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February 2015

Emergency And Disaster Planning Part 3






 What is your recourse in the event of a disaster? There are many resources that may offer assistance.


Personal Emergency Fund


Adding $20 a week to an emergency fund amounts to $1,040 a year. In ten years, that is over $10,000. Seems like a lot of money to put away, doesn’t it. A study done at shows that the average person spends about $936 a year on eating out at lunch. That figure does not include breakfast on the road, coffee or snack runs, and soda. Brown bagging your lunch is not only healthier for you, but is an easy way to start an emergency fund. I challenge everyone for one week to keep track on money spent on eating out.


Business And Homeowner Insurance


I recommend talking to your insurance agent on what your policy covers. Or more importantly, what does your policy not cover. After the fact is not the time to discover you are not covered. Several years ago, I assumed my vehicle had full glass coverage. Then a side window blew up. I submitted an insurance claim that was denied. From that point on, I read my policy and called my agent at renewal time. It is important to have business information updated. If your business structure has changed and you have not notified your carrier, you may not be covered for anything even though you paid your premium. For example, if you started out as a sole proprietor and then changed to a Limited Liability Company (LLC).


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


Once an area has been declared an emergency, FEMA steps in to respond and coordinate the recovery process. They will have local offices for home and business owners to file for financial assistance and low cost loans to rebuild. Their website is This website is filled with pertinent information from pre-planning to help after a disaster whether it is a natural, man-made, or an act of terrorism. The local and state governments through their Emergency Management Offices will work in conjunction with FEMA.


Red Cross


The Red Cross is a little different from most organizations as it is chartered by the United States Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same."


The Red Cross provides immediate sheltering, food, and medical care for people affected by the disaster. They also are a means of communications between people inside a disaster zone and family members on the outside.

Every year, the Red Cross responds to over 70,000 disasters worldwide and relies on donations. For more information, visit



State Animal Response Teams (SART)


While it is the Red Cross’s responsibility to care for people during a disaster, it is the job of SART to care for any affected animals.  SART will set up emergency sheltering and provide food and veterinary care. SART is made up of volunteers and depends on donations as well. Your local Emergency Management Office will have information on your local SART.


Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund (GEAF)


Ileana Nogueras started the GEAF. “Since Hurricane Sandy hit the US Eastern shore in 2012, I’ve been thinking about a better way to help groomers hit by this sort of tragedy. Then came the flooding in the Northeast and the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I knew then it was time to put my thoughts into action. That’s when the Groomers’ Emergency Assistance Fundwas born.”


GEAFwas created on July 4, 2013, with the purpose of having a centralized "location" to be of assistance to groomers in the USA that are facing hardships due to unforeseen, catastrophic circumstance.


The GEAF is a 501c3 charity and is governed by seven board members. The current board members are Ileana Nogueras, Daryl Conner, Judi Cantu Thacker, Ellen Erhlich, Dawn Omboy, Jennifer Walker, and Mary Oquendo. To learn more or to donate, visit their website at and Facebook page at Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund.


Groomers For Groomers


Groomers For Groomers is headed up by Misty Gieczys, along with Betty Day, Lisa Leady, and Sandy Hartness. They started out as the Oklahoma Twister Relief For Groomers to help the groomers who lost so much in the twisters.  They auctioned off over 200 items raising over $16,000.  


“We want groomers to know we are there for them. Many of us have been paying it forward because the grooming community was there with words of encouragement, love and donations when we needed it. With a community behind you, your never truly alone and that’s what we want people to feel.”


They are in the process of applying for their 501c3 status.  For more information or to make a donation, visit their Facebook page at Groomers For Groomers Fund.


While I hope you never have to use any of these resources, it is comforting to know that they are there for us.


Many thanks to Barkleigh for allowing me to reprint this article that was originally published in Groomer To Groomer.


































Dental Care For Pets

Dental care is important because the American Veterinary Dental Society reports that by age three; 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop dental disease. In addition, the Society states that you can increase the life of your pet by 25% by practicing a healthy dental lifestyle. Clinical research shows a direct correlation between poor oral health and systemic diseases. Bacteria, food debris and saliva cause plaque. It takes three to five days for plaque to become calculus, commonly known as “tartar”.  In addition, bacteria enter the bloodstream at the gum line. These bacteria infect the heart, liver, kidney, and lungs, as well as weaken the immune system as it travels throughout the body. Left untreated, periodontal disease will lead to oral pain, tooth loss and systemic problems.

How do you know if your pet has periodontal disease?

Signs include:

  1. Bad breathe.
  2. Inflamed or red gums.
  3. Bleeding gums while eating.
  4. Tartar build-up on the teeth and gum line. Tartar is the yellowish-brown crusty stuff.
  5. Change in eating habits. It now hurts to eat. They are avoiding the hard kibble and begging for your softer food.
  6. Resorptive lesions on cat’s gums. These are very painful and damage the integrity of the teeth.

You have many options when it comes to caring for your pets’ teeth. You can practice that healthy dental lifestyle with ease.  But first, if your pets’ teeth are currently in poor condition, schedule a visit with your veterinarian first. You may opt to have an ultrasonic scaling done and start with a clean slate. An ultrasonic scaling is usually what veterinarians’ refer to as a dental.

Options include:

1. Dental Toys

What makes a toy a dental toy? The design should include ways to massage the gums, strengthen the chewing muscles, remove tartar build-up, and clean between the teeth. These include toys with raised nubs, rope toys and toys designed for power chewers. Keep in mind that you need to buy appropriate sized toys for your pets. Inappropriate sized toys can become a choking hazard.

2. Treats

Always read the ingredient list. Hidden sugars, such as beet pulp, molasses or high fructose corn syrup defeat the purpose of the treat as bacteria feed on sugar. The purpose of the treat should either create friction to break down the calculus or contains ingredients that do. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has set a standard. Products that have met their criteria carry their seal of approval. You can find information on their standards and approved products on their website.  (

3. Toothbrushes

While those $12 triple head brushes are good, a toothbrush from the dollar store will do the trick. If your pet allows you access to his mouth, a finger brush would be less intrusive than a toothbrush. A piece of gauze wrapped around your finger will also work.

4. Toothpaste

You need to use pet toothpaste. Toothpaste made for people contains fluoride and detergents, which are harmful to your pet. Introduce it to your pet in a gradual, positive manner. Start with something tasty like peanut butter or tuna water. Begin in the rear of the mouth and work your way out. Your pet may be more accepting of the brush leaving the mouth as opposed to entering it. Brush their teeth in the same manner as you do for yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you cannot finish in one sitting. It may take time and patience on your part for your pet to accept it. You should brush their teeth two to three times a week.

5. Dental Sprays

These contain ingredients that dissolve plaque and tartar when sprayed directly into your pets’ mouth.

6. Dental Wipes

The active ingredient is Chlorohexidine. Chlorohexidine kills bacteria that form plaque. Like the gauze wraps, they are less intrusive than a toothbrush.

7. Diet

Many commercial pet foods contain hidden sugars and a high carbohydrate (fillers) ratio. Bacteria feed on these ingredients. Read your labels. Your pets’ diet should include a high quality dry food in addition to a quality can. Dry kibble creates more friction than canned food. This friction helps to remove tartar.

8. Raw Bones

Raw bones are natures’ toothbrush. They are easy to find at any supermarket. To emphasize: RAW BONES. Cooked bones will splinter and cause intestinal damage. When your pets gnaw on the bones, it naturally removes plaque and tartar. The bones also provide a good source of available calcium. The marrow contains enzymes, minerals, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and bulk to help your pet stay healthy and regular. However, the marrow is very rich and could pose a problem for those pets with pancreatic concerns. In addition, too much marrow in a short period of time can cause pancreatic issues even in healthy pets. I usually push out the marrow if I offer raw bones to my pets more than once a week.

9. Water Additives

This is one of the easiest methods to use. Simply add it to your pet’s drinking water according to manufacturer specifications.

Your pets’ teeth need to last them a lifetime. A lifetime that could be 25% longer.

©2015 Mary Oquendo