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 current photo of you with your pet in the case of separation.
- Extra sturdy 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
- Litter box, scoop and litter (cats)
- Blankets, bedding or other comfort items
- Copies of your pet’s rabies certificate and other health certificates or tests sealed in a zip-lock bag or waterproof container
- Written info about feeding schedule, medications, behavior issues and the name and number of your veterinarian
- Cat Litter and portable litter box (if necessary)
In advance of the storm, contact your local office of emergency management to find a pet friendly shelter. Know that shelters will require that you have a reservation for your pet. You can also make a reservation at a pet friendly hotel; however, you will need to do this early as hotels will fill up fast. Ask friends out of the way of the storm whether they would have room for you and your pet if you needed to evacuate. If all else fails, contact your veterinarian’s office for the possibility of boarding during the storm.
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.
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, bordatella and other vaccinations. If your pet is due, schedule a visit to have this done. Get certificates for their vaccinations. This is an important step in preparing your pet for a hurricane because no boarding facility will accept an unvaccinated pet.
Keep your pet clean and groomed
Before leaving your home with 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.
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.”
Staying at Home
If you decide to ride out the storm at home, identify a place in your home with no exterior walls. A bathroom or closet may be suitable. Bring your pets inside before the weather turns. Relocate your pet’s kennel or crate in the room. Remove any toxic cleaners or other substances that could interest them. Be prepared to lose electricity and have a battery operated radio handy. Charge all of your electronics in advance.
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.
Browse our pet articles for more interesting information about caring for your pet.