Hurricane Preparedness Kit for Pet Owners

FVMA | Florida Veterinary Medical Association | Published: 2023

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Hurricane season has begun in Florida, and preparing for these storms is a song and dance many Floridians have become familiar with each year. With many hurricanes over recent years having grown in severity, it is as essential as ever to remain aware and prepared for—though not afraid of—what lies ahead.

When lives are altered during these storms, clients’ animals cannot fend for themselves. The following tools will help pet owners and veterinary practices ensure these animals have someone to fend for them in a safe, effective manner.

KEEP YOUR PET IN DISASTER-READY CONDITION

  • Ensure all your pets’ collars and tags have up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchipping a pet is one of the best ways to find them again, should they become lost.
  • Have proper equipment for pets to ride in the car with you (this is especially important for cats or exotics, who may not leave your house often).
  • Pet carriers are needed at many shelters and can serve as a safe space for a nervous pet. They are highly recommended when transporting your pet. The pet carrier should be the correct size (the pet should be able to stand, turn around, and lay down comfortably). Be sure to label the carrier with your pet’s name, breed, sex, date of birth, your current address and contact numbers, and any important medical information.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag, and a leash.
  • Carry at least one slip leash. A simple slip-type webbing or nylon leash will ensure you have a way to restrain a dog (or even a cat) in the event they slip out of their collar or harness.

YOUR PET’S DISASTER KIT IS AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR FAMILY’S

  • At least three days to two weeks’ worth of food and water specifically for your pet are stored in sealed containers.
  • If your pet’s regular diet includes canned food, remember to have a manual can opener with you.
  • Don’t forget bowls to serve your pet’s meals
  • At least two weeks’ worth of any medication they require in a sealed, airtight container.
  • Important documents such as any registration information, adoption papers, and vaccination documents. Photocopied records of your rabies certificate, vaccinations, and medical summaries must be stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit particularly for your pet. May include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol, and saline solution. A pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
  • Hygiene and grooming supplies. Any sanitation items and products you need to clean and clean up after your pet. Consider pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach.
  • A picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you in the event you become separated.
  • Add species, breed, age, sex, color, and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items, such as treats, toys, and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet. Toys will also help keep your pet occupied.

ASK, DON’T ASSUME

Be sure to secure accommodations for your pet before the storm. Every time a hurricane approaches, false information circulates on social media. A common myth is that there are laws requiring all hotels to allow pets in their rooms during an evacuation notice. This statement is not true and can put you in a tough spot if all other pet-friendly hotels in your area are already booked. Ask ahead of time if the location you plan to evacuate to is comfortable with every pet you will be bringing when you arrive there. There are also plenty of websites where you can verify if a hotel or shelter will be pet–friendly.

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