Natural Disaster Planning for Pets

The hurricane season officially begins June 1st in Florida. When you check supplies, prepare for the worst, and when making preliminary evacuation plans, don’t forget your pets. Disaster planning is a necessary precaution when living in Florida, and if a hurricane is heading towards you, and you are not safe in your house, then your pet isn’t either. Here are some tips to get you prepared before disaster hits.

First, make a commitment to take pets when you evacuate. Leaving an animal tied up outside to a tree or a fence is not an option. Leaving a pet indoors is risky because it could be trapped in a house if there is flooding.

Get your pet’s supplies together and ready for evacuation. This can include pet foods, kitty litter and box, water, medicines, extra bowls, plastic bags, newspaper, paper towels and cleaning supplies for accidents.

Get a portable pet carrier (or metal cage) now. Many hotels and motels will accept your pet only if you have a carrier or cage. Put identification on your carrier including contact information, your pet’s name, and a photo of your pet.

Make sure pet vaccinations are current and make copies of the records to take with you when evacuating. Most boarding facilities require proof of vaccination. Also, if your pet does bite someone, you will need proof of rabies vaccinations.

Put a properly fitted collar on your pet with up-to-date rabies and identification tags. Compile a list of possible places to go if there is an evacuation. Do not plan to leave your pet anywhere within the hurricane strike zone, even if a boarding facility is accepting animals. It is not necessarily safer than anywhere else in the city.

When a hurricane strike is likely, start calling possible evacuation places. Make any needed hotel or boarding facility reservations outside the hurricane strike zone. Get everything ready to go and make your final plans.

If evacuation is strongly recommended, load up everything, including pet supplies and your pets, and go. If traveling by car, make sure your pets have good ventilation and water. Periodically stop to take bathroom breaks.

Websites, such as www.petswelcome.com, are resources for pet-friendly hotels and motels. Also, some lodging places that normally don’t allow pets may relax their rules during emergency evacuations.

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