We are in the midst of hurricane season, which runs through the end of November, with the peak of storm activity generally occurring in August and September. If you haven’t already, now is the time to develop a hurricane preparedness plan to ensure you and your pets remain safe in the event a storm hits your area.
The following tips will help all members of your family prepare for a hurricane:
1. Put together a hurricane preparedness kit that includes three days of water and non-perishable food for every human and animal member of your household. Also, include any medications that you or your pet takes, medical records sealed in a waterproof container, a photograph of every member of your family (including your pets), rescue alert stickers to place near your front door, and other important documents. If you have a cat, you’ll need to pack litter and a litter box too.
2. Pack a first aid kit in the event of an illness or injury. Start with the basics, such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, tape and scissors, rubbing alcohol, and over-the-counter medications, and then add additional supplies as recommended by your doctor or veterinarian. Flea and tick control products are a good idea, as mosquitoes and fleas are often a problem in the aftermath of storms.
3. Fill a crate or carrier with secondary pet supplies, including extra leashes, grooming products, pet toys, and other essentials. Having these things on hand will make your pet more comfortable and will make it easier if you need to evacuate at the last minute. If your pet is easily upset by thunder or travel, consider asking your veterinarian for a calming aid or collar.
4. Determine safe rooms in your house ahead of time. Choose a location with few or no windows and a load-bearing wall. Hallways and bathrooms are usually good choices, but these may be too small for large families or multiple animals. Once you’ve chosen a location, move your pet crate, kits, radio, flashlights, and other supplies into the room. Grab some blankets and other comfort items, too.
5. Familiarize yourself with area evacuation routes and public shelters. Call ahead to determine which shelters are pet friendly. If you have friends and family nearby who may be able to help, contact them in advance to make certain you and your pet(s) are welcome. If no pet-friendly shelters exist in your area, or if there is a chance that area shelters will fill up quickly, contact pet boarding facilities outside the warning zone and ask about their drop-in policy.
6. Microchip your pets. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent your dog or cat from being lost or stolen. Microchipping involves implanting a tiny chip in your animal’s shoulder area that is readable by scanners at animal shelters. The chip will tell the shelter how to contact you.