Emergency Preparedness and Dorm Living

Dear Emma,

My family is moving to Florida soon and we’re worried about our pets during hurricane season. Do you have any tips to help make our lives a little easier in case we need to leave in a hurry? – Josh G.

Having your pets prepared for a potential natural disaster or emergency is great no matter where you live. In the event that you need to evacuate make sure you have a kit prepared with everything you’ll need to care for your pet for at least 3 days. Of course, the contents will vary based on individual needs but every kit should include these basic items

  1. Food and Water. Keep a 3-day supply in an airtight container and be sure to rotate this supply periodically to ensure freshness.
  2. Containment and control supplies. Pack a leash, carrier or crate to safely control and confine your pet.
  3. Current photos of your animals. Include a photo of yourself with your animals in case you need to prove ownership.
  4. Collar and ID. Make sure you have a secure collar and up-to-date ID tag on your animals.
  5. Sanitation Items. Include litter, litter box, newspapers, plastic bags, disinfectant, and basic first aid supplies.
  6. Vet records and medications. Copy vaccination records and set aside a supply of daily medicines

It takes little effort to make sure your furry friends are prepared in the event of an emergency and could save their lives. For more information on disaster preparedness click here.

Dear Emma,

I’m getting ready to head off to my freshman year of college. My dog, Sadie, has been with me for the last 6 years and I can’t imagine not being able to see her every day. I don’t want to only see her on weekends but I don’t think my dorm allows dogs. What do I do!? – Cassie H.

Freshman year is full of firsts, one of those firsts is being away from our beloved family pets for the first time. As much as you miss them, life in a dorm room is not a great place for dogs and cats. Your dorm won’t be much bigger than a bedroom and in most cases, you’ll be sharing with a roommate, adding a pet into that mix makes for cramped living quarters. Also, you’ll be spending most of your time in class, on/off-campus activities, studying and hanging out with friends, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to dedicate to a pet. On top of all of that, if dorm rules say “No Pets” then it isn’t worth risking your pet being taken away from you if you’re found out. You can easily get your animal fix by volunteering at a local shelter where lots of animals are in need of love and attention. College is a big adjustment, I know it seems overwhelming to leave Sadie at home, but she’ll be happier to see you when you come home to visit rather than being kept in a cramped dorm room.

Monthly Preventatives and Micro Pigs

Dear Emma,

We love the spring and summer, it’s our family’s favorite time to take hikes with our two dogs. Our vet said we should put them both on a flea and tick preventative but is this necessary? We don’t normally find ticks on them and they’ve never had fleas. – Nancy W.

The warmer weather has us all coming out of our “winter hibernation” including fleas and ticks! While you may not a lot find ticks on your dogs it only takes one to transmit a tick-borne disease like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Additionally, fleas can carry intestinal parasites that can infect both people and animals. Monthly preventatives are safe and effective protection against these parasites and should be given year-round since warm spells in the winter can have us seeing ticks earlier than normal. Consult with your veterinarian about which preventative is right for your dogs and lifestyle. 

Dear Emma,

I LOVE teacup pigs, they are just so adorable! I’m looking to get one of my own, I live in a city but these little guys are the perfect apartment sized pets. Do you have any tips on finding the perfect tea-cup pig for me? – Jess G.

Let me start off by saying, there is no such thing as a “teacup” pig. Like any designer “breed” there is no 100% repeatable outcome, “teacup” pigs are the product of inbreeding small pot-bellied pigs to create even smaller offspring. Pot-bellied pigs are small when they’re 1 month old but they can grow up to 150lbs! Apart from that, pigs, no matter the size, are considered livestock in most communities, and there are certain zoning requirements that need to be met in order to have one, chances are your apartment is not zoned for pigs. Pigs are smart animals that can make amazing pets, when fed proper diets and given proper space and housing, but no matter how much a breeder may promise you that they have genuine “teacup” pigs don’t fall for their tricks.

Declaw Dilemma and Traveling with Pets

Dear Emma,

I have two cats that are completely destroying my furniture! I am unable to cut their nails, I just want them to stop clawing my furniture. A friend of mine suggested declawing them, but I don’t know what the process is. Do you recommend this alternative? – Dave L.

Declawing may sound like the perfect solution, remove the nail and now your curtains and furniture are safe. However, declawing is not so straight forward. Declawing is not the removal of the nail but of the portion of or the entire bone, imagine removing the bone from the tip of your finger to your first knuckle, this is achieved through a surgical procedure of either using a scalpel blade, clipper or laser. There are so many alternative options to save your furniture and cat from an unnecessary and painful procedure, check them out!

  • Since you’re unable to trim your cat’s nails you can take your cats to your local veterinary clinic to do it for you.
  • Try nail covers like Soft Paws
  • Provide scratching alternatives like a scratching post
  • Make furniture less appealing by covering scratching sites with foil or plastic, you can find plastic scratch guards on Amazon.com

Dear Emma,

My husband and I are getting ready to embark on a cross country road trip. We’re just about ready to go but aren’t sure if we should bring our hound mix, Josie, with us. We’ve never taken her on vacation before and aren’t sure how we go about getting her ready. Please help! – Casey B.

Bringing your furry friend on vacation is a great way to make some unforgettable memories. Just like packing your own bag make sure your dog is properly prepared so they can have a comfortable and safe trip too. You’ll want to make sure that Josie’s collar fits properly and is fitted with current identification tags, you can also add a temporary tag with a phone number where you can be reached (like a hotel or cellphone) if you’re in one location for an extended amount of time. You’ll want a copy Josie’s health and vaccination records on hand and any required health certificates prior to travel. If Josie is on any medication, including monthly preventatives, make sure to bring them with you. Since you’re traveling by car a crate or canine seatbelt will help her stay safe while driving. And make sure she has some comforts from home like a few toys, treats or bed. Always check the weather beforehand to make sure Josie will be adequately prepared and that your hotels are pet-friendly. I hope you have an awesome vacation!

If you’re traveling with your pet check out these additional resources