Helpful Pet Tips

Preparing for a Natural Disaster

In the event of a natural disaster, the best way to protect your family from the effects of a hurricane, flood or fire is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, always include you pet in your disaster plan as he is also a part of your family.

How to best prepare for a disaster:

  • Have a current photo of you and your pet.
  • Make sure your pet’s identification tags are up to date and always securely fastened to your pet’s collar.
  • Have a list of friends and family that you and your pets can stay with if your home or surrounding area should become uninhabitable.
  • Find out which hotels and motels in your area allow pets. Many Emergency Shelters DO NOT Allow Pets. Assemble a portable pet disaster supplies kit. This kit should include:
    • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely.
    • Food, portable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and can opener.
    • Pet bed and toys, if easily transported.
    • Medications and pet first aid kit.
    • Information on feeding schedules, behavior problems, medical records, and the name of your veterinarian.

If a natural disaster should be expected, make sure to bring all your pets into the house or a secure and safe area until any danger has passed. If you find yourself in a situation where you must leave your pets at home, NEVER LEAVE THEM TIED-UP OUTSIDE!!!

Some Precautions To Take If You Must Leave Your Home Without Your Pets In The Event Of A Disaster:

  • Confine your pets inside to a safe area. Do NOT tie them down or restrain them.
  • Place notices outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located.
  • Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached, as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.
  • If you return home to find your pet missing, contact the Palm Valley Animal Center immediately and/or your local municipal animal facility.

Pet Pest Safety

Although fleas, ticks, mosquitos and other unwanted pests are a common nuisance, they don’t have to be a health threat to you or to your pet if the proper precautions are taken. Fleas, ticks, mosquitos and other pests thrive in warm temperatures and in South Texas they can become a real problem, especially during the hot months of the summer. What’s worse is that these issues are not isolated to outdoor pets, even an indoor pet can be exposed to fleas, ticks and mosquitos.

Fleas cause skin irritations, carry worms, and even cause anemia, which lowers your pet’s resistance to certain diseases. Not to mention that, if left uncontrolled, fleas can quickly spread and infest a home threatening the wellbeing of your family as well.

The most obvious sign that your pet has contracted fleas is if you notice an unusual amount of scratching. You can check for fleas or ticks by parting your pet’s hair and looking for small droppings, red irritated skin, scabbing or, of course, fleas running around on the animal’s skin.

Ticks should be easier to see because they are normally larger in size than a flea and will attach itself to the animal’s skin and not move. Ticks can carry several blood borne diseases that can lead to anaplasmosis, canine ehrlichia and even Lyme disease. If left untreated, these can be very serious diseases.

Mosquitos can carry the deadly heartworm parasite. Challenging to treat and sometimes fatal, heartworm disease  is transmitted to dogs and cats by a mosquito who has previously bitten an infected animal. This disease can cause a host of health problems in domestic pets including heart, lung and organ damage in both dogs and cats, even putting pets at risk for death.

Should you observe the following symptoms in your pet, please take him to your veterinarian for an immediate exam:

  • Labored breathing.
  • Coughing.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss and listlessness.
  • Fatigue after only moderate exercise.
  • Distended abdomen.

Please keep in mind that the most effective mosquito repellant for use on humans contains DEET. DEET is toxic to animals if ingested and should never be used on animals as a mosquito repellant.

An Ounce of Prevention

By following some very simple steps you can prevent pest-associated problems:

  • The most effective practice is to give your pet flea/tick prevention medicine and a heartworm preventative on a regular schedule. Most of these products are relatively inexpensive and your veterinarian can help you determine the best products for your pet.
  • You can help reduce the risk of outdoor exposure by:
    • Removing standing water to eliminate potential mosquito breeding areas.
    • Regularly mowing your lawn.
    • Treating outdoor areas with pet safe products designed to control fleas and ticks.
  • You can help reduce the risk of indoor exposure by:
    • Frequently vacuuming your carpet and upholstery. The vibration causes the flea eggs to hatch and you can suck them into the vacuum. (If you know you have fleas in your home, make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag after use!)
  • Like humans, dogs and cats should be regularly bathed. By washing them on a regular basis, you not only contribute to the comfort of your pet but also to the prevention of diseases they are constantly exposed to. Bathing your animal will help you notice a flea or tick problem quickly or any skin irritation that does not look normal. However, excessive bathing can rob your pet’s fur of the oils needed to maintain a healthy coat. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian as to how frequently you should bathe your pet.
  • Other ways to control a flea problem with your pet and in your home are with the use of pet friendly foggers, sprays, and powders. Ensure your pets are not in the home when using these products unless they are designed for use on pets and always consult your veterinarian to see what will work best for your family and your companion animals.