Prepare Your Pets for Hurricane Season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a very busy above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. They claim a "70-percent likelihood of a range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) expected." When Naturals disasters strike, many human and pet deaths could be prevented if people would follow an emergency plan, so let us review what you’ll need to care for your pet if a storm hits us.
Start by recognizing if your house is hurricane-proof ( sturdy, inland, and not in a flood zone), if it is not, then you must check where your closest shelter is and what requirements do they have for you to get in with all your pets. Get the shelter’s numbers on your phone contacts but also on a plain index card and place them in a ziplock bag. If there are no shelters that would admit any or all your pets, call your veterinarian and local animal shelter and ask if they do emergency boarding in case that you have to evacuate your home. Look for your pet’s vaccination records and any pertinent information and place it also in the ziplock bag. If your pet is not current on vaccines call your veterinarian and make an appointment for a summer check-up.
Prepare an emergency duffle bag with supplies to last at least 5 days. Include the following:
1- Collapsible water and food bowls
2- Three to Five days worth of pet food ( can be less than you currently feed daily)
3-Ziplock bag with your pet’s medical info or at least vaccine records
4-Try adding Composure treats or calming cat/dog collars to decrease stress
6-Emergency kit for pets and Five days worth of all the medications your pet is currently using
7-Large bottled water container
Another thing you must do is make sure that your pet can be returned to you if you get separated. The best way is to inject a rice-sized microchip under your pet’s skin. This can be done during an office visit and it's a permanent way to identify your pet and if your pet is picked by Animal Services they will make sure to keep it until they reach you, this really can save your pet’s life! However, if you can’t do that, a low-tech alternative would be to write your phone number with a sharpie on your pet’s belly, inner ear pinnae, and collar.
Even if you plan to stay in your home during the storm, it is advisable to have identification on your pet in case they escape or your house gets damaged by unexpected things like trees, lightning, or tornadoes.
Heed the authority’s warnings and leave if you are in a danger zone but please do not leave your pets behind! Pets cannot handle surviving a storm if they are trapped in your house. Please, be a conscientious owner and arrange care for your companions ahead of time.