The Atlantic hurricane season generally runs from June through November but sometimes it can kick off as early as May. With that said, are you ready for the first storm? What about your family’s pets? Have you made provisions for them as well? If not, you should. Here is some of what you need to do in order to prepare:
Purchase Crates or Travel Carriers
Whether you choose to shelter in place or evacuate, having a cat or dog crate on hand is a must. Not only are crates helpful in keeping animals safe during transport, some animals may also find them soothing. I once had a dog that was petrified of thunderstorms. He looked at his crate as a safe house and would run inside it every time he heard a clap of thunder. During hurricane season it was his favorite spot to go. Your pets may, or may not, feel the same way.
Purchase Pet Care Supplies
It is a good idea to pack a hurricane evacuation bag for your pet just like you would any other member of your family. Nowadays they even make backpacks for dogs and cats, so you may want to consider investing in one of those along with collapsible food and water dishes. I’d also suggest packing a retractable leash with a built-in flashlight. You may also opt to invest in a doggy life jacket, a pet GPS system and a pet locator beacon as well. The life jacket will help your pet during flash floods. The GPS and locator beacon will help you locate your pets if they get separated from you during the storm.
Purchase Pet Food Supplies
Based on hurricane seasons of the past, I’d suggest that you pack several days worth of food, water and medication for your pet. Thankfully, our pets are not on any medication at this time so we only have to worry about packing food and potable water for them this year. I’d suggest that you consider purchasing either canned pet food and a spare can opener or dry pet food that is packaged in a waterproof container.
Gather Records and Identification Tags
You’ll want to make copies of your pets’ medical records before the start of the hurricane season and pack them in your evacuation bag. I would also suggest placing them inside a resealable plastic bag to keep the papers from getting wet. It is also a good idea to update your pets’ identification tags as well as take current photos of them just in case they get lost.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Not all emergency shelters are equipped to take pets, so you’ll want to find out in advance which ones are pet friendly. This way you can plan accordingly. I have found that one way to determine which facilities are pet friendly is to contact your county’s emergency management team. In most cases, they will be able to provide you with the answers or at the very least refer you to someone that will have the answers. You may also be able to find out some information for your area online.
Killeen Gonzalez lives in the south with her family. They have several pets and must deal with hurricane season preparation each year.
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