It's Hurricane season. Is your pet ready?
Hurricane season is upon us again and besides having your own disaster kit and supplies in place, remember to have your pet’s emergency kit ready to leave when you do. Your furry friends need you more than ever during a storm so don’t leave them behind. Here are some tips on what to pack for your beloved pets.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape. Make sure you have a well-secured collar on the pet with tags. An extra leash, harness and collar are wise. Include a muzzle, if necessary.
• Secure carrier or collapsible cage for each pet with bedding. Make sure your pet has room to stand comfortably and turn around & house a litter box if appropriate. Have your pet comfortable with the cage/carrier beforehand in case they have to live in it for several days.
• Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener if your pet eats canned food. Have at least a 2 week supply stored in a watertight container with a label and your name.
• Medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container. Keep extra medication during hurricane season or have a copy of the prescription. Make sure you have a copy of their current vaccinations as public shelters & boarding facilities will not admit animals without current vaccines.
• A first aid kit.
• Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. Since many pets look alike, this will help to eliminate mistaken identity and confusion.
• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
• Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
• Newspaper, paper towels, cleaning disinfectant and plastic trash bags for waste. Cat litter, liners & a pan for cats.
• Out of area contact name and phone number.
• Make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current and that all dogs and cats are wearing collars with securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Many pet shelters require proof of current vaccinations to reduce the spread of disease.
• Consider having your pet micro-chipped by your veterinarian.
• Label all supplies with your name and phone.
Know a Safe Place to Take Your Pets
If you have to evacuate your home during a disaster, the best way to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. If it’s not safe for you to stay behind then it’s not safe to leave pets behind either. Know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if you know you may need to evacuate. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in an emergency. Suncoast Humane Society and other humane societies and animal control shelters are not an option for boarding your pet during a disaster. They will already be inundated with homeless animals from the community. Charlotte County currently has no pet-friendly emergency shelters and residents must go to pet-friendly shelters in Sarasota County. The six pet-friendly shelters are Heron Creek Middle School, North Port High School and Woodland Middle School in North Port, Pine View School in Osprey, Brookside Middle School and Riverview High School in Sarasota. Note: if you go to a shelter, you must provide proof of current license and vaccination, pet must be in an appropriate crate, you provide all items required for your pet, you are responsible for the care of your pet while in the shelter, and cohabitation of owner and pet is not permitted.
Following the storm, you may be in a different place. Animals may be very disoriented and need time to adjust. Don’t allow pets to run free, as they may become lost. Flooding, downed fences and power lines will pose serious dangers to you and your pet. It is important to keep your pet as calm and secure as possible during this time. There may be behavioral problems caused by stress. Check your home and yard for wild animals that may have found refuge there. You and your beloved pets will survive with proper preparations and precautions!