Hurricane season is here and we must start preparations for our pets as well as for ourselves. Hurricane Maria left devastation on her path, thousands of animals were killed and many were lost and injured, we do not want to see history repeat itself. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a very busy 2018 storm season with at least a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes, including 1 to 4 major hurricanes! When Naturals disasters strike, many human and pet deaths could be prevented if the victims follow an emergency plan, so let us review what you’ll need to care for your pet if a storm hits us.
Start by recognizing if your house is hurricane proof ( sturdy, inland and not in a flood zone), if it is not, then you must check where your closest shelter is and what requirements do they have for you to get in with all your pets. Get the shelter’s numbers on your phone contacts but also on a plain index card and place in a ziplock bag. If there are no shelters that would admit any or all your pets, call your veterinarian and local animal shelter and ask if they do emergency boarding in case that you have to evacuate your home. Look for your pet’s vaccination records and any pertinent information and place it also in the ziplock bag. If your pet is not current on vaccines call your veterinarian and make an appointment for a summer check up.
Prepare a duffle bag with supplies to last at least 5 days. Include the following:
1- Collapsible water and food bowls
2- Three to Five days worth of pet food ( can be less than you currently feed daily)
3-Ziplock bag with your pet’s medical info or at least vaccine records
4-Try adding Composure treats or calming cat/dog collars to decrease stress
6-Emergency kit for pets and Five days worth of all the medications your pet is currently using
7-Large bottled water container
Another thing you must do is make sure that your pet can be returned to you if you get separated. The best way is to inject a rice-sized microchip under your pet’s skin. This can be done during an office visit and its a permanent way to identify your pet and if your pet is picked by Animal Services they will make sure to keep until they reach you, this really can save your pet’s life! However, if you can’t do that, a low tech alternative would be to write your phone number with a sharpie on your pet’s belly, inner ear pinnae and collar.
Heed the authority’s warnings and leave if you are in a danger zone but please do not leave your pets behind! Pets cannot handle surviving a storm if they are trapped in your house. Please, be a conscientious owner and arrange care for your companions ahead of time.