Hurricane Emergency Planning Checklist for Pet Owners

Recent hurricane disasters have us all mindful of the quick decisions that need to be made to keep our family and pets safe during a hurricane, and planning can mean the difference between life and death. If it came down to it, do you know what you would do with your pets if a hurricane was suddenly heading your way? Do you have the supplies to keep them fed and safe if you needed to evacuate your home? Even if you are hunkered down at home during a storm, you will need to make sure you have adequate supplies. A list of items and reminders is below.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE HURRICANE SEASON:

Make a plan and share it with your family.

It’s easy for panic to set in if an emergency evacuation is ordered. Having a written or verbal plan of action can help take your stress away and keep everyone safe. Here are some things to consider if disaster strikes:

Get your dog on a leash and/or cat in a secure carrier. This will allow you to load them up in a car quickly, or just keep them with you if they get scared and try to hide.

Prepare an emergency kit prepared just for your pet that includes;

  • clean water – enough for at least 3 days
  • non-perishable food (canned food) and bowls
  • can opener (if needed)
  • kennel for your dog
  • litter and litter box
  • potty pads
  • Have medications handy to grab
  • blankets/towels
  • photograph of your pet and proof of ownership
  • vaccination records
  • basic first aid kit – bandages, gauze, disinfectant to clean a wound, etc.
  • extra leash
  • trash bags
  • toys
  • Keep these items in an accessible location for use at home, or keep them packed up for easy loading during an evacuation.

    Know your evacuation route.

    If you are evacuating it’s important to know that where you are headed accepts pets.

    Know which hotels/motels or shelters along your evacuation route accept pets. Many emergency shelters do not accept pets, so have an idea which shelters will accept pets. Your county website should have this information.

    If you have family outside of the storm area, yet still accessible by car, ask if they would be willing to keep your pets safe until a storm passes.

    Give your pets proper identification.

    It’s important that pets have I.D. on them at all times, and normally this comes in the form of a collar with a tag that includes name and phone number. Another great option that stays with your pet forever and can’t be lost is a microchip. When your lost pet is taken to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, they will scan your pet for a microchip and read its unique code. This code is stored with your pet’s profile and linked to your contact information.

    Place a pet rescue window decal near your front door. The ASPCA offers free pet safety packs which “alerts rescue personnel that pets are inside your home.” You can order one for free on the ASPCA website.

    Fill up the gas tank in your vehicle.

    Board up your windows.

    WHAT TO DO DURING OR AS A HURRICANE APPROACHES

    Stay calm.

    • Make sure your pet is microchipped.

    • Gather your pets If your pets are outside. Find them as soon as possible so they don’t become frightened from the storm. Keep them with you at all times. Dogs should be on a leash and cats should be in a crate or on a leash.

    Look or listen for evacuation orders.

  • If you are ordered to evacuate, call the shelter when you are on your way to alert them you will be coming with your pets.
  • Execute the plan you created with your family.

    • Grab your emergency kit and any other last necessities your pet will need.

    Stay away from flood prone areas.