Hurricane Pet Safety
Hurricanes are simply a part of life in our part of the world, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken as trivial.
Hurricanes are dangerous, and it’s important to have a plan for your entire family long before a hurricane actually comes knocking. Preparing your pet is just as important as the rest of your family, and they depend on you to take care of them. Whether you need to board your pet for the duration of the storm, take them with you in an evacuation, or shelter with them in your home, it’s important to be prepared.
The Importance of Proper Identification
Hurricanes, and any natural disaster, account for a large portion of lost pets. In the chaos of a storm, pets can escape from your backyard, slip out an open door, or bolt and rip the leash right out of your hand. In these instances, a collar with ID tags may not be enough. Collars are often damaged, fall off, or are even removed.
For a failsafe, permanent form of identification, a microchip is your best bet. Your veterinarian can insert a microchip easily, at your next appointment. The procedure is similar to being given a vaccine. The microchip, a tiny device, no bigger than a grain of rice, is inserted between your pet’s shoulder blades. It emits a unique ID code that ties your pet back to you. Animal shelters, vets, and animal control offices all have microchip readers, so no matter where your pet ends up, they’re only a phone call away.
Tips for Hurricane Preparation
Your pet looks to you for reassurance. In a stressful situation like a hurricane, it can be easy to become nervous, overwhelmed, and stressed. Yet, for your pet’s and the rest of your family’s sake, it’s best to try and retain a sense of calm. Handle your pet with care and compassion and use controlled movements to not spook them. Staying calm also helps you keep a clear head, too!
Before the storm, familiarize your pet with your shelter or crawl space where you would take shelter during the storm. If you have the time, it’s a good idea to train your pet to go into the crawl space when you give the command. For cats, help them to get familiar with their carrier so they have less anxiety about it when the time comes to go inside.
Prepare a pet emergency kit long before there’s any threat of a storm. Here’s a starter list for things to include:
- Medical records. Make sure your pet’s most up to date vaccinations are included in their medical records. Should you need to take your pet to a boarding facility before the storm or during evacuation, the facility will undoubtedly require their vaccination and medical records.
- Food and water, enough for up to a week
- Medications your pet is on, in their original containers, with instructions for administration.
- Collar, leash, and muzzle if necessary
- Newspaper or puppy pads
- Plastic bags and paper towels to clean up messes
- A portable litter box for your cat