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When Hurricanes Threaten: What To Do with the Family Pet

When Hurricanes Threaten: What To Do with the Family Pet

June is the start of hurricane season. Thousands of pets were separated from their families during last year’s horrific storms. While no one know what the coming hurricane season holds, some simple advance planning can reduce the risk that the family pet with be lost in the storm.

Where to stay?

First, answer the question: "where will my pet go if we must evacuate?" Pets should never be left home alone where they can be injured or disappear. However, where you take them depends upon where you will stay.

Since most emergency shelters and hotels won’t accept pets, it’s important to find an alternative. Research boarding kennels outside your evacuation area. Save the phone and address of any likely candidates. If you learn that you must evacuate, call the kennel before you leave home.

Pet emergency kit

Prepare a pet emergency kit. Be sure it is labeled and stored were it is easily accessible. Include the following:

  • Identification – If you must evacuate, your home contact information won’t be useful. Prepare an extra set of identification tags with contact information for a friend or family member who lives outside of your immediate area.
  • Health information – Pack at least a week’s supply of any pet medications, along with a copy of current vaccination information and vet records of any medical conditions that require special attention.
  • Nutrition – If your pet requires special food, pack a week’s supply and prepare written instructions for feeding.
  • Comfort – A toy or other familiar item may help reduce stress in an unfamiliar place.

If you expect to travel by car with your pet for long distances, also include:

  • Travel gear — A pet carrier or safety harness for the car, plus an extra collar with leash to keep the pet safely contained at all times.
  • Feeding supplies – In addition to food, your pet will need water, bowls, and, depending upon the type of food, possibly a can opener and plastic spoons.
  • Clean-up supplies – Paper towels, plastic bags and household cleaner/deodorizer. Cat litter and a litter box for feline companions.

Other preparations

  • Update inoculations. If your pet is due for vaccinations during hurricane season, consider having them update early – just in case.
  • Micro-chip. If your pet hasn’t been micro-chipped, consider taking that step now. It’s a simply procedure that can dramatically improve the chances you and your pet will be reunited.

For information on Best Friends Pet Care centers, visit the Our Locations section of our website.