As hurricane season continues to sweep through North America, many people are preparing to evacuate their homes. An evacuation is already stressful enough – worrying about how to bring your pet safely with you can add even more strain. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you and your pet reach safety during any natural disaster evacuation.
What to Pack
You probably have an emergency kit stowed away for you, but what about your pet? The first step in preparation is to have a pet emergency kit with the basics that a pet needs in case of evacuation. Keep this pack in a dry, cool area that’s easy to reach. Whether you put it in your pack, your pet’s, or both, make sure to have plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Make sure your pets always have their tags, collars and up-date identification information. A pet’s tag should include basic information like their name and how to contact you. If your pet is enrolled with Trupanion, their pupkin tag can also be used as a form of identification.
- A copy of your pet’s up-to-date medical records should be kept in a water-proof container. It’s easiest to just keep them in a zip-locked plastic bag. Whenever the records are updated, replace the one in your emergency pack.
- Any medicine your pet may need.
- Disposable food and water dishes, as well as a week’s worth of canned or dry food.
- If you have a cat, bring litter.
- Garbage bag and disinfectant for easy clean up.
- To keep your pets happy and comfortable, it’s always nice to have a blanket in your pack as well as a favorite toy or stuffed animal.
Learn more about what to bring with our Pet Emergency Preparedness Checklist.
How to Evacuate
In case of emergency it’s always best to have a clear, actionable plan in place for you and your pet. If you need to evacuate, you can look up local shelters that allow pets. Some of these may request that you reserve space in advance – when you become aware of a possible weather emergency in the forecast, be sure to contact shelters.
Be sure to also have the contact information of your neighbors, your veterinarian, and emergency services in your area. Check out these tips from Ready.gov to help with your evacuation plan. It’s always best to be prepared and have every step written out ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling when an emergency happens.
If you are or will be affected by Hurricane Irma, please see our Hurricane Irma resources post that lists pet-friendly shelters as well as organizations that are asking for donations during this time.
How to Keep Your Pet Calm
An important part of pet emergency preparedness is knowing how to keep your pet calm and comfortable throughout the process. Pets can become distressed with changing routines, new environments, and new people and smells all around them. Make sure your pet has a familiar blanket or toy with them, and speak to them in reassuring tones. If you’re stressed, chances are your pet will feel that pressure as well.
Special clothing items like ThunderShirts can also provide a calming sense if your pet is feeling nervous. There are also medications to help with anxiety in your pets, but make sure to consult with your veterinarian to see what is appropriate for your cat or dog.