Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are You Ready for Your Next Pet Emergency?

Emergency situations with animals are easier to deal with if you have taken some time to plan ahead. If you own a pet—dog, cat, horse or other domestic animal—you’ll probably experience at least one emergency first aid situation during your pet’s lifetime. The Pet First Aid & Disaster Response Guide by G. Elaine Acker (2007; Texas A&M Press for Pets America, Austin) is a slim book that should be every pet owner’s pet-specific first aid kit.

What? You don’t have a pet-specific first-aid kit? Check out the list provided in this booklet and modify a human-specific kit or create one of your own.

Divided into two parts, the book covers basic animal first aid—how to put on a muzzle (the time to practice this on a dog is BEFORE an emergency), how to assess and stabilize an injured animal, and how to transport or move an injured animal. This is not a book designed to replace a veterinarian or other animal care-provider, nor is it a fully comprehensive first aid manual. Instead, the book alerts pet owners to the types of situations that can trigger animal emergencies—at home, at the dog park, on vacation, or during an evacuation.

The second part focuses on disaster tips learned from events such as Hurricane Katrina (which was a wake-up call to thousands of pet owners across the United States). This is the most helpful part of the book in my opinion—pet owners need to consider what they will do if life gets “lifey” and stuff happens.

The book has room to record vital pet information, but on the down-side, the pages are printed on that slick, non-tear paper that doesn’t take ink without smearing. You could photocopy the pages or use them as a guide to create your own forms.

Order direct from Pets (a group dedicated to informing the public about pet first aid issues and working with agencies to develop pet-friendly emergency response procedures for use during disasters). You can also order from The cost is $14.95, and proceeds go to the group’s efforts to support disaster efforts.

With Hurricane Season around the corner, this book should be in your go-kit.

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