It’s Wildfire Season: Always Be Prepared – Just In Case!
Wildfire season is just a fact of life in our region, and it’s important to remember that you’ll need an emergency plan for your pets as well as the human members of your family. Here are some helpful tips and resources to get you started:
- Make sure your pet is microchipped. Collars with ID are great, but should your pet run off, become lost, or be sheltered, a microchip with your current contact information will be your pet’s ticket back to you. Your Newberg veterinarian can take care of this for you easily and inexpensively.
- Have a disaster kit ready. Food, water, leashes, toys, bedding, carriers and prescription medications are a must at minimum. It will also help to have vaccination records and current pictures of your pets available should they become lost. Click here for a full list of suggested items for your pet emergency kit from the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
- First aid kits should include pet supplies. Gauze pads, adhesive tape, rubber gloves, a syringe, hydrogen peroxide and the number of your nearest emergency veterinary clinic will get you started. You can also download a free Pet First Aid app from the Red Cross from your smartphone app store or by going to redcross.org/apps.
- Plan an evacuation route and find somewhere to stay ahead of time. When you leave pets out of evacuation plans, it puts you, your animals, and first responders in danger. It’s important to remember that not all emergency shelters and hotels accept pets, and so calling ahead to ensure a place where you both can stay—or where your pets can safely be cared for without you—is a must.
- Practice transport. You can make it much less stressful and easier on you and your animals if you familiarize them with the carrier you’ll be using—then practice transporting them several times prior to an emergency so they’re familiar with the process.
- If for some reason you must leave pets behind, post stickers on your door or front window alerting firefighters that there are pets inside, as well as how many and what type. These stickers could save your pet’s life if you’re not home.
- Know your neighbors. Get their contact information and confirm with them ahead of time that you can call them to pick up your pets and take them to safety if the worst should happen and you’re not at home.
- Know what to do when you find an animal needing assistance. If you suspect the animal is hurt, do not approach right away. Observe the pet for signs of injury, and then move slowly and carefully, as injured or disoriented animals are often scared and may bite or scratch defensively. If possible, remove the animal from danger (out of the road, away from smoldering debris, etc.). The next step should be a call to local animal control and if the pet can be moved, getting it to a shelter or vet office where the pet can be scanned for a chip if there’s no identification.
- Smoke hurts pets, too. Wildfires tend to erode air quality significantly, and animals can suffer breathing and health problems just like humans. That’s especially true for senior pets and those who already have respiratory or cardiac issues. Watch your pet for signs of smoke irritation like coughing, gagging, nasal discharge, fatigue, and reduced appetite.
We’re happy to answer any questions or assist you in getting your pets prepared with microchipping, medications, and copies of vet records—just give us a call at (503) 538-8303.