Keeping Your Pets Safe Hurricane Preparedness

Before the Storm
If a local shelter will not accept your pets, so you must make your own arrangements to keep your pet safe during a storm.

If you are required to evacuate and are going to spend time in a shelter, it is important that you make plans for your pet well in advance. Some hotels will accept pets during an evacuation.

If you must evacuate to a shelter and leave pets behind, please prepare your family for the fact that their pets may not survive or may be lost. There is no way to know how long it will be before you are permitted back to your home after a hurricane.

Frightened animals quickly slip out of open doors, broken windows, or other damaged areas of your home.

Emergency Management recommends that you make arrangements to evacuate yourself and your pet to a safe location. Friends and relatives in a safe location are your best choice, however, if they are unable to house both you and your pets, arrange shelter for your pets at a veterinarian or kennel near your evacuation location. It is important to do this so that you will be able to have as much contact with them as possible.

If You Must Leave Your Pets at Home

Your pets will be most comfortable and secure in a safe area of your home until the hurricane has passed. If they are not secured during the storm, and your house is damaged, your pets may escape and become disoriented, since normal landmarks and scent trails could be obliterated. If your pets become lost, proper identification will insure their return to you.Place your pet food and medications in water tight containers in a cool, dry, dark place. Store adequate water for your pets. Your water source may become contaminated. (To purify water, add 2 drops of household bleach per quart of water, mix seal tightly, let stand for 30 minutes before drinking).If you plan to bring plants into your home before a hurricane, be careful not to allow pet’s access to them since many ornamental plants are poisonous.

If You Evacuate With Your Pet

All animals should have secure carriers (or collapsing cages for large dogs) as well as collars, leashes and rabies tags. Carriers should be large enough for the animals to stand comfortably and turn around. Train your pets to become familiar with their carriers ahead of time. Then the carrier will be a secure and comforting refuge if the animal is required to live in it for a few days — even weeks — after the hurricane.

Before hurricane season begins on June 1 of each year, make sure all your pets have current immunization, allergy records and current photographs. Take these records with you if you must evacuate.

Your pet survival kit should include:

•  Ample food (at least two weeks supply) and a manual can opener

•   Water/food bowls

•   Medications

•  Specific care instructions

•  Newspapers and plastic trash bags for handling waste

•  Brushes, combs and other hygiene items

•  Toys and other comfort items

•   Muzzles if necessary

All belongings should be marked with an identification label or tag. If you are not evacuating your pet to a commercial facility, you should also include first aid supplies for your pets in the survival kit.

Take first aid and CPR courses and keep the manuals handy. The same basic principles apply to animals. Ask your vet for an emergency care pamphlet for animals.

If you plan to shelter your pets at a kennel or clinic, call before evacuating to determine if space is available. Allow sufficient time to travel from the kennel to your evacuation location after making certain that your animals are secure.

Throughout the evacuation and the storm, your pet will need reassurance from you. Remain calm, keep as close to their normal routine as possible, and speak to them regularly in a calm, reassuring voice.

After the Storm

Walk your pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home. Be careful of downed power lines and other debris. Do not allow pets to consume food or water which may have become contaminated. Be extremely careful using candles or oil lamps around pets. Never leave them unattended.

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