Pet Talk – Preparing Pets for When Disaster Strikes

Disaster can strike anywhere at any time, and the best way to survive is to be prepared early.
“Hurricane season begins June 1 and is a great time to review your personal preparedness plan,” said Dr. Wesley Bissett, director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team. “While you make sure all of your family members are covered in the event of a disaster, make sure the four-legged members of your family are included in the planning process.”
It’s important to remember that if you have to evacuate your home, you will often have to do so very quickly. Know ahead of time the route you will take, and identify potential shelter locations along the route. Make sure you know which shelters will accommodate pets, or if there are designated shelters for evacuated animals nearby.
“Plan to carry enough food, water, and medications for your family and your pet for at least three to five days, make sure you have veterinary records and photos of you and your pets, and check that your pet’s tags are up to date and securely fastened on the collar,” Bissett said. “These documents will help ensure your pet is cared for in the best way possible during a stay at the shelter and will also make the reunification process much easier. If you have time, microchips are a great way to make sure your pet stays safe and sound until you are able to return to the shelter.”
Pets can’t communicate the anxiety and fear they feel during a disaster, so it’s important to watch your pets for signs of anxiety. When evacuating with your pets, have a secure carrier, leash, or harness to keep them from running off in panic.
“Bringing a few items from home, such as a blanket or special toy, will help make your pet comfortable.” said Bissett, “and will help to reduce their stress during the evacuation.”
Some people have livestock or exotic pets that can be problematic to plan for. For this reason, it is necessary to plan early.
“If there is no shelter location designated for livestock, feed and water should be left in place on the highest ground on your property,” said Bissett. “Gates between pastures and doors to stalls and barns should be left open so these animals can get to safety.”
For smaller exotic pets, such as pocket pets, reptiles, or amphibians, it is necessary to call the shelters along your route ahead of time to verify they are able to accommodate exotic species.
Most importantly, don’t leave your pets behind. They most likely will not be able to survive on their own, and the likelihood that you will be able to find them when you return is not great. To make evacuating with your pet easier, checklists and informational brochures may be found at, or ask your local veterinarian for suggestions.
Communities in different locations face different types of disasters, so in developing your plan, be sure to assess the risks around you and prepare your plan accordingly. Preparedness saves people, pets, and property.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at Suggestions for future topics may be directed to
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Pets Best Named “Best Places to Work in Idaho”

Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC, a leading U.S. pet insurance agency based in Boise, Idaho, was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Idaho for the second consecutive year. Pets Best was highlighted in the Small Employers category, which featured companies with 20 to 99 employees. The awards are an annual collaboration between the Idaho Business Review and POPULUS, an Idaho-based marketing and HR research firm.
The awards are based on the results of confidential employee surveys that are designed to measure workplace satisfaction. The program rates companies according to feedback in five main areas: compensation and benefits, employee growth and development, work-life balance, workplace environment, and company management.
“Employees at Pets Best are passionate about helping pet owners across the U.S. afford veterinary care for their dogs and cats, and our agency believes it is important to give our employees the same support for their beloved pets,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, president and founder of Pets Best. “We value our dedicated staff members, and we place a high priority on rewarding hard work with valuable benefits, a positive work environment and a variety of engaging activities.”
Pets Best was founded in 2005 by Dr. Jack Stephens and offers a wide variety of perks for its employees while promoting a fun, animal-friendly work environment. Pets of all kinds are welcomed in the office, including dogs, cats, and even baby ducks. Pets Best also pays for pet insurance for employees’ four-legged family members.

An Affair For Animals

The Lakeland Animal Shelter in Elkhorn, WI is hosting An Affair for Animals. It is a family event, bring your family dog and the entire family. There will be all kinds of vendors, food, music, agility and a luer course for the dogs, jump house for the kids, silent auction, the Lakeland Animal Shelter Store will be selling all kinds of products including fashionable clothing. It is to raise money to build a new shelter and raise awareness for shelter animals. It is free to the public with free parking. An affair for Animals will be held on June 21st at the Walworth County Fair Grounds in Elkhorn, WI from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Can’t wait to see you there!


HAMbingo Benefitting Milwaukee Pets Alive!!

This ain’t your grandma’s church bingo! Join Milwaukee Pets Alive at Hamburger Mary’s in Bay View (2130 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) on THURSDAY, JUNE 19TH, 2014 from 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. for some good ‘ol fashioned drag-queen bingo! Touted as having some of the best prize offerings of any charity that hosts Hambingo, come out and compete for our great selection of prizes in 10 games of bingo – 10 chances to win! Also, participate in our 50/50 raffle and take a shot at leaving with more cash than you walked in with! Arrive early (we recommend 7:30 p.m.) to get a great seat and order food and drink to enjoy while you play bingo (we recommend the Tots (of course) and the “Britney Fried Spears” pickles with with ranch). They will have a great half-time performance, as always! 100% of the proceeds benefit Milwaukee Pets Alive. By helping MPA, you are helping to end the killing of homeless Milwaukee animals in YOUR Milwaukee community. Bingo!!! Be there – Thursday night, June 19th!

Tickets Now On Sale For Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s Fifth Anniversary Party!

Tickets are now on sale for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s (LDAR) Fifth Anniversary party. This event will celebrate the work the rescue has done over the past five years – saving over 6,000 dogs who otherwise would have had no hope.

The event will be held on Saturday June 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 8601 Falls Road, Potomac, MD.  Dogs will be able to play off-leashed in a ½ acre fully fenced in yard.  There will be a delicious BBQ and a treat bar and doggie ice cream for the dogs provided by Dogma Bakery. There will be a DJ, dog agility course, silent auction, professional dog photographer, and lots more fun for the entire family.

This event is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the last five years while also raising critical funds so LDAR can continue to add to their rescue numbers.

“So many people have made our success over the last five years possible” said Mirah Horowitz, founder and executive director of LDAR.  “From our dedicated volunteers and fosters to our wonderful adopters, this amazing event will give us a chance to celebrate that success and also gives us all a chance to reunite with friends, fosters and littermates, and make new friends as well”

Individual tickets are $30 and family tickets (includes up to 4 individuals) are $75.  Tickets can be purchased on LDAR’s website.
To adopt a Lucky Dog or Cat or to volunteer or become a foster visit
About Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is non-profit animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals in high-kill shelters and educating the community on responsible pet ownership. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue relies on a network of volunteers and fosters to facilitate adoptions and provide temporary homes for the dogs and cats available for adoption. Most Lucky Dogs are rescued from high-kill shelters in Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Once rescued, the Lucky Dogs live in home through the Washington, DC metro area, including Maryland and Virginia. To learn more about Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and to view the animals awaiting their forever-homes, please visit

Proper training can prevent dog bites

It’s not just mail carriers that are concerned about dog bites. Each year, more than 4.5 million people are bit by a dog in the U.S.
“Many pet parents are unaware that there are several things they can do to stop their dog from biting,” said Katie Grant, CEO of PetFirst. “Dog owners can often stop a bite well before it is instigated.”

Socialize your dog. Dogs that are unfamiliar with their surroundings can often bite out of fear. Make sure your dog has interacted with a variety of breeds, so they are more comfortable. Also, be sure to introduce your dog to neighbors, family members and other people in your circle, so your dog isn’t frightened by strangers.

Train your dog. This simple tip is often overlooked by pet parents.Familiarity with basic commands like “sit”, “stay” and “come” help you remove your dog from a potentially contentious situation.

Focus on non-aggressive activities. Fetch is always a good, non-threatening game. Actions like wrestling and tug-of-war can encourage inappropriate behavior.

Respect your dog’s space, and encourage others to do the same. Ask people to get your permission before petting your dog. Also, let a dog that is sleeping, eating or drinking continue to do so without interruption.

Keep your dog on a leash. If you allow your dog to run free, make sure it is in a safe and fenced enclosure. Remember that invisible fences help keep your dog contained but may not keep other people out.

For more information on ways to prevent dog bites, contact your veterinarian.

About PetFirst
PetFirst is the fastest growing pet insurer in North America offering easy-to-understand life-long coverage for dogs and cats. PetFirst’s comprehensive coverage is unique in the industry providing simplified policies with coverage for hereditary, chronic and breed-specific conditions with no per diagnosis limits. PetFirst offers pet insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through animal welfare agencies, retailers, employers as well as other partners. PetFirst polices are underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation (Munich Re) which is rated by A.M. Best as A+. Additional services are underwritten by Lloyd’s. For more information about PetFirst pet insurance, visit or call 877-894-7387.

Pet Expo Fun Results in Donation to Teacher Grant Program

The Pets in the Classroom grant program will be able to provide 65 teachers with funding to purchase classroom pets thanks to money raised during America’s Family Pet Expo.
With the help of other pet-related businesses, the World Pet Association (WPA), host of the 25th annualAmerica’s Family Pet Expo in Orange County, California, raised close to $6,500 for the Pet Care Trust’s Pets in the Classroom grant program at their April 25-27, 2014 event. The money raised will fund 65 teacher grants, allowing 2900 students to experience the benefits of interacting with pets in the school setting.
The Expo, which is known for its notable history of placing animals in forever homes and educating people on responsible pet care, featured a Betta Fish Toss and Aquarium Raffle in an effort to raise funds for the grant program that provides direct, no-hassle grants to teachers to purchase or maintain pets in the classroom.
The Betta Fish Toss, sponsored by Dolphin International and Hikari Sales USA, Inc, raised $3,433 for the Pets in the Classroom program.  At Hikari’s request, the money will be designated specifically for grants for fish in the classroom.
The Raffle, which was held as part of the educational exhibit called the “Aquatic Experience,” raised $3,025 for the program.Attendees could purchase a raffle ticket to win one of 15 aquariums. The aquariums and set-up were donated by: Aqueon, CaribSea, EHEIM North America, Fluval, Real Reef Manufacturing, Segrest Farms, and Tetra.
“We are sincerely grateful to WPA, Dolphin International and Hikari Sales for their generous support of the Pets in the Classroom program,” commented Steve King, executive director of the Pet Care Trust. “The money raised will provide nearly 3,000 students with all of the benefits that come from daily access to a classroom pet.”
The Pets in the Classroom program was established by the Pet Care Trust to assist teachers in obtaining or maintaining classroom pets. The Pets in the Classroom program benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond.  Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self esteem.
Also having goals focused on education and responsibility, the WPA has been a faithful supporter of the program.  Doug Poindexter, President of the WPA, commented, “America’s Family Pet Expo was started 25 years ago to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and expose children to the joy pets can bring to our lives. We are very pleased that we have been able to help touch so many children as a result of the Pets in the Classroom program.  It is one of our favorite charities that WPA helps to support through our events including SuperZoo, America’s Family Pet Expo, Aquatic Experience Chicago and the Atlanta Pet Fair.”
For more information on the World Pet Association and its events, visit, or for more information on the Pet Care Trust and its Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit