Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Your Pet

Hurricane Pet Safety in Newport News, VA

Just as with any natural disaster, a hurricane can be a terrifying ordeal, especially if you’re not prepared for it. The mere anticipation of an approaching storm can be enough to cause anxiety, but this doesn’t have to be the case if you ARE prepared. Since hurricane season ends on November 30, it’s important to be have a plan in place for your family and pets, in case a storm makes landfall and an evacuation is ordered. Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News has provided the following four hurricane preparedness tips to help you and your pet family be better equipped for this season.

  1. Stay Calm: Many pets tend to mirror their pets’ emotions, so if you’re worried or stressed out, your pet will likely sense it and become frazzled as well. If you’ve ever traveled with a jittery pet—especially a cat—you know how difficult it can be. So do your best to remain calm during a hurricane/evacuation, both for your sake and your pet’s. Keep an eye on the news so you can be updated on the storm’s status as well as any evacuation information. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you and your pet can be.


  1. Have an Emergency Supply Kit Packed: In addition to a human emergency kit, you should have a pet emergency kit as well. Your kit should include a pet first-aid kit, three days’ worth of food and water, bowls, litter and disposable litter trays (for cats), a blanket, and several plastic bags. Be sure to also include an extra leash and collar (with an ID tag), any necessary medications, and a copy of your pet’s vaccination records. It’s best to keep your kit in an area of your home where it can be easily accessed.
  1. Make Sure Your Pet Has Sufficient Identification: Keep your pet collared with an ID tag during storm season or anytime you leave your house. If your pet is not microchipped, we recommend that you consider this permanent form of identification as well. A microchip can greatly increase the chances of a safe reunion, in the event that your pet becomes separated from you. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and can be quickly, safely implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin, near the shoulder blades. Each pet microchip is encoded with the owner’s contact information and can be scanned by most animal shelters in the country.
  1. Be Prepared for an Evacuation: If an evacuation is ordered for your area, you and your pets will have a much greater chance of leaving safely if you have a plan prepared. Aside from the obvious reminder of bringing your pet indoors during inclement weather, it’s also important to perform a full evacuation drill, similar to a school drill. Practice retrieving your emergency kits and all necessary supplies, and packing everything—including your pet (in a carrier, if necessary) into your vehicle for a safe departure. Make sure you know in advance the location of the evacuation shelter as well.

If you have any questions about the hurricane preparedness tips listed above, please feel free to contact us at (757) 877-6464, and one of our team members will be happy to assist you. Be safe!


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Make Sure They Can Get Home: Check Your Pet’s Microchip

Cat looking out of a cage

Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If your pet were lost, would an animal hospital or shelter be able to contact you once your pet was found?

It’s important to get your pet microchipped; but it’s just as important to make sure that microchip contains the correct information in order for your four-legged friend to get home.

How does a microchip work?
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian or veterinary technician just beneath your pet’s skin in the area between the shoulder blades. This is usually done without anesthesia, and the experience can be compared to getting a vaccination.

Each microchip has a unique registration number that is entered into a database or registry, and is associated with your name and contact information. If your lost dog or cat is found by an animal hospital, shelter or humane society, they will use a microchip scanner to read the number and contact the registry to get your information.

Make sure you can be found, too
While it may be comforting to know the microchip won’t get lost or damaged, and that it will probably last the pet’s lifetime, the microchip is useless if you’re not updating your contact information with the registry. If your pet has been microchipped, keep the documentation paperwork so you can find the contact information for the registry. If you don’t have the documentation paperwork, contact the veterinarian or shelter where the chip was implanted.

Keep in mind there are more than a dozen companies that maintain databases of chip ID numbers in the U.S. By using AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup at, you can locate the registry for your chip by entering the microchip ID number. If you don’t have your pet’s microchip ID number, have a veterinarian scan it and give it to you.

Only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their owners. Prevent the heartache and ensure your pet has an up-to-date microchip.

Originally published by Healthy Pet.

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Household Pet Toxicities


4 Common Household Pet Toxicities

Your home should be the place where your pet is the safest, but as a pet owner, you may have to take a few extra measures to keep it safe. There are many household items, foods, and plants that are toxic to dogs and cats if ingested, causing a variety of potentially serious symptoms for your companion. Remember, at Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News, VA we’re pet lovers, just like you are, so we want to do everything we can to educate you on some of the common pet toxicities so your pet can be safe. Four major categories are listed below.

  1. Human Medications

While human medications are designed to provide relief for humans, they can cause a range of health problems for pets. These include stomach and intestinal ulcers, neurological problems, tremors and seizures, and even kidney failure. Below is a list of some of the common drugs and prescription medications that are toxic to dogs and cats:

  • Advil
  • Aleve
  • Motrin
  • Antidepressants
  • Tylenol
  • Amphetamine
  1. Table Foods

You might be tempted to feed your pet the last piece of your dessert, but regardless of how much they beg, it’s better NOT to give your pet any sweet foods. Chocolate is one of the most common toxic foods to both dogs and cats, especially dark chocolate, due to the presence of theobromine (similar to caffeine). Symptoms of food toxicity can range from vomiting to a drop in blood pressure to kidney failure. Your pet’s size and the amount of food ingested determine the severity of the toxicity. Some other common toxic foods to pets include:

  • Foods/gum/candy with xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts

As a rule of thumb, simply avoid giving your pet any sweet food. It’s just not worth the risk. Instead, keep some dog or cat treats nearby, so your pet can enjoy their own dessert—without getting sick.

  1. Toxic Plants to Pets

They look beautiful in our homes and gardens, but some plants can be poisonous to pets if ingested. Sometimes consuming even a small amount of certain plants can result in kidney failure. Other common symptoms of plant toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. So as you plant your garden and consider which plants to bring into your home, be aware of the following plants—all of which are toxic to dogs and/or cats:

  • Lilies (toxic to cats)
  • Sago palms (toxic to dogs and cats)
  • Chrysanthemums (toxic to dogs and cats)
  • Azaleas (toxic to dogs and cats)
  1. Household Chemicals

This should be no surprise, since most chemicals have warning labels for humans, too. Whether your pet accidentally ingests a certain chemical indirectly or just inhales too much of it while you’re cleaning your home, both can put your pet at risk. Although pets typically wouldn’t deliberately ingest most household chemicals, there is one chemical that many pets DO drink intentionally, and that’s antifreeze. This is due to its sweet taste and smell, but if even just a tablespoon is ingested, it can lead to kidney failure. Always read the warning labels on all of your household cleaning and other chemical items, especially the ones below:


  • Antifreeze
  • Detergents
  • Polishes
  • Sprays
  • Mildew removers

Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned?

If you ever suspect that your pet has come in contact with a toxic substance, call your local poison control hotline for immediate assistance. All poison control hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about household toxicities and/or ways to protect your pet, give us a call at (757) 877-6464.

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