I would like to talk a little bit about emergency situations this month. Sept. is the dead center of hurricane season. Are you prepared if you need to evacuate? Do you know where there is a pet friendly shelter you can evacuate to with your pets? How would you quickly evacuate your pets if there was a fire in your home? What about if your home became flooded? We so often become lax in our preparations for emergency because we just don’t think it will happen to us. Bad things always happen to other people, right? WRONG, Hurricane Charley is proof that things can and do happen with very little time for preparation. Do you realize you may only have 1-2 minutes to remove your pet from a burning house?
You may ask, how can I be prepared for emergencies? Make sure you have an appropriate carrier or leash for every pet in your household. Bird carriers should have a perch, food and water bowls and should be labeled clearly with you the birds name, species, your name and address and phone number. If you have a large bird I recommend that you re-enforce the sides with bird safe wire to prevent your bird from chewing its way out of the carrier. Do not load the carrier with toys! Toys can become a hazard when carriers are being moved quickly and not in constant sight. Have a bag packed for your bird. Make sure there is food, a couple of toys and any medications your bird may need. Keep the bag near the bird’s cage. These preparations make it much more efficient when you have to evacuate and have a little time to do it.
If you ever find yourself in a dire situation such as a house fire, keeping a pillow case by each bird’s cage can be a life saver. Fires call for extreme action! Not only are the flames deadly but the smoke is deadly to your bird as well. Removing your bird from its cage and placing it in a pillow case with the top tied shut may mean the difference between life and death. Having pet sticker on your front door or windows is an excellent way for firefighters to know there is a pet inside. Have your vet’s phone number saved in your phone and know where the closest avian emergency vet is located.
Another situation that you can prevent from becoming an emergency is to be prepared if you lose electric power in the extremely hot summer months. Birds that are used to AC tend to overheat quickly in the hot outdoors. Have spray/mist bottles on hand, large water bowls for your bird to bathe in so it can cool its body temperature. Plan a place to locate your bird that provides shade.
Be prepared for your companion’s sake and your own. Think of and list the absolute bare minimum necessities to enable you to care for your companion. Compile your pet’s emergency bag and store in a closet, cabinet or box near the door so it’s an easy grab on the way out. Plan ahead and save a life, your pets and your own!