The devastation and destruction in Texas from hurricane Harvey is undoubtedly heartbreaking. And as we are all trying to wrap our heads around the aftermath of the storm and provide support for the rescue efforts in Texas, Floridians must now prepare for another storm that is quickly approaching.
For Floridians, hurricanes are all too familiar, ruthless and entirely unpredictable. That is why it is so important to have a disaster preparedness plan ready during the months of August through November.
After seeing countless videos of the pet rescue efforts going on in Texas, we’re all too aware that our pets need be accounted for as well. If you are preparing for hurricane Irma, please remember that your pets rely on you to get them ready for the next big storm. So, here are my best pet safety tips on how to prepare your pets for the hurricane.
Have an evacuation plan:
• We all create a disaster preparedness 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 for pets. Be prepared and make sure your evacuation plan includes your pets.
• If your evacuation location does not allow for pets, choose designated caregivers that 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. Be prepared with a list of phone numbers.
• Many times in emergencies, we need to separate pets. Be prepared to designate more than one place for your pets to go.
• Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become accustomed to traveling in their carriers comfortably.
Have emergency supplies and travel kits ready:
• Have leashes, dog harnesses and/or carriers ready to transport pets safely and ensure that they cannot escape.
• Make sure to have enough supply 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 first aid kit that includes the following:
• Identification (current color photo of your pet, ID tag that includes the owner’s name, current address, contact phone number).
• Keep medical records and information of any medical conditions, or behavioral problems handy.
• Keep information on feeding schedules, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
• Always keep a list of veterinarians and 24-hour emergency animal hospitals that are close to your destination if you need to evacuate.
• Make sure to include pet beds and toys, or something that provides your pet with comfort during what can be a difficult time.
Pet Safety Tips for Traveling:
• 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, along with a copy of their medical records.
• Many pets get lost or displaced during natural disasters. Make sure your pet is microchipped and that their microchip is registered and current.
• If your pet exhibits anxiety and stress during storms or travel, have your veterinarian prescribe a sedative if needed. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medications.
• The ASPCA recommends this sticker be displayed so that people know there are pets inside your home.
• Make sure your sticker is visible and includes the number of and type of pets in your household.
With all the nervousness and busy preparations for hurricanes, please make sure to keep these cat and dog safety tips in mind when you create your hurricane preparedness plan. They rely on us to ensure their safety and well-being. Stay safe!