The Hurricane season officially begins June 1st in Florida. When you check supplies, prepare for the worst; and when making preliminary evacuation plans, don’t forget your pets. Disaster planning is a necessary precaution when living in Florida, and if a hurricane is heading towards you, and you are not safe in your house, then your pet isn’t either. Since pets are not allowed inside most emergency public shelters due to public health and safety reasons, planning ahead is essential. You can save your pet’s life and ease your concerns by using this as a check list when preparing for a threatening storm emergency.
- First, make a commitment to take your pets when evacuating. Leaving an animal tied up outside to a tree or a fence is not a safe option. Leaving a pet indoors is risky because it could be trapped in a house if there is flooding.
- Acquire a pet carrier or crate for each household pet if the pets will be traveling. These carriers should be large enough to allow the pet to stand up and turn around.
- Take time to familiarize the pet with the portable kennel. Kennel tops and bottoms can be separated to make a pet’s bed. This helps them adjust to the kennel.
- Be sure the pet wears a fitted collar with current license & identification tags at all times. Have a leash on hand to maintain control of the pet. We strongly recommend microchips in case the collar and tag come off.
- Survey your home and determine the best location away from windows to place the pet during a storm emergency, such as the utility room, bathroom, kitchen or other tiled area which can be cleaned easily.
- Make some phone calls to determine options for pet placement and care if evacuation is necessary due to an impending hurricane. Arrangements for your pet can be made, such as:
- Survey boarding kennels and veterinary clinics to determine which will take pets during an emergency.
- Ask dependable friends or relatives who live further inland, away from the coast or river areas, for shelter during the storm emergency
- Call motels to determine if they allow pets and if so, if there are any restrictions on size and number of pets allowed.
- Websites, such as www.petswelcome.com, are resources for pet-friendly hotels and motels. Also, some lodging places that normally don’t allow pets may relax their rules during emergency evacuations.
- Get your pet’s supplies together and ready for evacuation. Acquire ample quantities of pet food and kitty litter, plenty of newspaper, plastic bags, cleanser and disinfectants to properly handle pets waste.
- Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and make copies of the records to take with you when evacuating. Most boarding facilities require proof of vaccinations. Also, if your pet does bite someone, you will need proof of rabies vaccination.
- If evacuation is strongly recommended, load up everything, including pet supplies and your pets, and go. If traveling by car, make sure your pets have good ventilation and water. Periodically stop to take a bathroom break.
- Be careful in allowing your pet outdoors after the storm has passes. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and a pet could easily be confused and become lost. Downed power lines and reptiles brought in with high water can present real dangers to a pet.
Remember, if a hurricane is heading towards you, and you are not safe in your house, then your pet isn’t either.