5 Pet Evacuation Tips for Hurricane Season
Keep your pet safe when evacuating.
It is hurricane season, the time of the year from approximately June 1st to November 30th when the greatest threat of hurricane damage along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts is most likely. It is also when many homeowners are placed in a quandary, asking themselves this question: what should I do with my beloved pet as a major storm approaches?
Even if you don’t live in hurricane territory or are reading this article during the winter or spring seasons, the following pet evacuation tips can come in handy. Courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute, these tips can help to ensure that you’re prepared and that your cats, dogs and other pets are kept safe:
1. Make plans now where you will go and how you will get there — Even without a big storm looming, it is a good idea to make a plan now so you won’t be scrambling later. If you have transportation, but no place to stay, consider hotels where pets are welcome and put these places on your list. For example, LaQuinta Inns and Suite welcomes pets nationwide — you could travel to such a hotel in a faraway city with your cat or dog.
2. Find a local shelter — If you cannot leave your area, then find out what local shelters are available for people. Determine which shelters accept pets. If no people shelters are pet friendly, talk with your veterinarian to find a pet shelter, animal hospital or other pet friendly establishment where your pet would be welcome. You may be able to stay with your pet while the storm rages outside.
3. Bring a kit along — The I.I.I. advises pet owners to create a “grab and go” emergency kit to have available just in case disaster strikes. This kit can include medication, proof of rabies vaccine, pet first aid kit, pet toys, kitty litter, food, water, the name and phone number of your veterinarian, pet insurance information and a photo of you with your pet in the event the two of you become separated.
4. Evacuate with your pets — If you’re required to evacuate your home, do not leave you pets behind even if you are able to leave plenty of food and water out for your pet. A stranded pet is a vulnerable pet with no one to rescue it in the event waters rise, a fire breaks out or the shelter (your home) is destroyed. Don’t wait to receive an evacuation order to leave — by then, it could be too late to bring your pet. Bring your pet in a cage or keep it on a leash. Vet information including shots and medications are necessary.
5. Readjust with care — Once the disaster passes, you may return to familiar settings or there could be enough change to your home or yard that your pet is disoriented. Be mindful of behavorial problems that might stem from such challenges. You may need to take your pet to a vet for calming medication or board it elsewhere until you can finish cleaning up your home and getting your lives back to normal.
Develop a plan that works best for you, but also create some contingencies in the event a road is closed, a shelter is full or if your pet cannot travel far. Stay safe this hurricane season!