Pet Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned from Mother Nature

Natural disasters can strike at any time; when they do is not the time to try to prepare. Having your family and pets prepared for such catastrophes as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods will save you time to respond and evacuate, if necessary, and could very possibly save your or your pet’s life. The images of last year’s hurricanes along the Gulf Coast told it all. Thousand of pets became separated from their owners and were left behind. Some survived but, like their owners, found themselves homeless. Others found new homes, and a few were miraculously reunited with their owners.Plan now by ID’ing your pet.Wouldn’t you want to be able to find your pet in case of such an emergency? Start now by checking with your vet or shelter about a microchip that can easily be implanted under your pet’s skin. They’re about the size of a grain of rice and can be read by a handheld scanner. If microchips aren’t for you, by all means have an ID tag on your pet’s collar that includes a cell phone number or a number where you can be easily reached. Keep in mind that home phone numbers in disaster areas could potentially be out of service.Have an emergency travel kit ready to go.Items that are essential to have with you before you leave home include:
Photos of your pet and proof of vaccinations

A list of any medications your pet takes

A week’s supply of fresh food and water

Emergency numbers of veterinarians, shelters and pet-friendly accommodations

Items that are familiar to your pet (favorite toy, blanket, etc.)

A first-aid kit that includes items such as:

Powder Styptic (toenail bleeding)

Latex Gloves (personal protection from blood)

Sterile Gauze Bandage (wrap wounds)

Eye & Skin Wash (flush wounds)

Triple Antibiotic Ointment (wound)

Hydrocortisone Cream (rashes, itching)

Iodine Antiseptic wipes (sterilization)

Insect sting wipes (apply to insect bites/stings)

Adhesive Tape (secure bandage)

Gauze Pad (apply to wounds)

Scissors (trim hair and cut bandage or tape)

Hand Wipes (personal cleanup)

Antiseptic Towelettes (clean wound or hands)

Cotton Swabs (apply ointments or creams)

Pet Care Card (detailed first aid instructions)

Pet Emergency Card (record your vet’s emergency #’s)

Plastic Forceps (splinters/tick removal)

Familiarize your pet with riding in a travel crate or carrier ahead of time.Getting your pet used to a travel crate or carrier on short trips around town will help ease their hesitation to get in one in a frantic time of emergency or evacuation. Find one they’ll be comfortable riding in for extended periods with plenty of room and ventilation.If you can’t take them with you.
If your pet must be left behind, leave them inside with plenty of food and water. Food could be placed in more than one area in case an obstruction or flood prevents access to it (and to keep your pet from eating the supply all at once).

If there’s time, fill a bathtub to provide enough drinking water in case a return to your home is delayed by days or weeks.

Have pre-made notices ready to affix to windows or doors that tell rescuers of pets inside and how many. Free pet rescue stickers are available through the ASPCA under Disaster Preparedness.

Taking these few simple precautions can make the difference in saving your pet’s life or being reunited with him.

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Pet Photography Secrets

You can dramatically improve the quality of your pet pictures following any number of the tips below. Of course, you should try to incorporate all the elements whenever possible. To get 8 pet photography secrets, just keep reading…1. Consider the context and environment. Your pet should be happy and comfortable if at all possible. Familiarity is a good thing and will improve your chances of a great photo. Be aware of the background, including colors and textures. Also, consider distractions, such as strong smells, other animals, and so forth. In summary, be aware of your surroundings and how your pet might react.2. Be aware of your pet’s personality. Think about the unique elements or features of your pet, such as eyes, hair, size and so forth. Also, consider your pet’s personality. What makes your pet special? I’m sure you have plenty of good ideas; capitalize on them. Set the stage and be prepared for capturing awesome shots.3. Select the right height. You’ll want to be on the same level of your pet. If you’re not careful, you’ll get too many “down” shots since most humans are taller than their pets. You’ll get more interesting shots, including lighting and colors and shadows, if you lower yourself. This is a similar tip to photographing children. It works.4. Move in closer to your pet. Dogs and cats are smaller than humans. If you’re not careful, your pet will end up being a small part of the picture. Experiment with close up shots. You’ll be able to get some great shots of textures this way. You’ll also be able to focus on unique animal elements, like fur and paws. If you don’t have a zoom lens, think about getting one. This is one the great pet photography secrets.5. Experiment with lighting. This is really important because good lighting can make a photograph excellent but poor lighting can ruin an otherwise nice photo. Use natural lighting as much as possible. It is usually best to avoid flash photography since it spooks many pets. Plus, animals are prone to red eye.6. Consider action and playtime shots. If someone else can take the pictures, one of the best pet photography secrets is to play with your pet and capture the moment. Include key elements, such as dog bones or cat toys since they are natural. Have an enjoyable time and your pet will produce some excellent shots for you.7. Get humans in the photograph. On the topic of context and environment, remember that people and pets go hand in hand. While isolated shots can be nice, you can add real excitement and interest by getting people involved. Children and pets are a wonderful combination. Small children with big animals or big men with small toy dogs or kittens will make anyone smile.8. Experiment with both posed shots and random shots. While posed shots are nice to have, you should also try catching your pet in candid situations. Catch them when they don’t expect it. Catch them sleeping or when they are playing. If you try too hard and focus too much getting the perfect shot, you won’t have fun. One of the most important pet photography secrets is to have fun!