From losing power to evacuating safely, there are many tips pet parents should know before the wildfire season starts here in the Pacific Northwest.
To ensure pet owners are prepared, FEMA established September as National Disaster Preparedness Month. Planning ahead of time is essential to making sure you and your animals get out safely when you’re at an ‘evacuation 3’ which means you have to leave your house.
We want to provide some local resources in case you want to donate to local organizations impacted by our recent wildfires. There are a few tips below too on how to safely leave with your cats or dogs. Do you know what to organize well in advance of a disaster?
What if your animal is stressed out too on top of everything else? Pet owners should also brush up on some basic tips to ensure their cats and dogs (and birds) are safe and healthy. You should also consider taking a virtual class to refresh your skills. Dove Lewis offers these to the public.
If you need to evacuate your home never leave your animal behind, here are some tips:
- Use a microchip or collar ID with up-to-date contact information
- Know where to look for your pet if they’re afraid so that you can evacuate faster
- Have a pet-friendly place in mind to go in case you have to leave your home
- Carry a picture of your pet and you together in the event of separation
- Build an emergency kit for your pet, here are details on what you should include
- Take a pet carrier or crate with you for transport and safekeeping
- Do you have a designated caregiver you can call? Have a list of 2-3 names and numbers in case you need help
- Research the shelters that typically take pets during an emergency and have a list of those ready
Local resources for donations for those displaced from the wildfires
You should consider contacting these organizations if you’d like to help out. (There are many more than just these three). TIP: You can sign up for emergency alerts on your phone and each county will have an alert.
- If you’re in Marion/Polk counties this resource from the Willamette Humane Society will help you
- Contact the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. They had a donations page and you can specify wildfires.
- The American Red Cross is collecting donations for anyone that needs help across the region.
5 Tips In Case There Is An Emergency
This emergency may happen during a wildfire or at a separate time but you should have some notes on ‘what’s normal’ for your animal.
How often do you perform a nose to toes exam? What are some basic things you should know so if there is an emergency you can stay calm? Here are some baseline medical stats you should refer to:
- Capillary Refill Time (CRT): Lift the lip of your best friend, and quickly check the gums. When their gums are pressed, the pinkish color should return in less than one second. If it doesn’t, look at the color – are they white, gray, or lavender – this indicates the blood isn’t circulating as it should be.
- Mucous membranes: these should always be pink
- The normal temperature of a dog: 100-102 degrees F
- Pulse at resting rate: Dogs 80-120 BPM
- Respiratory Rate: Dogs: 15-30 breaths per minute
5 TIPS from the American Red Cross
- Dehydration: Pull up on the skin between the shoulder blades. It should spring right back; if it stays in a tent position and doesn’t spring back your animal is dehydrated.
- Pet poisoning: Signs include bleeding externally or internally, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures or other abnormal mental state or behavior.
- Seizures: These can be scary so make sure your animal is in a safe place, but do not restrain them as this can cause further harm. Keep your hands away from its mouth as your pet may not know who you are during a seizure and could bite you.
- Signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion: Collapse; body temperature of 104 degrees F or above (see normal baseline above); bloody diarrhea or vomiting; excessive panting or difficulty breathing; increased heart rate; mucous membranes very red; and increased salivation. Note that normal mucous membranes are pink as mentioned above.
- Your animal is bleeding: Apply direct pressure using gauze over the bleeding site. If blood soaks through, apply more gauze (do not remove soaked gauze) until you can reach a veterinary hospital. By the time you’ve reached this tip, you should be thinking about the components of your first aid kit.
These are all very helpful parameters when doing a nose to toes exam and helpful to remember when your dog is ill or just isn’t doing right.
Resource: Red Cross Pet First Aid Emergencies come in all forms. Your dog could eat something poisonous while on a hike or accidentally fall into a muddy pit with all our rain! These tips are invaluable! Please share these basic pet first aid tips with others. All of these scenarios can happen when you’re not expecting it!