We all love our pets, but it’s easy to forget that they have special needs and considerations when it comes time to prepare for a storm – especially if you evacuate. Here are some things to think about for your furry and feathered friends this hurricane season.
Shelter: It’s a common myth that once an evacuation order goes out, hotels must take pets. That’s far from the case, so make sure to have a list of pet-friendly shelters and hotels on hand. Even better, make plans now for your pets to stay with a non-evacuating friend or family member.
Food and Water: It’s smart to have a two-week supply of water and food for your pet, whether you evacuate or not. Seal the food to ensure it stays fresh. Don’t forget a can opener if you need one!
Medical: Shelters may require vaccination records, so be sure to keep your pet up-to-date. Carry a copy of their medical records, identification information, tags and photos. It’s also a good idea to have at least a month’s supply of preventative medicine for fleas and ticks, as well as any other medicine your pet takes, and keep your vet’s number handy.
Microchips: Get your pet microchipped now, if they’re not already. Storms are stressful for animals, and if they run away, microchips allow for swift identification and tracking.
Carrying: Many shelters require your pet to stay in a carrier or cage, and these are also important for traveling with your pet. Buy one now and make sure your pet is comfortable with the size and space.
Waste: Be ready to deal with it! Whether you evacuate or shelter in place, be sure to have enough litter supplies for cats and doggie bags for dogs.
Other Necessities and Comfort: If you’re evacuating, be sure to bring leashes and collars, with IDs attached, as well as treats, toys, blankets and other items that make them feel safe and comfortable. It’s not a bad idea to have a life jacket on hand as well, if applicable.
More information on keeping your pets safe in a storm, including pet shelter options, at pinellascounty.org/emergency/petpreparedness.htm or humanesociety.org/resources/make-disaster-plan-your-pets.