When disaster strikes, the same rules apply to people apply to pets. Hurricane preparedness makes all the difference, and if it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to prepare for hurricane season. Pet owners should have an emergency plan that includes the safety of their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area. You can save your pet’s life and ease your concerns by using this as a check list when preparing for a threatening storm emergency.
- Make a commitment to take your pets when evacuating.
- Get your pet’s supplies together. Acquire at least five days of water and non-perishable food for each human and animal member of your household. Also, include any medications that you or your pet takes, medical records and a photograph of every member of your family (including your pets) and other important documents sealed in a waterproof container.
- Acquire a pet carrier (portable kennel) or crate for each household pet if the pets will be traveling. These carriers should be large enough for the pet to stand up and turn around. Bringing along comfort items such as a toy and blanket can help reduce your pets stress from travel or severe weather.
- Be sure your pet wears a fitted collar with current license and identification tags at all times. We strongly recommend microchipping your pets in case the collar and tag come off. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent your dog or cat from being lost or stolen. The chip will tell the shelter how to contact you.
- Gather secondary pet supplies, including litter and a litter box, extra leashes, grooming products, pet toys and other essentials.
- Pack a first aid kit in the event of an illness or injury. Start with the basics, such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, tape and scissors, rubbing alcohol, and over-the-counter medications, and then add additional supplies as recommended by your doctor or veterinarian. Flea and tick control products are a good idea, as mosquitoes, ticks and fleas are often a problem in the aftermath of storms.
- Familiarize yourself with area evacuation routes and public shelters. Call ahead to determine which shelters are pet friendly. If you have friends and family nearby who may be able to help, contact them in advance to make certain you and your pet(s) are welcome. If no pet-friendly shelters exist in your area, or if there is a chance that area shelters will fill up quickly, contact pet boarding facilities outside the warning zone and ask about their drop-in policy.
- Survey your home and determine the best location away from windows to place the pet during a storm emergency, such as the utility room, bathroom, kitchen or other tiled area which can be cleaned easily. Once you’ve chosen a location, move your pet crate, kits, radio, flashlights, and other supplies into the room. Grab some blankets and other comfort items, too.