Preparing your Pet for a Hurricane

With hurricane season in full swing, it is important to make a plan when preparing your pet for a hurricane. Natural disasters occur all over the world, and whether it be a flash flood, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you will need extra arrangements made to insure your pet’s safety.

Get what you will need in advance

A Pet Survival Kit should be prepared using a waterproof, covered container. It will not take long and will save you time to make other preparations to evacuate. The kit should include:

  • Food and water for 2 weeks
  • Water and food bowls
  • 2 weeks worth of any medications your pet may be taking
  • A photo of you with your pet in the case of separation.
  • Extra leashes and collars with ID tags
  • Puppy training pads in case your dog cannot go outside due to severe weather
  • Cleaning supplies
  • A pet crate or pet carrier large enough for your pet to stand and turn around and pads
  • Treats and toys
  • Blankets or bedding
  • Copies of your pet’s rabies certificate and other health certificates or tests sealed in a zip-lock bag or waterproof container
  • Cat Litter and portable litter box (if necessary)

If you are taking your dog or cat to a pet friendly shelter, you will be required to provide a crate or carrier to contain it. If your pet is not used to  being contained, work with them to get them acclimated. More info about training your pet to be in a crate or carrier.

Plan an evacuation route and shelter from the storm

Besides an emergency kit for your pet, planning an evacuation route for you and your pet is crucial. When your family includes a pet, evacuating will involve extra planning. If you plan to stay nearby, check your local emergency shelter to see if they will accept pets. If they do, you will most likely have to pre-register in advance. If your local shelter does not accept pets, be prepared to check neighboring cities outside of the projected path of the storm. Finding pet friendly hotels or other accommodations well in advance of a natural disaster will help ease the stress.

Whether you plan on evacuating or staying at home, it is crucial that you don’t leave your pet alone. “Abandoning your pet is not an option,” emphasizes Lisa Mendheim, Public Education Coordinator, Broward County Animal Care. “It is cruel and against the law.”

Identify your pet with a microchip

Get your pet microchipped. If, for any reason, you are separated from your pet, a microchip is one sure way they can be identified. Be sure and register your contact information with the chip’s manufacturer. There are also other websites that offer free microchip registration.

Schedule a vet visit 

Shelters will require proof of updated rabies and other vaccinations. If your pet is due, schedule a visit to have this done. Get certificates for their vaccinations. 

Keep your pet clean and groomed

When relocating your dog, keeping them clean and free of  parasites will make things easier for both of you. Keep their nails trimmed as well. Shelters will appreciate that as well.

In short, plan, plan, plan. Pay attention to the weather and know ahead of time whether you will need to evacuate or stay home. Reservations at shelters, kennels, hotels and stables must be made in advance, so make your storm decisions early – your animals are depending on you to keep them safe.

We would love to hear from you! Do you have a personal experience dealing with a natural disaster with your pet? Post your experiences in our blog or forum.

Browse our pet articles for more interesting information about caring for your pet.


Preparing your Pet for a Hurricane — 2 Comments

  1. I am a 15 year career consulting specialist in emergency response planning to publicly traded corporations. I wanted to commend you on an excellent and very complete article reminding folks that a disaster plan for their pets is as important as one for themselves. In the middle of a last minute, unplanned evacuation is NOT the time to decide what to do with fluffy.

    Thank you for contributing to Disaster Preparedness Awareness!

  2. Pingback: Prepare Your Pet for Disaster | Pet Travel Blog

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