Paws for Wellness A happy and healthy pet starts with a plan!

Emergency Preparedness for Your Pets

Dog and cat playingNatural disasters can happen at any time, and depending on where you live, you could be affected by any number of severe weather events or emergency situations – floods, ice storms, blizzards, power failures, water quality advisories, earthquakes, tornadoes, or fires are possible. As awareness rises about emergency preparedness, many people are prepared for such events for their family, but have not considered their pet. How many times have you dashed out to grab a bag of dog or cat food because you were nearly out? You may not have the opportunity or the ability to get to the store if you are in the midst of an emergency.

Pets are important members of the family and it’s important to have an emergency kit prepared, and a disaster plan in place for your pets before an emergency arises.

Make sure all of your pets are wearing identification tags that are up-to-date and consider microchipping. In an emergency situation, you may become separated from your pets, and microchipping increases the chance that you will be reunited.

Be prepared with everything you need to care for your furry companions for at least a week, and be sure to store your pet’s emergency kit where the rest of your emergency supplies are kept. Keep a list of the items you have included in the kit taped to the underside of the lid and update it as you add items to the kit.

Some items to include in your pet’s emergency kit are:

  • A crate or carrier that is large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down in. Keep a blanket or crate pad inside. Label your crate with your contact information.
  • An extra collar and leash for each dog (and cat if your cat will tolerate it).
  • Non-spill food and water dishes (spill-proof travel dishes are available).
  • A week’s worth of kibble for each animal stored in airtight containers. Canned food is an excellent option as it helps provide moisture for your pet and will reduce their thirst – remember to pack a manual can opener if the cans are not pop-top lids. **Switch this food out every two months so it stays fresh.
  • A week’s worth of bottled water for each pet. Keep in mind that during hot weather, pets will need much more water, and you may not be in an air conditioned environment with your pet (dogs need about 8-17 ounces of water per ten pounds per day and cats need slightly less – bottom line – having more is better than not enough). **Switch this water out every few months so it stays fresh.
  • Disposable pans to use as litterboxes (aluminum roasting pans work well) and litter.
  • Paper towels, liquid dish soap, disinfectant, and garbage bags for cleanup.
  • Toys and other familiar items – this could be a stressful time for your pet, so including familiar items can be helpful.
  • Consider making and packing a pet first aid kit.

Be sure to keep copies of the following in a sealed container or bag

  • Vaccination certificates
  • Proof of ownership (recent photographs are good to have available as well)
  • Microchip information
  • Medical records
  • Feeding instructions/medication instructions
  • Before you leave your house, don’t forget to gather any medications and preventive medications that your pet may be taking – a label fixed to the lid of the emergency kit will remind you to get your pet’s medication before you evacuate.

Create a contingency plan in case you cannot make it home to get your pets. A neighbor, or nearby family member should have a key to your home, know where to find the emergency kit, and know your pets. Place a sticker on the front door to let emergency personnel know the number and types of pets that are in the house (if you evacuate with your pets, and time allows it, write EVACUATED across the sticker).

Don’t forget to have a plan in place for pocket pets, reptiles, and birds too. Litter, food, water, and a blanket to cover your pet’s cage are good items to have packed in an emergency kit.

Always take your pets with you if you have to evacuate. Often times, people think they will be gone for only a short time and leave their pets behind. Conditions can often worsen before they get better and you may be unable to get home to get your pets.


Why We Are Your Best Choice

  • Fully Equipped and Prepared for Your Pet's Needs

    Our hospital is a 6,000 sq ft facility with a large kennel, grooming room, treatment area, and more to best serve our patients.

  • High-Quality Care Tailored to Each Patient

    We value the human-animal bond and strive to provide premium, loving care for your pet's unique needs.

  • Monthly Continuing Education for All Staff Members

    We believe that education is the key to preventing illness and shortening the recovery time for your pet's ailments.

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Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Laura  Neuhaus (Raiff) Photo
    Dr. Laura Neuhaus (Raiff)


    Dr. Laura Neuhaus is a graduate of the University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an emergency and specialty medicine internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. She enjoys ophthalmology and has a special interest in avian medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She is the proud parent of a cat and 2 parrotlets.
  • Dr. Mitchell  Meyerhoeffer Photo
    Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer


    A Virginia native, Dr. Mitchell Meyerhoeffer (Dr. M is fine!) started his career in the veterinary field in high school at Chesterfield Technical Center's veterinary science program. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University while working as a veterinary assistant in a specialty and emergency hospital. Dr. M then completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine training at Virginia Tech, enjoying the hiking and outdoor scenery in Blacksburg when he could ...
  • Beth   Photo

    Veterinary Technician

    Beth joined the GAH staff in April 2010. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in the Gloucester area. She has been working as a Licensed Veterinary Technician since graduating from Blue Ridge Community College in 1989. Away from work, she enjoys reading and working her dogs in obedience and agility classes. She has two dogs, three cats, four ferrets and three reptiles.
  • Becca   Photo

    Veterinary Assistant

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  • Mary   Photo

    Treatment Team Lead

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    Veterinary Assistant

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    Veterinary Assistant

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    Kennel Care Team Lead

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    Kennel Care Team

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    Kennel Care Team

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    Kennel Care Team

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  • Aidan   Photo

    Professional Groomer

    I'm Aidan, and I'm not your typical groomer. I'm a passionate animal lover with a heart full of love for our furry friends. Every day, I get the incredible opportunity to work my magic as a groomer at the renowned Grafton Animal Hospital. I can't express just how much I adore what I do. It's not just a job; it's a calling. I find immense joy in transforming your beloved pets into the best versions of themselves. Whether it's a shaggy dog that needs a fresh haircut, a cat in need of a spa day, or ...
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    Practice Manager

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  • Ricky   Photo

    Front Desk Supervisor

    Ricky came to Grafton Animal Hospital in April of 2011. He was a little shy at first, but once he became more comfortable with us, he became one of the team. Ricky is a Congo African Grey Parrot. We think he is around 10 years old, but no one is sure. He will sometimes put on a show of whistling, talking, singing and dancing, and imitating sounds like telephones and coughing. Visit our Facebook page for an opportunity to see Ricky in action.
  • Lucy   Photo

    Staff Meeting Coordinator

    Lucy joined the Grafton Animal Hospital reception team as the new Noisemaker bird in September 2016. After losing our long-time mascot, Croaker, earlier that year, we learned of a young Quaker parrot available for adoption at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and decided she might be a good fit for the clinic. Lucy quickly made herself at home and before long, she was showing the staff who was really in charge. She is generally pretty friendly, so you will often see the staff holding her. ...
  • Daisy & Duke   Photo
    Daisy & Duke

    Staff Meeting Coordinators

    Daisy and Duke joined the GAH team in June of 2009. They were stray kittens that needed a home, and Squeaks was in need of a brother or sister. After some convincing, we were able to keep both. If you haven’t seen our kittens roaming the clinic, it’s because they are still learning their way around. For now, they are great morale boosters that keep us entertained during our staff meetings.
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    Grooming Manager

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    Kennel Care Team

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