CAT | Pet Safety

Questions and Answers about Ebola & Pets

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


The ongoing epidemic of Ebola in West Africa has raised several questions about how the disease affects the animal population, and in particular, the risk to household pets. While the information available suggests that the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, CDC, the US Department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.

How are animals involved in Ebola outbreaks?

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola has not yet been confirmed, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected persons. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola, and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates. In the current West African epidemic, animals have not been found to be a factor in ongoing Ebola transmission.

How does Ebola spread?

When infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.
  • Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.

Can dogs get infected or sick with Ebola?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola. There is limited evidence that dogs become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.

Here in the United States, are our dogs and cats at risk of becoming sick with Ebola?

The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.

Can I get Ebola from my dog or cat?

At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola.

Can my pet’s body, fur, or paws spread Ebola to a person?

We do not yet know whether or not a pet’s body, paws, or fur can pick up and spread Ebola to people or other animals. It is important to keep people and animals away from blood or body fluids of a person with symptoms of Ebola infection.

What if there is a pet in the home of an Ebola patient?

CDC recommends that public health officials in collaboration with a veterinarian evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure to the virus (close contact or exposure to blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient). Based on this evaluation as well as the specific situation, local and state human and animal health officials will determine how the pet should be handled.

Can I get my dog or cat tested for Ebola?

There would not be any reason to test a dog or cat for Ebola if there was no exposure to a person infected with Ebola. Currently, routine testing for Ebola is not available for pets.

What are the requirements for bringing pets or other animals into the United States from West Africa?

CDC regulations require that dogs and cats imported into the United States be healthy. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies before arrival into the United States. Monkeys and African rodents are not allowed to be imported as pets under any circumstances.

Each state and U.S. Territory has its own rules for pet ownership and importation, and these rules may be different from federal regulations. Airlines may have additional requirements.

Can monkeys spread Ebola?

Yes, monkeys are at risk for Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola infection in monkeys include fever, decreased appetite, and sudden death. Monkeys should not be allowed to have contact with anyone who may have Ebola. Healthy monkeys already living in the United States and without exposure to a person infected with Ebola are not at risk for spreading Ebola.

Can bats spread Ebola?

Fruit bats in Africa are considered to be a natural reservoir for Ebola. Bats in North America are not known to carry Ebola and so CDC considers the risk of an Ebola outbreak from bats occurring in the United States to be very low. However, bats are known to carry rabies and other diseases here in the United States. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, never attempt to touch a bat, living or dead.

Where can I find more information about Ebola and pet dogs and cats?

CDC is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and many other partners to develop additional guidance for the U.S. pet population. Additional information and guidance will be posted on this website as well as partner websites as soon as it becomes available.

For additional information on Ebola visit ( 

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Into the WATER!

The dog paddle doesn’t always come naturally; sometimes you have to teach a dog to swim

swimming dogs

It’s a dog owner’s dream: a hot summer afternoon, a lovely lake and you, swinging off a rope into the local watering hole. Then splash! Good old Rover dives in and paddles after you. Sounds great except for one thing: Are you sure your dog can actually swim?

Some pups don’t instinctively paddle, and physical traits of some breeds limit their ability to tread water and float. Pugs, who can have trouble breathing, shouldn’t be presumed to be natural swimmers. Bulldogs have been knows to just sink, because of the densely compact bodies they’re prized for. Beyond that, some dogs just freeze when faced with the unknown. The point is, if you don’t know, you don’t just throw him im.

If your pooch is nervous around the pool, he can learn to swim. Doggie swim schools offer classes in the range of $50 to $70 for roughly a half hour lesson. And dozens have sprung up across the country in recent years. Enroll him.

Or, if you decide to gently teach your dog yourself, follow these rules to keep the swimming lessons safe and fun:


Forcing an unwilling dog to swim is just as dangerous as forcing a child. They’ll panic, experts say. So help him by easing him in calmly.


Even if your pal is wearing a flotation device, it’s always best to support his midsection and hindquarters until he’s relaxed and paddling. Then you can let go.


If you’ve led him gently down the steps, remember to walk him through reaching them again to exit. It’s like any new environment; he needs to know how to return to a safe place.


That way you cut down distractions. Keeping calm is a huge part of staying focused on the training lesson, just like it is on land.


A good swimmer may leap into a large body of water- like a lake- and swim until he’s lost. Dogs wander, so watch him,


Invest in a personal flotation vest.












Like all the brachycephalic breeds, they can experience breathing difficulties: risky in water.


Their densely compact bodies can cause them to sink.


Those stubby legs make them somewhat inadequate paddlers.

Basset Hounds

Dense bone structures and short legs make swimming a challenge. They were bred for land activities.


They paddle just fine, but prolonged exposure to wetness and cold can give them chills and arthritis.

How to Handle a Territorial Dog

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

How to Handle a Territorial Dog


A Territorial Dog Bit My Cousin

Dear Cesar,

I would like to know how to properly handle a situation in which a territorial dog came after me when I was walking in my neighborhood. This situation arose yesterday when my cousin and I were walking. A dog who is usually confined behind a fence suddenly charged across the yard at us.

The territorial dog nipped my cousin on the back of her leg and then proceeded to circle around us. The owner was nowhere in sight. I knew from watching your show that I should remain calm and assertive, but my cousin was terrified. As the dog circled around us trying to get at my cousin, I kept turning to face the territorial dog and would periodically make the “shh” noise I’ve heard you make. I wanted to keep him in sight, but I thought I shouldn’t be making eye contact either. I just imagined a bubble around me and in my mind said, “This is my space.” Eventually, the dog left us alone and wandered off. Even though the dog backed off, I’m not sure I handled the situation the best way. My question is, what are the proper steps to take when faced with a territorial dog off its leash?

Thanks for your help,

Trena Cox

Cesar’s Advice on How to Handle a Territorial Dog

Dear Trena,

First of all I want to tell you what you did was exactly what I would have done in a situation like that with a territorial dog. I couldn’t be more proud of a person who I don’t know, I’ve never seen, and to whom I’ve never given a personal consultation! And you didn’t do anything wrong. Here’s what you did right: you controlled the environment; you controlled the momentum; you controlled yourself; you controlled the dog, and you took over for your frightened cousin. You actually controlled your cousin with your stronger energy. If you had been by yourself, you would have accomplished the exercise in a much shorter period of time. Because of your cousin’s weak energy, it took a little longer for you to make the territorial dog understand that you were not going to back away.

The great thing is that the dog did back away—and that means you won; that means you are the pack leader; that means that you should hold on to that moment for the rest of your life and feel like you just won a purple heart or some kind of medal. I am very proud and if you keep it up – keep the pack leader mentality and stay calm and assertive no matter what, which I always teach on the show—you will always succeed. I’ll say it again: I am very, very, very proud of you.

Stay calm and assertive,

Ceaser Milan

SOURCE: Ceaser Millan

7 Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Should NEVER Eat

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


Turkey 1

Cooked bones are a serious no-no, besides being a choking hazard, they can splinter and cause injuries to your dogs internal organs. If Fido does have no problems ingesting them, it could create an intestinal blockage with very serious consequences. Cooked meat is also bad, as it is often covered in marinades, spices, oils and fats that are detrimental to your pet’s health.


turkey 2

Mushrooms can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided. They can cause damage to multiple internal organs and the central nervous system. While not all species of mushrooms are toxic, it’s probably best to keep this little guys away from Fluffy.


turkey 3

Nutmeg is a hidden evil. Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are good for your dogs in moderation – but remember they must be plain! We often forget we’ve added a little nutmeg and think we’ve made a Thanksgiving treat that’s safe for our pups to have. However, nutmeg can damage your dog’s central nervous system and cause seizures. So make sure this spice is nowhere near your dogs!


turkey 4

Onions are toxic to dogs and can cause anemia. They are equally as dangerous cooked as they are raw – so this is a good item to make sure is kept far away from your pup.


turkey 5

We’ve mentioned on our site before that raw bread dough will expand in your dog’s stomach and possibly cause bloat. Remember, too, that it will release alcohols that may also create problems in addition to the bloating.


turkey 6

Sage is another common Thanksgiving herb, but it contains essential oils that might actually cause some stomach upset for your pooch. It can also cause central nervous system depression. Better to steer clear than take any chances.


turkey 7

High-fat foods are not only unhealthy for you, they’re bad for your pets too. Fat trimmings are a common table scrap that pets might be given, but they can lead to very serious conditions such as pancreatitis.

turkey 8

Lost Pet Prevention/Recovery Checklist

Friday, September 27th, 2013

lost dogPrevention/Recovery checklist

Don’t kid yourself that your well-adjusted pup would never bolt. There are always extreme circumstances-such as fires or intruders-that could prove you wrong. Seriously improve your dog’s odds by taking these proactive steps.

Always collar and tag and microchip your dog. A chip alone isn’t enough. Dogs found without collars can be “adopted” by strangers who assume they’re strays.

If your dog is shy or skittish, add a tag with “I’m afraid, not abused” to her collar. Strangers may assume a cowering dog has been mistreated and deliberately not return her.

Travel Safely. Use a non-slip collar (such as a Martingale) to prevent your surprised or frightened dog from slipping free. In the car, crate your dog so she doesn’t escape if there’s an accident.

Have current photos of your pet. If your dog looks different before and after grooming, have shots of each. See if your vet will attach a photo to your dog’s file in the event she escapes during a house fire or flood in which your personal records are destroyed.

Be prepared. Create large, neon pet posters and keep them at hand to reduce delays if your dog disappears.

Have proof of ownership. There’s no guarantee that the person who finds your dog will give her back. A microchip is the best proof of ownership.

Be neighborly. Introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbors; this makes it more likely they will let you know if they see your dog running loose. If your dog frequently roams, barks or annoys them, they may not be so quick to alert you to a sighting.

Secure your property. Make sure fences are high enough to keep in jumpers and deep enough to foil diggers, and keep an eye out for potential launching pads, such as lawn furniture.

Train your dog not to bolt through open gates and doors. Work through behavioral issues such as digging or not coming when called.

Collect and store scent DNA. Should you need to hire a pet-detection dog, a distinct scent sample from your missing pet is essential, especially if you have more than one animal in your home (ideally, you’ll never need it.) Wearing sterile gloves, wipe a gauze pad over your dog’s back, belly and mouth. Store in a zip-type bag in the freezer.  A few plucked hairs (including the root) and nail clippings stored in another bag can be useful in the unfortunate event remains are found. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis can test the DNA and tell you it’s from your pet.

Dog Bite Prevention for Children

Monday, September 23rd, 2013






Dog Bite Prevention for Children

Did you know that 50 percent of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday? Did you know that 800,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment, while 1 to 2 million go unreported?

The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child—his or her own pet, a neighbor’s or friend’s. You can help prevent this from happening to your child. Please discuss with him or her the appropriate way to behave around dogs. The following activity will help you and your child understand the difference between safe and potentially dangerous interactions with dogs.

The following is a list of pledges that you can recite with your child:
1. I will not stare into a dog’s eyes.
2. I will not tease dogs behind fences.
3. I will not go near dogs chained up in yards.
4. I will not touch a dog I see loose (off-leash) outside.
5. If I see a loose dog, I will tell an adult immediately.
6. I will not run and scream if a loose dog comes near me.
7. I will stand very still (like a tree), and will be very quiet if a dog comes near me.
8. I will not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
9. I will not touch a dog when he or she is sleeping.
10. I will only pet a dog if I have received permission from the dog’s owner.
11. Then I will ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff my closed hand.


Activity Sheet for Children
May I Pet the Dog?
Help your child understand the difference between safe and potentially dangerous interactions with dogs.


Are bones safe for dogs to eat? The FDA says NO!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Are bones safe for dogs to eat? The FDA says NO!

Many people ask, “What bones are safe to give my dog?” However, giving your dog a bone may turn out to be more dangerous than you think! According to the FDA; “Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast, bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

Here, at Town and Country Animal Hospital, a patient recently came in who was chewing on a seemingly safe marrow bone. Unfortunately, the dog got his lower jaw stuck right in the center of the bone. In order to remove the bone we had to sedate the dog and cut it off. Luckily for this pet, the bone was safely removed and he is doing fine now, but that is not always the case. Please think twice when giving your dogs bones, there are many safe treats available in pet supply stores. If you have any questions regarding which treats are safe for your pets you can call us at (305) 238-2222.






































Here are 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:

  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

“Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog,” says Stamper. “There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.”

“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”

Source: FDA

The Pet Lemon Law

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013




What is the Pet Lemon Law?

When you purchase a dog or cat in the State of Florida, you are protected under Florida Statues 828.29, the Pet Lemon Law. Whether you buy from a Private Seller or a Pet Dealer, you have certain rights.

Know the Rules

There are two kinds of sellers: Private and Pet Dealer. A “Pet Dealer” is defined as anyone who engages in the sale of more than two litters per year or more than 20 animal per year – whichever is greater. Regardless of whether you purchase from a private person or a pet dealer, at the time of purchase:

-The dog must be at least eight weeks of age

-The dog must be given a completed copy of the Official Certification of Veterinary Inspection. The Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection must have been signed by a licensed veterinarian no more than 30 days before your purchase.

-The dog or cat must have been vaccinated, de-wormed, and had certain tests prior to your purchase. These must have been administered by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian (NOT a private or pet dealer) no more than 21 days before your purchase if your dog or cat is under four months. If your pet is over four months, they must be administered no more than one year before your purchase.

Vaccines Required

For a dog: Rabies, if older than 3 months, Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Round-worms, Canine Parvo, Hookworms, Bordetella. If the dog is over 6  months it must be tested for heartworms.

For a cat: Rabies if older than 3 months, Panleukopenia, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Roundworms, Calici Virus, Hookworms. All cats offered for sale must be tested for Feline Leukemia.

What Every Seller Must Do

Al sellers redardless of whether they are private or a “Pet Dealer” must:

-Retain accurate records of the Official Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for each animal sold for at least one year.

Know Your Rights

At the time of purchase, the “Pet Dealer” must provide a written or printed notice from the seller advising the buyers of their rights.

The notice shall read as following:

“It is the consumer’s right, pursuant to section 828.29, Florida Statutes, to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection with each dog or cat purchased from a pet dealer. Such certificates shall list all vaccines and de-worming medications administered to the animal and shall state that the animal has been examined by a Florida licensed veterinarian who certifies that, to the best of his knowledge, the animal was found to have been healthy at the time of the veterinary examination. In the event that the consumer purchases the animal and finds it to have been unfit for purchase as provided in section 828.29, Florida Statutes, the consumer must notify the pet dealer within two business days of the veterinarians determinations that the animal was unfit. The consumer has the right to retain, return, or exchange the animal, subject to the right of the dealer to have the animal examined by another veterinarian.”

If You Purchase Your Pet from a “Pet Dealer” You are Protected by Law

If within 14 days after you bought your pet from a “Pet Dealer” a licensed veterinarian of your choosing finds that your pet has a disease or internal or external parasites (excluding fleas or ticks). Or, If within a year after you bought your pet, a licensed veterinarian of your choosing finds that your pet has a congenital or hereditary disorder, and your veterinarian says your pet was unfit at the time of purchase. Or, If the “Pet Dealer” misrepresented the breed, sex, or health of your pet, then:

You Have the Right To:

-Return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price, including the sales tax, and reimbursement for a reasonable veterinary costs:

1) Directly related to the veterinarian’s examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase, and

2) Directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to relieve suffering;

-Return the animal and receive an exchange dog or cat of the consumer’s choice of equivalent value, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs:

1) Directly related to the veterinarian’s examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase, and

2) Directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to relieve suffering or,

-Retain the animal and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs for necessary services and treatment related to the attempt to cure or curing of the dog or cat.

-Reimbursement for veterinary costs may not exceed the purchase price of the animal. The cost of veterinary services is reasonable if comparable to the cost of similar services rendered by other licensed veterinarians in proximity to the treating veterinarian and the services rendered are appropriate for the certification by the veterinarian.

An animal may not be determined unfit for sale on account of an injury sustained or illness contracted AFTER the consumer takes possession.

If Efforts to Resolve a Problem Fail

If your efforts to resolve any problem with the “Pet Dealer” who sold you your dog or cat fail, you must:

-Keep records of all documents, i.e. your bill of sale, veterinary records, correspondance, etc.

-Notify the “Pet Dealer” within two business days of the examination by a veterinarian that the pet is unfit.

-Notify the “Pet Dealer” that the pet was unfit at time of purchase. This notofication must be a written statement for the examing veterinarian and must be received by the “Pet Dealer” within three days of the examination.

Other Avenues You May Want to Consider

-File a complaint with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Consumer Services.

-Contact your local law enforcement agency and request that they file a sworn complaint on your behalf for violation of Florida Chapter 828.29


Source: The Florida Veterinary Medical Association

For a thorough list of the Pet Lemon Law visit:


Disaster Preparedness

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

dogfirstaid_002Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.


Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form; please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.
Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Step 3: Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Keep an Evac-Pack and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include, or visit the ASPCA Store to buy one online)
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner.

You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.
Step 4: Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.

When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.
Step 5: Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.

Step 6: Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it’s crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies close at hand. Your pets may become stressed during the in-house confinement, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.

Special Considerations for Birds

  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.

Special Considerations for Reptiles

  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming device, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).

Special Considerations for Small Animals

  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week’s worth of bedding.