Category: Disaster Preparedness

Where’s Fido?

raising-a-happy-dog-7Searching games may be fun in books looking for a happy stripe shirt guy with glasses, but when it comes to your pet it’s no longer a game but a full on panic attack. Our furry family members are naturally curious and can be excellent escape artists. That’s why it is so important to make sure your pet can find its way back to you. Even if you have indoor pets that don’t wander outside, we never know what life will throw at us. Things like natural disasters and house fires, are just a few unfortunate events that might land our precious fur babies outside. Collars and tags are great but often times they can come off during our pets’ unexpected adventure. It’s time for a more permanent solution.

Microchips may sound scary or like something out of a sci-fi movie, but in reality think of it more as food. That’s right – I said food your, pet loves food! The microchip looks like a microchip-ricegrain of rice (but it does not go in your pets’ mouth – that would be a less permanent solution!) and is inserted into the muscle between your pets’ shoulder blades. By inserting it into the muscle instead of just under the skin, the chip stays in that location. Placing chips under the skin is perfectly fine, but then it migrate to different places all over the body. It can still be read, but it may take more time for a vet clinic or shelter to find it. I know inserting something into the muscle sounds painful but not to worry – we have that covered! Though the injection should only sting a little, we want to make sure your fur babies are 100% comfortable so we administer a light sedative to make sure they don’t feel anything.

Are microchips really helpful?
Yes! The Humane Society of the United States did a study and found that the number of lost dogs reunited with their families increased 250% with microchips & cat reunions increased to 20%! Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and furry to think of how many families got a second chance when they may have lost hope on finding their missing pet? We all want to hope for the best, but we should always prepare for the worse by making sure our much loved four legged friends can always find their way home.

So you got your pet micro-chipped, what’s next?
A peace of mind for one, but don’t forget the register those chips! Every chip has a unique number that you need to register to you with your information so vet clinics or shelters know how to find you. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping this information updated. We’ve had countless animals brought to us with out-of-date contact information and while the chips can be traced back to the clinic or shelter that purchased it, out-of-date information makes it incredibly difficult to get pets back home.

a-gray-kitten-asleep-in-a-bedThere are numerous brands of microchips available, such as AVID, 24PetWatch, and HomeAgain (just to name a few). At TLC Animal Hospital, we use PetLink microchips. The great thing about PetLink is that they offer a lifetime registration with no monthly fees. Other benefits that are included with PetLink chips are access by web or phone 24/7 365 days a year, free tips, and free posters that include your pet’s photo if they do wonder off.

Your pets are family and life is unpredictable. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter the situation, your pet has the best tools to find their way back home.

For more information check out petlink.net

 

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Evacuating Safely With Pets

By: Tara Sansing

Hurricane Season is here!  Are you prepared?! Evacuating in an emergency situation can be both chaotic and stressful.With experts anticipating this to be one of the most active storm seasons we have seen in several years, we want to encourage all of our clients to take a few minutes to make sure that they are prepared to travel safely with their pets.

Evacuation Checklist:

Make sure that you have the following items on hand in the event of a mandatory evacuation:

  1. Food and water- Make sure you have a large supply of food and water for you pet, preferably a whole month’s worth.
  2. Two forms of ID for your pet- Tags with current information, displayed on either a halter or collar, along with a microchip are highly recommended. It is also recommended that there is contact information on file at your microchip company for a friend who lives outside the affected area, so if your pet is found, contact can be made quickly even if your cell is out of power or other local disruptions exist.
  3. Pet carrier- Each pet needs his own carrier to keep him safe and secure, especially when traveling in closed quarters with other pets. Crates large enough to fit a litter box and bed are ideal for cats
  4. Medication- Don’t forget your pet’s prescription meds. Medications can sometime be critical to your pet’s health and can be hard to replace. We recommend at least a two-week supply. This includes all anxiety medications or sedatives that your pet might need while traveling.
  5. Vaccination records- In case you need to board your pet or use public transportation during the course of your evacuation, these may come in handy. It would be ideal to scan a basic health certificate and keep it online for easy access.
  6. Pet care basics– This includes the everyday items you’re likely to overlook, like food and water dishes, leashes, litterboxes, chew toys, etc.

Finding a Safe Place to Go

Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you have everything you need!
Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you are prepared!

Make sure that you have a safe place in mind for both you and your pets in the event of a storm. During a crisis, public disaster shelters and hotels may (or may not) allow pets. If possible, call ahead so you know if you must make other arrangements to avoid you and your pet being stranded in the face of an emergency. Please note that the clinic will not be open in the event of a mandatory evacuation and we will not have staff here to care for your pets.

Plan Ahead

Do not wait until the last minute to make sure that you have the supplies that you need for your pets in the event of evacuation. Local stores may run out of carriers or other essential items. Check your medicine cabinets and make sure that you have a reasonable supply of your pets medications so that you are not scrambling to get refills at the last minute. We want to make sure that all of our patients have what they need to evacuate safely.

As disaster approaches, bring all pets into the house so you won’t have to search for them if you need to leave quickly.

If you need any refills of medications, sedatives for travel or a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

Making Your Cat’s Visit to the Vet More Feline Friendly

By Ashley Elliott

We all love our cats but taking them to the vet can be stressful for both cats and their owners! Trying to catch our feline friends and then get them into a carrier isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some tips on how to get your cat to have a more enjoyable experience from the carrier to the clinic.

Getting your cat used to being around their carrier is the first step to reducing stress for both you and your cat when bringing them to the clinic. If the only time your cat sees the carrier is when you’re trying to catch them to take them to the vet, they’re not going to be too happy to see it. But if you keep the carrier out all the times, your cat will get used to it. If you don’t want to leave it out all the time, try getting the carrier out for about a week before your appointment.

Teaching your cat to love their carrier is the second step to make a trip the vet less stressful. This can be achieved by training your cat to associate good things with their carrier. Food is an excellent motivator. Just let your cat associate meals and yummy treats with their carrier. Start by feeding your cat right outside of the carrier. Over the next few days, slowly move the food further into the carrier. You’ll know that your cat is comfortable when they’re eating their food in the carrier without hesitation.

There are calming pheromone sprays, like Feliway, that can help as well. You can spray a towel, blanket, or even the carrier itself. Do this about twenty minutes before you plan on leaving the house.

Since you’re going to the vet, chances are your cat is going to get some vaccines. Towels may be used during the exam to help comfortably restrain your cat. You can train your cat to get used to this at home. You can also train your cat to get used to having their skin handled similar to how you trained them to like their carrier. Associate treats or food with light handling of their skin.

Now that your cat isn’t running away at the sight of carrier, it’s time to go to the vet! If you’re not able to go into an exam room right away, try to keep your cat away from scary situations in the waiting room. There are all sorts of strange smells and sounds in waiting room that could make your cat anxious. Try to keep other animals away from the carrier. Other animals may want to investigate the carrier, but this could upset your cat. You could cover the carrier with a towel to help prevent this.

Once you’re in the room, let your cat get used to their new surroundings. Open the carrier door and let them investigate. Don’t dump your cat out of the carrier or try to pull them out of it. This will just upset your cat and set a bad tone for the rest of your cat’s visit. Most carriers can be disassembled or opened in different ways. You can also use treats or catnip to make your cat feel more comfortable in the room.

Training your cat to love their carrier and helping them get used to being handled will help you and your cat have a more enjoyable, stress free visit to the clinic.