Make an Emergency Preparation Kit for Your Pet as Hurricane Irene Approaches

With Hurricane Irene expected to hit Long Island by Sunday, Central Veterinary Associates is urging pet owners to prepare for the worst and know what to do if their pet becomes lost during the hurricane.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane is expected to make landfall on Sunday, and is projected to land at New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut. Although the wind speed will slow down, some parts of the area can see as much as 10 inches of rain.

While it is important to make sure other family members are cared for during a natural disaster, it is equally important that pets are taken care of. Central Veterinary Associates offers the following tips:

• Make any and all preparations before disaster strikes. Make sure it includes a plan for pets as well as family members. Find out in advance which shelters accept animals. If necessary, make advance reservations at a pet-friendly hotel or motel.

• Make sure your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations. Keep copies of your pet’s vaccination records with your pet’s belongings. Also keep any pictures or identification in a folder or sleeve where water cannot enter into it.

• Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags. The tags should have the pet’s name and your contact information.

• If you have not done so, have your pet microchipped. This makes it easier to track your pet in the event it gets lost or separated from you.

• Pack at least a 5-7 day supply of pet food and bottled water and a 2-week supply of medication with dosage instruction. Be sure to include a manual can opener in case there is no power, as well as food and water bowls.

• Be sure to include the following as well: an extra collar, leash or harness; a muzzle for dogs who may bite out of fear; a litter box, litter and a scoop (for cats); a cage carrier for smaller animals; comfort items, such as bedding, toys of pet treats; Latex gloves for handling waste; blankets or sheets to cover the cages; and a first-aid kit.

It is important that pets are kept safe during what is expected to be a catastrophic natural event this weekend. Losing or being separated from your pet when disaster strikes can be heartbreaking. If you are unable to find your pet during the aftermath, be sure to contact your local shelter or emergency center.

Central Veterinary Associates is open 24 hours a day, even as the hurricane approaches.

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