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While watching the news this evening, I hear some pretty scary things about this approaching hurricane in the southeast! Hurricane Michael is a powerful category four hurricane which is expected to cause extensive and severe damage in the southeastern United States and will likely become one the worst natural disaster to hit the United States. Disaster relief plans are in operation in the affected communities. I urge all pet owners to be responsible for your pets, especially small pets like chinchillas who cannot run away or care for themselves! Here is what you need to know to prepare your pet for this and other emergency situations to make the journey less stressful.

Travel Tips:

  • Always keep in mind that chinchillas can easily succumb to heat stroke. Make sure you have adequate climate control and cooling equipment handy in case temperatures and/or humidity rise to dangerous levels en route. Before the hurricane hits freeze jugs of water, ice packs, anything that can be used to cool your chinchilla down.
  • Bring along familiar comforts and cage items – toys, chew blocks, etc.
  • Provide fresh water either via a cage-attached water bottle and/or make sure you have access to refill water regularly.
  • Bring your chin’s regular food along (both pellets and hay). During travel is NOT the time to change your chinchilla’s food brand!
  • Use a carrier or transport cage which can be securely locked and that is completely chin safe. A nervous chinchilla may be even more inclined to chew, so even chins that typically ignore plastics might ingest some on a stressful trip.
  • Of course, provide a box for your chinchilla to hide in and feel secure/safe, as well as to rest its feet (if the carrier cage bottom is all wire).
  • Talk to your chinchilla so that he/she knows you are nearby. If you have established trust then this will help to calm it.
  • Generally, emergency shelters do not allow you to bring in pets. Call ahead of time and find out for sure. If they do not allow pets, have a list of hotels that do accept pets and be prepared to go to one of them.
  • Important papers: Keeps all of your updated pets licenses, vaccine records, pedigrees and such in a ready to go folder and keep this folder in your go-bag.
  • Make a care sheet with instructions in case you have to board your pets someplace.
  • Keep your Go-Bag supplies fresh and check yearly for expired items. Replace anything that is old or expired.
  • Bottled water is super important!
  • Have enough carriers for all your pets. Label all carriers with live animal warnings and your name and address.
  • Keep all cages away from windows. Objects and trees can shatter windows and cause damage to cages and animals during a hurricane.
  • If you have a generator, I recommend that you purchase a small window ac unit if not you need to have a backup plan to evacuate your chinchillas to somewhere with ac. Call local kennels and vets ahead of time to ask them if they have generators and AC in case of power outages, find out if they will open for emergency situations such as hurricanes, and ask if they are willing to care for a chinchilla.
  • Make sure to have enough gas on hand for your generators and cars. Many gas stations run out of gas during natural disasters or do not have power for the pumps to work.

For Air Travel and Border Crossings:

  • Find out ahead of time and be sure to have the documents you need in order to travel your chinchilla along, especially if you are going to another country – import license, veterinarian health certificate, etc.
  • Check with the airline to determine if you will be allowed bring your pet as a carry-on luggage (preferable) or if they can arrange for a pressure-controlled animal compartment.
  • Line the cage with blank newsprint rather than wood shavings or hay since those are not allowed by some airlines.

When one of our chin friends lived in Florida, for every hurricane that came near them they were out of power for at least 3-6 days. They have a generator, portable AC unit, and a backup Window AC unit if needed. They also have a second room to use in case of damage to the current chin room.

They had to evacuate for one of the hurricanes. They loaded 30+ chins and one dog in their car and headed out of Florida. They also had to hand feed new kits on this trip. They found a baby bottle warmer, the perfect thing to heat up the formula and a cooler full of ice to keep the formula cold.

Go-Bags

Each member of our family has a “Go-Bag.”  A Go Bag is a heavy duty backpack that has supplies already ready to go, should an emergency occur. The idea is that you can just snatch it up and go. We have go-bags ready for our chinchilla’s too!

Here is what’s in our Chinchilla Go-Bags :

  • Acidophilus for balanced gut bacteria
  • Albon – Diarrhea Treatment
  • Alcohol for sterilizing or cleaning
  • Antibiotic cream – For minor cuts
  • Baby Oat Cereal
  • Baby wipes
  • Bedding
  • Bottled or Jugs of Drinking Water
  • Cal-Mag chewable
  • Charcoal – balances gut ph
  • Cheek retractor to check molars
  • Chinchilla Pelleted Food
  • Desenex – Prevents and Treats Fungus, added to dust bath.
  • Dust Bath Containers and Dust
  • Exercise Wheel, 15”
  • Eye Wash
  • Gauze
  • Grooming Combs
  • Hanging Treat or Hay Balls for Hay
  • High-calorie supplement for weak or sick Chins
  • Lavender oil for small abrasions or cuts
  • Lidocaine
  • Life Line helps with appetite
  • Lube
  • Medical tape
  • Needles
  • Ophthalmic Ointment
  • Paper Towels
  • Pedialyte for Electrolyte dehydration
  • Powdered Goat Milk – kit formula
  • Q-tips
  • Scalpel for necropsy
  • Shredded Wheat Biscuits – Diarrhea Treatment
  • Simethicone – For Bloat
  • Small Animal Exercise Pen
  • Small Food Bowls for Pellets
  • Small Huts or Chube Tubes for hiding
  • Syringe for injecting anesthetic
  • Timothy Hay and Hay Cubes
  • Tissue scissors for amputations or necropsy
  • Trash Bags
  • Travel crates (see my note below)
  • Treats and ChewsVitamin C chewable
  • Water bottles
  • Wire cutters for anterior teeth trim
  • Ziploc Bags & Containers to store supplies

Note: I prefer the 32.5-inch crate made by Prevue Pet Products because of its accommodating size. This works well for my sets that are housed together. If they normally live together, I wouldn’t want to add stress for them by separating them into different cages during the emergency. If you only have one chinchilla or chinchillas who are housed separately or if you have a tight budget, then you may want to go with something like the 24-inch Super Pet Mfh Rabbit Cage

 

Helpful Link:

NOAA Hurricanes and Pet Owners: https://www.ready.gov/animals

Pet-Friendly Hotels: https://hotels.petswelcome.com/chains

Resources:

APA

Hurricane And Emergency Procedures For Pets – Uvma.org.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.uvma.org/emergencyprocedureforpets.htm

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