Now that hurricane season is officially upon us, it’s once again time to ask – are you prepared? Most families have some sort of general emergency plan in place should a hurricane evacuation be ordered, but for those toting pets, it’s important to have a plan that includes them as well. Our pets are family members too, so keep them in mind during your discussions and preparations to keep everyone together and out of harm’s way.
When making emergency plans for any kind of natural disaster, like a hurricane, there’s much to care for and consider. And, your pet should be a part of that plan from the start, not left as an afterthought. Care for pets in general can require quite a bit more attention and thought, as they simply can’t do it for themselves. So, be sure to think ahead towards all of those possible obstacles you and your pet might face during a hurricane evacuation (e.g. Will your pet be allowed to stay at your safe destination? Will you have access to all of their medications?). Having a solid, pre-prepped plan of action just might save your pet’s life!
In the event that an evacuation is put out and you have to leave your home, make sure your whole family, pets included, are included in your plans and have a safe place to go. Just don’t forget to bring and have ready those essential survival items that will keep your pet calm (and you) and healthy during your time away from home. If you’re not sure where to start in packing for your pet, we’ve got you covered. These are the 10 essential items we recommend every pet owner prepare in the event that you and your pet have to leave during a hurricane evacuation:
- Photos – Bring recent photos of your pets. Have these with you at all times in the unfortunate event that you are separated.
- Food & Water – Plan to bring at least 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top is best; you don’t want to have to remember the can opener too) or dry food along with feeding dishes and plenty of fresh water.
- Collar & ID – Make sure your pet has a secured collar with up-to-date ID tags containing information like their name, your name and your contact information.
- Records & Medication – Always have on-hand photocopies of your pet’s medical records and a waterproof container that can hold a two-week supply of any medicine your pet might require.
- Bags – You can never have too many disposable garbage bags on-hand for clean-up.
- Toys – Toys are a lifesaver in these types of situations. They’ll keep your pet entertained, saving their sanity as well as your own.
- If you receive an evacuation order, act quickly, and leave as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the more difficult the journey will be on everyone.
- Take a crate that is big enough for your pet to stand up and lie down comfortably. This will also help your pet feel secure and protected in any new location that you might have to travel to or stay in.
- Early in the planning stages, be sure to call ahead to your intended evacuation location to ensure that they accept pets. And, don’t forget to take plenty of towels to keep your pet dry (and yourself).
- When you hit the road, do drive carefully with your pet properly restrained. Getting everyone to your destination safely is your most important task.
As you make plans to keep your family and pets safe in the event of a hurricane, remember that this is not a complete disaster preparedness list. These tips will get you started, but your own checklist will vary depending on your pet and their specific needs. Just don’t leave prep to the last minute. Set your plans in place sooner rather than later, because later may just be too late.