Do your hurricane prep plans include pet preparedness? Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and lasts through November 30th. When you live in an area that frequently finds itself in the cone of uncertainty, like Florida or the Gulf Coast, it’s easy to become complacent about emergency plans and put preparations off until a threat is approaching, even if you know that’s not the ideal course of action. However, hurricane preparation with pets is a little more complicated and the consequences of not having a plan certainly outweigh the inconvenience of advanced planning. Take advantage of the calm before the storm (way before the storm) by making a hurricane action plan for your pets.
Make Sure Your Pet Has Identification
Microchip: Make sure that your pet not only has a microchip, but that it’s up to date with current information. One of the worst case scenarios involves your pet needing an easy way to find its way back to you and this will help.
Collar and tag: Buy your pet a brightly-colored collar. The tag should include their name and preferably two phone numbers in case one lacks power or service.
Records: Medical records are good to have on hand if your pet needs to see a vet in a new location if you evacuate, and also serve as identification of ownership if you become separated. Also, save a photo of your pets on your phone for identity confirmation or to share on social media if they get lost.
Create an Evacuation Plan
When in doubt, do get out. Having to flee your home is stressful enough, so don’t find yourself stranded for lack of a pet-friendly plan. Research hurricane shelters in your area and find out which welcome pets and if pre-registration is required.
If your plan involves travel, look for pet-friendly hotels with websites like www.bringfido.com, which also has an iOS app for on-the-go searches, or petswelcome.com where you can search by route.
Have a crate or carrier for each animal and make sure they are secured properly in the car, for both your safety and theirs.
Build an Emergency Kit
Ensure that you have enough supplies to support your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation event, and make sure that consideration extends to your pets, too.
Pet essentials checklist:
- Food for a week
- Bottled water
- Food and drinking bowls (the collapsible ones are convenient for travel)
- Collars and leashes (somewhere easily accessible)
- Bag of clumping litter for cat (stored in a small litter box)
- Absorbent training pads
- Plastic bags for waste
- Roll of paper towels
- Blanket or towel
Your pet will be understandably anxious, especially if you are. Thunder shirts and pet pheromone products have some documented success with relieving stress and might prove to be helpful.
The most important part of storm preparation involves being informed, so have a radio with fresh batteries on hand and sign up for mobile weather alerts with apps like NOAA Weather Alerts for iOS or Simple Weather Alert for Android.
Your pet depends on you for safety, support and comfort. Avoid unnecessary emergencies by planning ahead, packing supplies and being prepared for unexpected variations, and weather any storm with confidence.
About the Author: Ashley McCann lives in Florida with her family and their fluffy dog Max, where they are always prepared for the big seasonal storms. Ashley was named to Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should Read.” She currently writes as a technology writer for eBay.