We’ve all seen the images of abandoned pets whose owners fled for safety in the face of dangerous storms, usually hurricanes. We shouldn’t pass judgment on those owners, because we’re not privy to their circumstances. However, with proper preparation, such situations need not occur.
So, here’s everything you need to know in order to prepare for a big storm or other type of natural disaster.
- Weather reports
Pay close attention to weather forecasts. Meteorologists are able to track the strength, speed and trajectory of a hurricane; they’re very accurate at forecasting where and when a hurricane will make landfall.
- I.D. and more
Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag. Consider purchasing an LED collar for extra safety. Other items to have at the ready:
- A two-week supply of medications.
- Your pet’s medical records—and yours!
- A few days’ supply of food and water (include a can opener if necessary).
- Harnesses and leashes.
- Prepare lost-pet flyers in case you get separated. Make sure the flyer includes a photo of your pet and contact information.
Have a crate at the ready. If you have a small pet, make sure the crate has handles or straps for easier transport.
- Evacuation centers
Locate the closest evacuation centers, as well as nearby animal shelters, veterinarian offices, and friends and relatives who can help.
- Emotional care
Storms are stressful for many pets. The evacuation process adds to their anxiety. To help calm their nerves, bring along familiar items, like a favorite blanket and toys.
It’s also very important that you remain calm. Dogs can sense your emotions.
RIDING OUT THE STORM
If for you’re unable to evacuate and have to ride out the storm, you should do the following:
Keep your pet on a leash in case circumstances warrant an immediate evacuation. Even if you don’t have to evacuate, keep the leash on because it’s easier to track down a terrified pet that’s leashed.
NOTE: It’s better to be safe than sorry; so make sure you have all of the items mentioned above ready for a mandatory evacuation.
- Dogs and Cats
If you have dogs and cats, separate them. Even though they may normally get along, a big storm can make some pets act irrationally.
LEAVING YOUR PETS AT HOME
If you have no alternative but to leave your pets at home, take the following precautions:
- Safe area
Confine your pet to a safe area inside the house. Do not leave your dog chained outside!
- Food and Water
Make sure the safe area has easily assessible supplies of food and water. If your pet is confined to a bathroom, leave the toilet seat open.
Place a sign in a visible area of your house that tells how many pets you have, the type of pets, and where they’re located in the house. Include your contact information and the name and number of your vet.
There’s no need to wait until hurricane season to start preparing for an emergency. Many of the precautions listed can be implemented now, like preparing an identification kit, locating nearby shelters, creating lost-animal flyers, and determining the part of your home to use as a safe area.
P.S. Have you and your pet ever experienced a hurricane? What precautions did you take? How did your pet react?