With wildfire season now classified as year round here in Southern California, Mary’s recommends that you be prepared for any and all emergencies — whether you own pets or horses.
- Along with your regular vaccination schedule, you may want to have your pets and horses micro-chipped if they aren’t already. Micro-chipping can increase the chances of being reunited with your lost companion, should you ever be separated. In most cases, horses can also be freeze branded with a unique identification mark that will be visible to the naked eye, unlike a microchip which must be scanned. Have recent photos of your horse and pets to send to shelters or rescues to help locate them after the emergency if they do become lost or separated from you.
- Always have evacuation plans in place and posted at your barn so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. Who is in charge of moving the horses? Who is in charge of stocking and hooking up the trailers? Where will the horses be transported? What route will be taken? If Plan A isn’t possible, what is Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and so forth? Have emergency contact numbers clearly outlined in your plans.
- If you own a horse or livestock trailer, be sure that the trailer has regular safety checks, whether it is used consistently or stored. In the event of an evacuation, you want your trailer to be in safe, reliable condition to transport your animals to safety. Along with safety checks, your trailer should be stocked with plenty of spare halters, lead ropes, hay nets, buckets, water, and Hydration Hay. Mixed with water, hydration hay swells up into generous portions of Grass and Alfalfa hay that will ensure your horse receives some hydration if they’re not drinking water.
- It’s also a good idea to also keep in your trailer an equine (and human) first aid kit, along with tubes of calming paste and electrolytes, both in powder form to encourage your horse to drink unpalatable water and in paste form if your horse is too stressed to drink water. If you own pets, be sure to have plenty of days’ worth of food and water stored in your vehicle and any medication if needed.
- If evacuation isn’t possible, it’s not recommended to keep your horses cooped up in a barn or even in a pen if a fire is dangerously near. Put your contact info, such as your phone number, directly on your horse. You can use a waterproof paint marker on your horse’s hooves or use spray paint or Shapley’s Touch Up Coat Spray on your horse’s coat to leave your phone number so it is visible even at a distance. The key is to use a product that will stay on the horse’s coat. In the event of a dire emergency, it is more important that the contact info stays on your horse until rescue. If – in a worst case scenario you have to release your horses because evacuation is impossible – remove halters from your horse, unless it is specifically designed to breakaway, such as a safety halter, and then set your horses loose. As dangerous as this seems, your horse will have a better chance of surviving the disaster given the freedom to move away from the danger.
You can find all the products needed to keep you prepared at Mary’s Tack & Feed in Del Mar, CA. Or visit us online at www.marystack.com or call Toll Free 1-800-551-MARY.