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E X P E R T  A D V I C E

An s w e rs to y ou r b e h a v i o r a n d tra i n i n g q u e s ti o n s

What Should be in Your Dog Emergency Kit? Eri c M. C r y a n , D .V.M .

QUESTION: I would like to put together a portable emergency kit for my dog. Any suggestions on what exactly to include?

D

uring the holiday season and the inevitable in-law home invasion, I often think about Ben Franklin’s quote that “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Not necessarily words to live by, but definitely relatable regardless of the century. Our founding father did have other famous quotes that do impart wisdom, such as, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.“ These words ring true when it comes to our four-legged fur kids as well, so preparing an emergency kit in advance is critical should a need arise. What to include should obviously be tailored to your situation and your dog, but here are some key essentials that should fit inside every doggie emergency bag. They are grouped into three general categories. The Basics: Just as we need food, water, and shelter during an emergency, these basic necessities cannot be overlooked for our pooch. Having enough nutrients, medications, and preventatives to last for a reasonable period of time is vital. In addition, bring a dog bed or crate so he or she can feel comfortable and/or be confined. Collapsible crates and collapsible food and water dishes are preferable to minimize space. Include a leash, collar, and dog ID tags with your equipment, as these are necessary for basic care and safety regardless of the situation. Documentation: Paperwork is generally not the first thing one thinks of in an emergency, so it can often be overlooked. Keep hard copies of all important pet information in a folder in a waterproof ziplock bag. Our practice, like many others, keeps an electronic medical record that we email clients so they can access their pet’s medical history including prior appointments, previous laboratory results, medications prescribed, and their vaccine history and reminders. I recommend printing out a hard copy of key information and keeping it in this folder so it is readily accessible during an emergency when internet and cellular service may be unreliable. A picture with your dog’s name, contact information, normal feeding schedule, and any medications they are on should also be included. In addition to your dog’s medical history, keeping contact information for your primary veterinarian, emergency veterinary hospital, Animal Poison Control number (888-426-4435), and even prior boarding facilities or a family friend who cared for him or her is helpful in case you are unable to take your dog with you in the given

22 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2017

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