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Readers Blog: Ask the Pet Expert

Superstorm Sandy gives us pause. How are you prepared for an emergency with your own pets?


I'm painfully watching what is happening in the East Coast due to Superstorm Sandy. Millions without power, many up to the second floor in water, trees down, a metropolis at a standstill. Never in my lifetime did I think that the NYC subway system would cease to run. Tunnels flooded. Seems and feels apocolyptic.

As a professional business owner, I feel the pain of those who are ceasing to run their businesses and the revenue lost each minute they are unable to function. However, my business, a unique service business-professional pet sitting and pet care would HAVE to continue...but how? People hire us to care for their animals while they are away. If they are stranded-and can't return due to cancelled flights. Big question. Who takes care of Fluffy in the face of a disaster such as this one?

Nearly two years ago with the blizzards we had the team shoveled their way to get to their charges. Sure, we were greeted by dog piles, pee and the like. We were also greeted by happy tails and pups ready to eat and be loved. I believe that every dog owner has the built in capacity to understand that accidents happen; and if you have zero tolerance for such accidents, please rethink your role as a pet parent. However, as a pet parent, what can you do to make sure that you are protected and prepared for any disasters.

Here's how:

  1. Have a spare key at a close-by neighbors home. No, you don't have to be cozy with them, but as a pet sitter, and if we are unable to get to Fido, that neighbor is going to come in very handy when we need to call them to do a quick potty break until we can get there.
  2. Have crates and carriers at the ready in case of evacuation.
  3. Have your pet tags on securely with all emergency information.
  4. Have three weeks of medication at the ready.
  5. Collars and leashes ready for dogs.
  6. If you have a cat, have disposable cat litter, boxes and scoop as well as extra cat litter on hand.
  7. Cleaning supplies including paper towels, plastic bags and spray products.
  8. Three week supply of food-either dry or wet cans for the animals.
  9. Bottled water for three weeks worth and extra in case of clean up needs.
  10. Vet information and up to date rabies certificates if the need moves to evacuation.
  11. Have flashlights and batteries at the ready.

Being prepared takes a hour or so out of your day but also gives you peace of mind.While you hire a professional to take care of the situation, at many times, that professional may not have access to a home for a number of hours or even days. Having a neighbor pitch in to help, and having htat planned is a good safety net for those who look after your beloved family members.




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