Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Disaster Planning for Your Pet

Dear Porky and Buddy,

I have been listening to the weather reports about flooding and tornadoes, especially about how they impact on pets, and feeling lucky that I don’t live in the South. Blizzards are one thing, but having your whole house blown away or filling up with mud is a whole different aspect of “weather.” Anyway, I suddenly realized that I don’t really have a plan about how to take care of my pets if even a small accident happened here at home, much less a natural disaster, so I have several questions about that. The first one is: What should I have on hand at home to take care of my cats and dog if an accident or illness should happen before I can get them to my veterinarian?


Dear Cathy,

First aid for pets is much like first aid for people and you will need many of the exact same supplies easily accessible. That means all stored together in a place in your house where you can actually find them quickly.

Some suggestions are: a rectal thermometer, sterile gauze rolls and pads for bandages, adhesive tape, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, Epsom salts, tweezers, petroleum jelly, antiseptic lotion, powder or spray, a nylon leash, a carrier for small dogs and for cats, cotton balls or swabs, splints and tongue depressors, towels, a muzzle or strips of cotton to prevent biting, penlight or flashlight, scissors, needle-nosed pliers, ice pack , plastic eyedropper or syringe, sterile saline solution, glucose paste or corn syrup, styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals and pet supply stores) latex gloves, ear-cleaning solution, nail clippers.

You probably have much of this stuff already in your house, but the advantage of gathering it together into a “first aid kit” is that you can find it when you need it. Who can remember where the corn syrup is when there’s an emergency?

Now what to do with all of these items if it’s not obvious. Invest in a good pet first aid book. Your vet may know of one, or you may find them online at the HSUS or ASPCA online stores. You can consult that book for helpful advice on whether a trip to the vet might be necessary and what to do to perhaps avoid such a trip. But remember that your own veterinarian is your best source of advice about whether to come in and what to do in the meantime.

And notice that we did not include any medications in this list of supplies. Do not give any oral medications to your pet without first asking the advice of your veterinarian. Over the counter medications that may be perfectly safe for people can be deadly for pets, so never make any assumptions about that.

Right with all your supplies keep the phone numbers that you will need:
Your veterinarian.

The nearest emergency veterinary clinic. (Your vet can recommend one if he or she does not provide emergency services.)

A poison-control center or hotline. The number for the ASPCA national hotline is (888) 426-4435. There is a fee for a consultation with this hotline that will be charged to your credit card, but the information they have on hand about all the strange things that pets ingest and how to deal with them is just invaluable.

Finally, know where you can find the paperwork that will be necessary if you have to go to an emergency veterinary clinic. That would include proof of rabies vaccination status and copies of other important medical records.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website:www.oswegohumane.org.