Protect Your Pets in a Storm with This Checklist

How to Protect Your Pets in a Storm

Hurricane season is in full swing and for those affected by these storms, a disaster plan for your pets is critical to have in place. Even if not in the path of a hurricane or tropical cyclone, you should always be aware of how to care for your pets in an emergency.

Pet Food, Water, Supplies

Regardless of the type of emergency, if you have to evacuate your home and relocate with your pets, you will need to have ready:

  • Several days of fresh water for your pets to drink
  • Several days of non-perishable food (dry or pouched)
  • Any medications your pets will need – in their original container and clearly marked
  • Plastic bowls for food and water identified with their name(s) and your name so there is no confusion regarding ownership
  • A blanket for each of your pets to sleep on, or a small, portable pet bed
  • A towel in case they get wet
  • A good leash (cat or dog), and pet carrier
  • A copy of their current vaccination records and registration (Note: most places will require proof of a bordetella or kennel cough vaccination so make sure your pet is up-to-date on that. Check with your vet for more information.)
  • A current photo of your pet with their name and your phone number. Ideally, photos of you and your pet will be most useful
  • Litter box (if possible) for cats; waste bags for dogs
  • Paper towels, hand sanitizers, disposable gloves
  • Most important…make sure they have clear identification on them (tags) with your current cell phone number

Plan Where to Stay

Most evacuation shelters do not allow animals. However, some do. Find out ahead of time if there are any animal-friendly shelters in your vicinity. Remember, roads might be closed or washed out, so make sure it is a place you feel you can get to safely in an emergency.

If your shelter does not take animals, you have three choices:

  1. Arrange to stay with a friend or relative with the understanding you will be bringing your pet(s) and make sure your host knows the size and type of  pet you have. If they have pets of their own, understand that your fur baby might be the one spending more time in their crate or carrier in the event of a conflict.
  2. Contact your vet long before a storm approaches to find out if they are in a safe area and if you can board your pet there.
  3. Some hotels will take pets, especially in an emergency situation, but it could cost  you. There might be cleaning fees, higher room rates and limitations on room types or locations. Make sure you have cash if electricity is out and they are unable to accept a credit card. Again, knowing your options and being prepared is critical.

Unless you are advised to do so by emergency authorities, do not ride out the storm at home in order to stay with your pet! This is dangerous for everyone – especially your pet. Plan ahead, prepare your emergency kit and know your options for a safe, stress-free experience.

Click on the following link for more information about pet emergency planning from the Department of Homeland Security.

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