Natural disasters can present unique challenges in how to take care of your pet. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and more can leave you and your family vulnerable without proper preparation. To have the best chance of staying safe, it’s important you follow safety procedures and readiness protocols given by your state, your veterinarian, and your local guidelines. But some advice on pet owner plans for hurricanes and other natural disasters can always be available to help you prepare for your time of need! The helpful guidelines below can act as a great starting point on your hurricane pet safety plan.
This hurricane safety week, you can prepare for the upcoming hurricane season! As the lessons of Ike, Katrina, and more have taught us, being prepared for the upcoming storm isn’t just a matter of common sense – it’s a strategy like any other.
Make sure your pet is microchipped
When disaster strikes, no matter how prepared we are, sometimes your pet can get lost. The world around them becomes scary and stressful, and rapid packing and leaving can be a frightening moment for them. In the case of their escape, your pet’s microchip may be the essential key to re-uniting you with your loved one!
The microchip is a small radio frequency transponder with a unique ID number associated with your pet’s name and your contact information. It can be placed by your local veterinarian (us!) or may have already been placed by the shelter you adopted your pet from. After the microchip placement, you can place your contact information through the free Michelson Found Animals Microchip Registry.
Additionally, you can make sure your pet’s tags on their collar are up to date. But what should you put on the pet’s collar? The ID tag for your pet should always include:
- Pet’s Name
- Any Urgent Medical Needs
- Your Phone Number
Your Pet’s Go Bag
Most people are familiar with what should be in their own disaster preparedness kit – food, flashlights, water, first aid. But what should be in your pet’s emergency kit? The below essentials are all important parts of keeping your pet safe and comfortable during an emergency.
- Food – Whether it’s wet food or dry, name brand or fully organic, a seven-day supply of the food they’re eating is essential to bring with you. More is always acceptable, but seven days’ worth should be the minimal amount in case your evacuation gets extended.
- Water – Just like you, your pet needs water on the go! Similar to food, seven days’ worth of water should be considered the minimal amount to bring with you in your pet’s go bag.
- Medicines and medical records – Your records, and an additional supply of your pet’s medicines, can keep your pet prepared should they need to leave in a hurry for their current medication and any necessary refills.
- First-aid kit – Accidents can happen, and it’s best to be prepared! Ask your veterinarian what they would include in a first-aid kit for their pet and add to it as necessary.
- Extra collar with ID and rabies tag – Things can get lost, so an extra collar or harness is a must!
- Crate or carrier – No matter how well your pet does on their own, it’s important they have a safe space to retreat to so they feel comfortable, or an easy way for you to transport them as you go.
- Sanitary supplies – Paper towels, litter boxes, pee pads, and more. You’ll be thankful you have them when you need them.
- A picture of you and your pet together – When it comes to identifying a lost pet’s owner, this item isn’t just for sentimental value. It can prove your ownership and help you find your lost pet!
- Treats, toys, bedding, and familiar things – An emergency is guaranteed to be a stressful event for your pet. Familiarity can help comfort them and ease some of the stress they’re bound to feel.
Consider A Pet Alert Sticker
Pet Alert stickers are window decals or stickers that can alert rescue workers to the presence of pets in a home during a natural disaster. Found in pet stores, or via the ASPCA website, they can let rescuers know how many pets are in the home. If you’re evacuating, you can simply write ‘Evacuated’ on the sticker or sign to let rescue workers know your pets are safe.
Identify A Pet-Friendly Safe Location
Once you leave to weather the storm, finding a safe place for you and your pet can be difficult. Hotels may not accommodate pets or may have special requirements or fees. Before an emergency strikes, do some research online to find hotels, Airbnbs, or family and friends that can accommodate you and your pet.
Identify A Safe Location Inside Your Home
Even if the storm isn’t bad enough for you to need to relocate, you’ll still need to prepare! Finding a safe location in your home to keep your pet away from the storm is important should things get worse. Tropical storms and flash floods can still present dangers to your pet, so avoid areas with potential hazards for flying debris, such as windows. And be careful when you prepare to take your pet on a walk – short, purposeful walks before retreating back inside are necessary over long and enjoyed walks together during a storm, no matter how much your pet loves the rain!
Preparing For A Hurricane With Your Local Area
Where is the local pet friendly hurricane shelter? Is there a pet hurricane preparedness checklist in my area? Does my region have a hurricane pet rescue group? Are there local hurricane pet safety tips?
Chances are, you’re not the only person asking this question. And many other, natural disaster specific questions can arise during different times of the year. To best be prepared, it’s important to contact your local veterinarian, shelter, or emergency management agency to best find the information you need.