Protect your furry friends this hurricane season
Hurricane season is here and it is time to protect those we care about. That includes your furry family members. Sadly, hurricane season is a very vulnerable time for pets. During a hurricane, many pets are left behind, forgotten, or not taken care of well. When preparing a family disaster plan, don’t forget your pet!
There are many steps you can take to help prepare your pet for a disaster before it hits. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) offers these steps to help you protect your pets during hurricane season:
- Make sure your pets have all their needed shots. A lot of pet shelters require proof of vaccinations.
- Snap a current picture of your pet. This way if you were to be separated, you have an up-to-date picture of them.
- Make sure they have a collar that fits and a good leash.
- Have a pet carrier for each one of your pets. The carrier should be big enough for your pet to stand and turn around. Hurricanes are a stressful time, especially for our four-legged friends. A small and uncomfortable carrier can make an already scary time even worse.
When planning your evacuation plan, don’t forget your pet! Search for pet-friendly motels , animal shelters or safe places for your pet in case of a disaster. If you plan to shelter your pet in case of a disaster, include that in your evacuation plan. Some good safe places include pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, and friends’ or relatives’ homes. Pet shelters are filled on a first come, first served basis. Call your shelter ahead of time to make sure they have space for your pet.
Also, don’t forget that animals brought to a pet shelter should have:
- An identification collar
- A rabies tag
- Identification on all belongings (food bowls, toys, etc.)
- Carrier or cage
- Enough food and water
- All needed medications
- Specific care instructions
- Newspapers or trash bags for clean-up
It is very important to bring your pets indoors before the storm begins. Do not leave a pet outside during a storm. During the disaster, help your pet remain calm. Disasters can make animals more defensive or aggressive. Monitor you pet’s behavior and try your best to make them feel safe.
If you lose your pet during a storm, contact your local animal control office. They will help you find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along an updated picture of your pet if possible.
Being an animal owner is a great personal responsibility. During this vulnerable time, your pets are depending on you to prepare and protect them the best you can. Careful preparation and planning ahead of time is a great way to show our furry friends how much we care.
For additional information about how to prepare for hurricane season can be found at www.GetAGamePlan.org.