Five Ways To Prepare Your Pets For Hurricanes
By Jeff Dorson
Hurricane Katrina taught us the hard way that the safety of our animals must be made a priority in the event of a disaster. We know we must make preparations now-before the storm- in order to avoid chaos and confusion later. The following guidelines are designed to help you make these preparations to ensure the wellfare of your pets this hurricane season.
Evacuate With Your Animals!
Acquire appropriately sized pet carriers for each animal. If your pet is unaccustomed to traveling in a carrier, do some trial runs, so the experience will not be completely new when you evacuate. Label each carrier with your contact information, and the name of the pet inside.
Provide For The Needs Of Your Pets During And After The Evacuation
Create a Pet Evacuation Kit so that everything they need is packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation. Click here for our list of recommended provisions for your pet’s kit.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Up To Date On All Vaccinations
Ideally, you will be able to keep your animals with you throughout the evacuation process; but in the event that they must be boarded at a shelter, vet, or other boarding facility, your animal must be current on all vaccinations to be admitted. You will be required to show proof of these vaccinations. Ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s vaccination record, including a current rabies license and tag.
Have Your Pet Microchipped
We highly recommend this animal identification and tracking system. A tiny microchip is injected under the animal’s skin, where it remains for the duration of your pet’s life. The chip poses no threat to your pet’s health, and the injection is quick and relatively painless, much like the vaccination process. Your pet’s personal identification number is read by a scanning device routinely used by most humane societies, shelters, animal control, and veterinarians. You will then be contacted as to the location of your pet. (At the very least, have identification tags with your pets name, your address and phone number, securely affixed to your pet’s collar).
Create An Identification File For Each Pet.
This is an insurance policy against the irrevocable loss of your pet in the event of a disaster. The file should include current photographs of your pet (you will have to show a photograph to have your animal released to you from a shelter, or other holding facility; including yourself in the photos will facilitate this process), microchip identification number, adoption papers, a written description of your pet (feline, female, 7 years old, grey tabby, 10 lbs, etc), a description of your pet’s distinctive markings (white paws, black spot on back, etc.), diet, medications, vaccination history, behavioral issues and personality. Place the file in a water-proof folder, and put it with your Pet Evacuation Kit.
Secure Accommodations For Your Pet Before The Storm.
Establish where your pet will be housed in the event of an evacuation. Ideally, you will be traveling to friends or family who are willing and able to house your pets. For many of us, other arrangements must be made. Locate pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and shelters in the area to which you will be evacuating. Secure reservations for your animals if possible, and get directions to the hotel or boarding facility. For a list of websites featuring pet-friendly accommodations, click here.
Pet Evacuation Kit Provisions:
- Pet food ( 2 week supply; don’t forget the manual can opener if you bring canned food!)
- Water (2 week supply)
- Pet bowls leashes and/or harnesses medications (including heart worm preventative, flea preventative)
- Pet carriers, labeled with your contact information pet identification folders vaccination history (including rabies license and tags)
- Medical history
- Pet first aid kit (see below for contents)
- Emergency contact numbers (your veterinarian’s phone number, for example)
- List of pet-friendly hotels, shelters, boarding facilities maps with evacuation routes.
- Pet toys, pet beds, and/or blankets, treats, litter box, litter, and scoop dog-poop bags paper towels trash bags, flashlight, batteries and radio
Jeff Dorson is the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana