It is now officially hurricane season here in Florida! When Hurricane Michael devastated the Panhandle last season, countless pets were separated from their families. It is important to have a plan in place for you and your pets before a disaster strikes, so you are not scrambling and panicked at the last minute.
Families with pets should put together a pet emergency kit now to have ready in case another big storm hits our region. Here is a list of the information and supplies you should have ready for your pet in case of a natural disaster emergency:
- Identify shelters for your pets
Emergency shelters for people often do not allow pets. Locate boarding facilities and/or animal hospitals along your evacuation route or near your animal shelter. Look for pet friendly hotels along your evacuation route and book as early as possible!
- Create a buddy system with your neighbors
It is always a relief to have neighbors to check on your pets if you are not home when an emergency strikes.
- Microchip your pet
Your veterinarian can implant a microchip in your pet with your contact information incase you and your pet are separated. However, you must keep your contact information current if you move or change phone numbers. If you need to update this information or check to see if your contact information is accurate, you can go to this link https://petchip.info/. You will need your pet’s microchip number. If you don’t have this number available, your veterinarian office can scan your pet for you! This number should be kept with your pet’s records and in your pet’s emergency kit.
- Crate/Carrier and Leash
For emergency situations especially, it is nice to have your pet acclimated to a crate or carrier. This and/or some type of restraint is important for travel and will be necessary if you and your pet need to stay in an evacuation shelter.
- Medical records with up to date vaccination history
Most shelters and boarding facilities will not accept unvaccinated pets. Please call your veterinarian to ensure your pet is up to date on vaccines and schedule an appointment if vaccines are needed. Keep records in sealed ziplock bags to stay dry and bring them with you!
- Extra food and water
Make sure food is in sealed containers and out of reach. Some food loving pets might want to eat all their extra rations ahead of the storm. Collapsible pet bowls are great for feeding and watering pets and minimizing space.
- Pet medications
Kept in sealed containers and out of the reach of pets and children. It is best if medications are kept with their original labels including instructions for use. As soon as you see a storm coming, you should contact your veterinarian to order a two week supply of medications needed for your pets.
It is so important to have a plan ready for the next big storm. Remember – never leave your pet behind in an emergency! The safest place for your pet to be during a natural disaster or evacuation situation is with you. You can find more information to help you prepare at https://www.ready.gov/.