Preparing for Y2K? Don't Forget Pets, Says Veterinarian

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KAPAA, Hawaii -- Is your Y2K pantry canine compliant?

As people gather supplies to prepare for possible shortages early in the year 2000, they should remember to include extra rations for their pets, says a veterinarian with experience in animal emergencies.

Dr. Ihor Basko practices veterinary medicine in Hawaii's hurricane-prone islands. He recalls that during Hurricane Iniki in 1992, many loose dogs wandered off. Others whose owners left them tied up panicked and strangled themselves.

Although any interruption in services caused by the Y2K bug will not involve the physical devastation of a tropical storm, being prepared for temporary shortages of pet food, water and medication is smart thinking, says Basko.

'What's the harm of having some extra stuff?' he asks. 'Maybe it will expire or you will never use it, but if there is a problem with supplies, you have it on hand.'

Since pet food manufacturers are dependent on the same distribution system as other food producers, a malfunction in the system could affect the availability of pet food. Basko recommends having a three-month supply of dog or cat food on hand at all times. In a pinch, animals can eat human food, but owners should be careful to get the right amounts of protein, starches, minerals and fats.

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