Pet Disaster Preparedness: Is Your Pet Ready For Hurricane Season?

cavalier king charles and first aid

Keep Your Pet Safe

Your pets depend on you for their safety and well-being, especially in an emergency. With hurricane season upon us (June 1 – November 30), make sure you have a plan in place to keep your furry family members safe.

Emergency Kit and Supplies

Give your pet their best chance in an emergency or evacuation. Keep these items in an accessible place and stored in a sturdy container:

  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses or collars, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • 3-7 days worth of food (be sure to rotate   every two months).
  • At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months). In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time for extra water.
  • For cats, cat litter and box. Consider disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect) in case of evacuation.
  • For dogs, potty pads or an artificial grass potty patch in case it is unsafe to go outside.
  • Copies of current vaccination and medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember to rotate medication).
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • First aid kit: Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up.
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

Be Prepared to Evacuate

In the event of an evacuation, take your pets with you! If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so if you can’t take them with you be sure to plan where they’ll stay ahead of time:

  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain their name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • Microchipping your pet is recommended as a more permanent form of identification. If lost, a vet or shelter can scan your pet and get them home to you.
  • Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency. Call ahead and ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency.
  • Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency. Prepare a list with phone numbers.
  • Most American Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
  • Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers (PFEC) are available for residents ordered to evacuate. A family member must stay with the pet at all times, and the pet must be contained in a carrier.
  • Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current, many shelters and boarding facilities require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.