It is officially Atlantic hurricane season! And with a frightening number of named storms predicted this year, it’s time to prepare! For Floridians, hurricanes are all too familiar, ruthless, and entirely unpredictable. We must always prepare for the worst from June through November. After seeing countless videos of pet rescue efforts following devastating hurricanes, I want to remind everyone that our pets need be accounted for as well. As you begin hurricane preparation efforts this season (or for any natural disasters), please remember that your pets rely on you to keep them safe during the next big storm. So here are my best tips on addressing hurricane preparation with pets and how to ready your furbabies for the next inevitable hurricane.
Top Tips for Hurricane Preparation with Pets
Have an evacuation plan:
- We all create a plan in case of an evacuation, but it is important to make sure that pets are allowed wherever you are headed. Many motels, hotels, and shelters do not allow pets. Make sure your evacuation plan includes your pets.
- If your evacuation location does not allow pets, choose designated caregivers who can care for your pets. Keep a list of friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters, or veterinarians who you know can care for your animals in an emergency. Have a list of phone numbers ready.
- Many times in emergencies, we need to separate pets. If you have multiple pets, designate more than one place for them to go.
- Include your pets in evacuation drills so they become accustomed to traveling in their carriers comfortably.
Prepare emergency supplies and travel kits:
- Have leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers ready to transport pets safely and ensure they cannot escape.
- Have plenty of food, drinking water, bowls, and cat litter. Don’t forget a can opener if your pet eats canned food.
- Remember all medications, and keep copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container.
- Make a hurricane pet first aid kit which includes the following items:
- Identification (current color photo of your pet, ID tag including owner’s name, current address, contact phone number)
- Medical records and information of any medical conditions or behavior problems
- Information on feeding schedules
- The name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
- List of veterinarians and 24-hour emergency animal hospitals that are close to your destination in case you need to evacuate
- Pet beds and toys or something that provides your pet with comfort
Prepare to Travel with Your Pets:
- Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that they are wearing collars with up-to-date identification (many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations).
- Stock up on any medications your pet requires, and request copies of their medical records.
- Microchip your pet, and keep the registration current, as many pets get lost or displaced during natural disasters.
- If your pet exhibits anxiety and stress during storms or travel, have your veterinarian prescribe a sedative. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medications.
- The ASPCA recommends displaying a sticker on your home so rescuers know there are pets inside.
- Make sure your sticker is visible and includes the total number and type of pets in your household.
With all the nervousness and busy preparations for hurricanes, please make sure to keep your pets in mind. They rely on us to ensure their safety and well being. Our thoughts and prayers are always with all the victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters. So many people and pets have lost their loved ones and homes through devastating hurricanes. If you would like to make a donation, please go to The Human Society. Wishing everyone a safe and prepared hurricane season.