Caring for Animals During a Hurricane

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Pets take extra care and consideration during a hurricane.

If you’ve taken on the responsibility of owning a pet, you also need to plan to care for your pet in an emergency. Here’s how to keep your pet safe during a hurricane:

Expect your pet to act strangely. Animals can feel the pressure changes of the approaching storm, and may become confused or scared as the storm approaches. Keep them in a carrier or on a leash at all times, and be as soothing as you can.

Make sure that you pet is up-to-date on shots, because some shelters require proof before accepting pets.

Know where to take your pet if you must evacuate:

  • Don’t leave your pet at home if you are evacuating. Pets depend on you for care like children. They’re part of your family, so don’t let them down.
  • Plan transportation that will suit your pet, and have leashes, carriers, etc., ready for the trip.
  • If you will be going to a shelter or hotel, call ahead to see if they accept pets, and be sure to have a few backup locations where your pet can go in case an option is full. Some veterinarians or boarding locations will also accept pets during an emergency.

Regardless of where you leave them, microchipping your pets is the best safety measure to take in case they get lost during the hurricane.

Only if you absolutely must should you leave your pet at home during a hurricane. Your pet depends on you, and leaving them at home puts them at great risk. Leave them loose in a safe room, with plenty of food and water, and somewhere high to climb in case of flooding. Planning ahead can help you be sure your pet has a place to go and stays safe.

Keep items for your pet ready to go in case of an emergency or an evacuation. Make sure to pack:

  • Enough food and water for a week. Moist food will help them need less water to drink. For dogs, tuna is easy to transport and packs a lot of their needed protein
  • Food and water bowls
  • Identification tag
  • Comfortable leash or harness
  • Pet carrier
  • Litter box and litter for cats
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Some favorite toys
  • Photo of your pet, in case you are separated
  • Any medications (bring a 2-week supply)
  • Trash or doggie bags for cleanup
  • Copy of your pet’s medical records
  • Contact information for your vet, animal control and local shelters

When a hurricane is approaching:

  • Bring your pet inside and secure them immediately when a watch or warning is issued. They may sense the storm approaching, and run away or hide from you.
  • Keep pets separated, as the anxiety may cause tension between them. If you have small children, try to keep the pet separated from them as well.
  • Make sure each pet has identification and contact information attached in case you are separated

.After the hurricane:

  • Keep pets on a leash when they go outside. The hurricane has probably changed their normal sights and smells, and there may be additional hazards, like downed power lines.
  • Even after the storm has passed, your pet may be nervous, aggressive or frightened. Be sure they are calm and feel secure after the storm.

Have any other tips? Share them below.