In the United States, June 1 is flagged as the official start of hurricane season. If you live on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, you likely already know this, but knowing and preparing for the season are two very different things.
Unfortunately, many people wait for the first storm to hit before they begin to prepare their things, as well as their pets. Avoid scrambling at the last minute when supplies in your local stores could be low, or transportation might be difficult. By following these tips, you’ll be adequately prepared and ease some of your fears ahead of the storm.
1. Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit and store it in a safe place that can be easily accessed and carried with you. Your dog’s kit should include at a minimum:
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
- First Aid Kit
- Leash/harness or carrier to transport your dog safely
- Current photo of your dog in case he gets lost
- Non-perishable food and drinkable water (enough for 5-7 days)
- Information on feeding schedule, medical conditions, behavioral problems in case you have to foster or board your dog
- Contact information for veterinarian
- Toys or bed (if easily transportable)
2. Tag and microchip your dog, so he can be easily found if lost in an emergency situation. His collar with tag should include his name as well as your name, home address and contact information. With microchip placement, any local veterinarian or shelter should be able to scan your dog’s information, which will make him easier to recover.
3. Locate a Safe Place to Take Your Dog if you have to leave your home. For example, health and safety regulations do not permit Red Cross shelters to allow pets (with the exception of service dogs). Whether it’s a pet-friendly hotel, a relative or friend who is able to take your dog in, or a local boarding facility or animal rescue, plan to arrange a safe shelter option so you know where to bring your dog in a disaster situation.
4. Consider using a rescue sticker in order to alert emergency workers that there is a dog inside your home that needs attention. The sticker should be placed in a window or area that’s highly visible to rescue workers and that it includes the number and type of pets in your household, as well as your vet’s contact information. If you must evacuate your home with your dog, be sure to either remove the sticker or write EVACUATED on it before you leave.
5. Stick to your plan once you have one. Chaos erupts when panic ensues. And panic typically arises out of confusion. To avoid confusion, once there is a plan in place, follow it and stay focused on your course of action.