If you live in a disaster prone area, each year you are bombarded with warnings to prepare, and with good reason. Living in South Florida, every July we are told to get ready for hurricane season. Sadly, it’s easy to get complacent when a major storm has not come through in many years. The result can be terrible if you are caught unawares. This is important for you as well as your pet!
First of all, do not leave them at home. If you are not staying, why would you leave your pet? Besides the danger, they will be scared with no one to help and comfort them. What if they become trapped or even manage to get out of the house? The dangers they can be exposed to are simply not worth the risk.
If you are familiar with the principals of disaster preparedness for humans, the same applies for your pets. Are you planning on going to a shelter? If so make sure that the shelter accepts pets, not all do so contact them ahead of time to be sure. One option is a boarding kennel; you can contact your veterinarian for a list. Some animal shelters will temporarily shelter a pet during a disaster.
Are you planning to evacuate the area completely? If you are going to a hotel or motel, make sure they allow pets. Do not leaving you pets in the car! That is dangerous as well as cruel to the pet. Also be sure to check with any friends or relatives if you plan to stay with them. It would be horrible to find out they were allergic to your pet after making the trip.
Just like you have a kit ready to go in case of an evacuation, make sure you have one for your pet. This kit should include three to seven days’ worth of canned food, litter, (and a pan, perhaps disposable), paper towels and clean up supplies. Don’t forget medications and anything else to make your pets evacuation healthy. Of course, feeding dishes and chew toys are a must! Copies of medical records in a water proof container are important too.
Plan for the worst possible case; don’t just assume it will be a day or two. Even if the disaster goes by quickly, streets may be impassable and power may not be restored for some time. No one wants to think about it, but you could not have a home to return to.
Make sure your pets have up to date tags, a tag will have the pets name, urgent medical needs, address and your contact information. A microchip is also an excellent idea.
Keep you and you pets safe! You will never regret the amount of preparation you have done if a disaster strikes. On the other hand, could you bear the heartbreak of losing your pet because you failed to plan ahead? No one wants to suffer that loss.