Hurricane Harvey crashed into the greater Houston area in late August. The worst was feared, and the worst was unfortunately realized.
As the storm raged on, water engulfed the metro-sprawl, leaving no race, class, breed, or species unaffected. Roads quickly became submerged with stormwater. Mixed in were shingles, tennis balls, priceless pictures of a calmer time, and countless other keepsakes as families struggled to get to higher ground - no matter the cost.
In the struggle for safety, many people and their companion animals' lives were lost, extending the emotional destruction around the world.
Fidobiotics believes in the power of change, and that extends beyond changing your pup's gut for the better, we believe in changing the world for the better.
As such, we are committed to educating our community on what you can do to help dogs and cats affected by the storm and to make the necessary disaster preparations, should disaster strike closer to home.
Helping Houston and Other Affected Areas
Like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Houston has only begun its journey toward recovery. As shown in the map, Houston was in the heart of the storm and was among the worst off, but there are many communities reeling from the disaster. Checking in with friends or family in areas near the destruction is the first thing you should do. They will likely have valuable information regarding how best to financial assist others.
In the midst of the wreckage are those who have stepped up- the people who aren't asking for money or the spotlight - and doing the work required for recovery.
If you're able, consider donating to their animal shelter - the biggest in Houston and one that is working night and day to bring a little normalcy to displaced dog and cat's lives.
The page to donate and volunteer can be found here.
What Others Are Doing
The Humane Rescue Alliance Board announced on Thursday that Max Scherzer, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, has done his part by paying all adoption fees at two Washington D.C. shelters through September 2nd to make way for an influx of displaced pets from Hurricane Harvey.
Best Friends Animal Society, one of the largest shelters in the United States, has dispatched a team to Houston, delivering supplies to hard-hit shelters and doing what they can to make the lives of these animals a little better. Additionally, Red Rover, SPCA of Texas, and countless others have rushed in to pick up the slack and fulfill their mission - helping animals that cannot help themselves.
Countless companion animal lives have been saved through the efforts of Scherzer, animal advocacy groups, Texan animal advocates, and donations from people all around the world.
Preparing For A Natural Disaster
"The worst is over" is a pleasant thought, but the truth is that the United States is nowhere near the end of hurricane season.
Hurricane Irma is quickly approaching and it would be wise to have some kind of dog urgent care plan in place.
In the event of a hurricane, having clean water is you and your pet's best friend. While storm surges may bring water to your dog's ears, it can very likely be sewage water or some other non-potable water. Do not let your dog drink the storm surge water. Be sure to have a 10-gallon tank of water in an easy to grab spot in your house.
If you cannot escape your home, check city water updates. Once you're sure that your tap water is still safe to drink, fill up as many bathtubs as you have with cold water - you and your pup will use that as your drinking, bathing, and cooking water.
Over the past few decades, dogs and cats have seen longer lifespans. As your pup gets long in the tooth, issues often come up that need consistent medicating. It is wise to always carry keep medication in-case of an emergency. Be sure to only give your pets non-expired medication and store in a cool place with the rest or your emergency kit.
If your dog's medication includes antibiotics, pack a daily human grade probiotic powder for dogs as well. Antibiotics are given to treat a number of bacterial issues, and they definitely work to treat those issues. They also, however, destroy the good bacteria and can cause serious nutrient absorption and digestive issues. With 70% of your dog's immune system being housed in the gut, this can cause a vicious cycle of becoming sick for Fido.
Your dog does not run on love and tail-wags alone. Having a necessary amount of food for him will make things much smoother for your smoocher. Be sure to only pack canned food in times where you are facing heavy rain or flood waters, as water can easily seep into your dry food bag.
Fidobiotics recommends keeping a weeks worth of food in stock and making sure that food is as nutritious as possible. A great ingredient to have in wet dog food is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes can help with digestion and constipation.
If your dog is completely healthy, it is still incredibly important to bring all vet records with you. In times of disaster, rules become much more fluid. Arming yourself with the fact that your dog has all necessary shots will help prevent your pup being taken from you and will better allow you to bring him with you-wherever you need to go.
First Aid Kit
If you need to cross flooded waters, there is no telling what lurks beyond the rushing depths. Injuries from rusted nails and other building supplies are common, and all too dangerous.
Dog on dog aggression is also common when tensions are high. When your companion is near a stranger-dog, be sure to keep a close eye on things and don't be afraid to intervene before things get violent and someone gets hurt.
Be sure to spot check your dog's skin if he ends up in the water. If he is indeed nicked, apply a veterinarian-approved antibiotic ointment to the affected area, keep it away from water, cover with tape and gauze, and have it checked out as soon as possible.
Your home, property, and possessions are all of extreme value to you, but nothing compares to the value of life. Your dog and cat depend on YOU for survival. Be true to them and get them out of danger as soon as you know their health or life may be at stake. Waiting out the storm just isn't worth it.