Hurricane + Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners
Hurricane + Disaster
Preparedness for Pet Owners
When disaster strikes, our pets rely on us more than ever. Preparing in advance for hurricanes or other calamities ensures that our furry (or scaly or feathery) family members remain safe and sound. Here's a guide for pet owners to ensure that, come what may, our beloved companions are well-cared for.
Microchip and ID Your Pets
- In the chaos that often follows disasters, pets can easily become separated from their owners. To increase the chances of a happy reunion:
- Ensure your pet is microchipped and that the registration information is up-to-date.
- Always have them wear a collar with an ID tag containing your current contact information.
- Make sure you have recent photos of your pet accessible in your phone to share in the event hey get lost.
- Have your pet's microchip information saved somewhere you can access from anywhere (i.e., in an email, saved as a contact in your phone, dropbox folder)
Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit
- Food: At least a 3-day supply in a waterproof container. Manual can opener if including canned food. Don't forget to pack your dog treats as well to help maintain normal routine and reduce fear induced by lack of resources.
- Water: Minimum of 3 days' worth of bottled water, specifically for your pet (beyond what you might need for yourself). A pop up water bottle or dog feeder bowl will make it easier to feed your pet while traveling and save precious space.
- Medications: If your pet is on any medications, bring at least a week's supply with clear, written instructions on dosages and administration. You may not be able to access a refill the week before storm as veterinary locations prepare for evacuations themselves.
- Anxiety Aids: Consider having a calming aid supplement, thunder jacket, noise machine, favorite toys, etc. to keep your pet calm and relaxed.
- First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors, pet-safe antibiotic ointment, and a pet first aid reference book.
- Medical Records: Copies in a waterproof bag or container, or stored safely and electronically accessible. Include vaccination records and any important health information that may be needed for hotel stays
- Current Photos: Of your pet to help with identification in case you're separated.
- Microchip Information: Ensure it's up-to-date and keep a copy of the microchip number and the microchip company’s contact details.
- ID Tags: Ensure tags have current contact information.
- Leash and Harness: Even if your pet is accustomed to roaming freely, unfamiliar and potentially hazardous environments mean they need to be securely attached to you.
- Carrier or Crate: Sturdy and comfortable enough for extended periods. Label with your contact info.
- Comfort Items: Familiar toys, blanket, or bed to help reduce stress. Also consider "busy" toys like puzzles, kongs, DIY, that you can bring with you to keep your bet occupied in the event you spend several days in a small hotel room without ample room for exercise.
- Sanitation: Puppy pads, litter box with litter (for cats), plastic bags for waste, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizers.
- Flashlight and Batteries: To keep your pet safe in low-light conditions.
- Warmth: Reflective emergency blankets or pet warmers (especially crucial for smaller pets).
- Emergency Contacts: List of pet-friendly accommodations, the nearest veterinarian, and out-of-area contacts.
- Pet Rescue Alert: A sticker or sign for your window or door to alert rescue personnel that there's a pet inside.
Know Where to Go (with your pet)
- Before disaster strikes, research pet-friendly shelters and accommodations in your area
- Not all emergency shelters or hotels allow pets - although many cities are increasingly mandating this as part of their evacuation procedures, having a plan in advance is better than getting refused entrance
- If you are driving completely out of state to a family or friend, research dog friendly pit-stops along the way to make the journey easier for your pet
- Knowing where a dog park or dog-friendly field is on a long drive can help tire out your dog and give them the room to exercise and alleviate stress
Stay Informed and Practice Evacuation Procedures
- Keep an ear on local news or a weather radio. Knowing when to evacuate can save both human and animal lives.
- Familiarize your pet with their carrier or crate in advance. Practice loading your pets into the car and take them on rides so they're less likely to be stressed in a real emergency.
- Inform trustful neighbors that you are leaving or staying and notify them of your plans for your pet.
Create a Pet 'Safe Zone' at Home
- If you're not evacuating, determine the safest area of your home and keep all animals there.
- Make it comfortable with their toys, bed, and other familiar items.
- NEVER leave your pet behind. If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for them. Leaving pets tethered outside during disasters is not only dangerous but could be deadly.
After the Storm
- Once the immediate danger has passed, remember that pets can become disoriented.
- Familiar landmarks and scents might be altered, causing confusion or distress.
- Keep your pets leashed when going outside and always stay with them.
- Watch for potential hazards like broken glass, contaminated water, or downed power lines.
- Rinse their paws off with bottled water or fresh clean water after walking flooded streets in the event the water is contaminated.
Disasters can be unsettling, but with the right preparation, pet owners can navigate these challenges effectively. By taking these steps, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your furry, feathery, or scaly family member during the toughest times. Remember, our pets rely on us to keep them safe, and with a little planning, we can do just that.
Disclaimer: The blogs/articles on our website are written for suggestive or informational purposes only and are based on personal experiences. They are not written by a licensed veterinarian or intended to be medical advice for you or your pet. Outside of Wag Source, we are not paid or affiliated with any product, service or business in this post and own all rights to the images contained herein. Please consult with a veterinarian or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related questions or concerns you may for your pet. We assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.