply of any necessary medicine. Take separate bowls for food and water.

Sanitation. Pack paper towels, liquid dish soap, a small bottle of household bleach, and a package of garbage bags. This will keep an already difficult situation from getting any messier.—Steven H. Saltzman

Essential information: See our Storm & Emergency Guide for detailed information on dealing with disasters. Also read "Vacation Travel for Dogs."

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