According to the National Hurricane Center, September is the height of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin. Do you have a plan in place to care for your pet in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane? What if your home were to be destroyed in a fire or flood?
We may not have control over when a natural disaster strikes but we can plan ahead for these types of emergencies. Having an emergency plan in place can ensure that you can successfully save all of your family members, including your pets. Establish your plan now, before the disaster occurs.
Have an Emergency Kit Prepared and Ready
An emergency kit for your pet should contain:
- enough food and water for your pet to last at least several days
- a leash and collar or harness and/or a pet carrier
- food dish and water bowl
- your pet’s current medical records
- any necessary medications, enough to last at least 1-2 weeks
- a recent photo of your pet (to be used for identification in case your pet becomes lost)
- a basic first aid kit
Plan for Housing
In the event of a mandatory evacuation, be sure you have a place to take your dog or cat. Check with local veterinary hospitals and kennel facilities for availability of boarding facilities. Contact friends or family members and ask to make arrangements to house your pet for a few days in the case of an emergency.
Be prepared to transport your pet to the prearranged housing facility. Do not rely on emergency personnel to take your dog or cat. They may have their hands full with human victims.
Keep in mind that if the disaster is widespread, veterinary and kennel facilities near you may be affected also and may not be able to care for your dog or cat.
Do not count on being able to house your pet with your human family members if you need to take refuge in a shelter. Many of these shelters do not allow pets.
In some cases, make-shift pet shelters may be provided to provide housing for displaced animals. If you need to take advantage of one of these shelters, be prepared to provide temporary housing for your pet such as a pet carrier or crate. Be prepared to show proper identification to enter the facility and plan on visiting regularly to care for your pet.
Never Evacuate Your Home Without Your Pet
Even if you believe you will only be away from your home for a short period of time, never leave your pet behind. Always take your dog or cat with you if you need to evacuate. Emergencies can be unpredictable and if you are kept away from your home longer than expected, you will likely not be given the opportunity to return for your pet.
Make Sure All Family Members Are Aware of Your Disaster Plan
All family members should know your emergency plan, what needs to be done in case of disaster, and where to go during and/or after the emergency. A pre-arranged meeting place should be established in case some family members are separated.