Hurricane Prep: Evacuating With Pets
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hurricanes have caused the most death and destruction out of all recorded weather disasters in the United States. That equates to over $50 billion in damage per year and immeasurable amounts of harm to people, property and pets. But there are some simple things you can do to ensure that you and your four-legged friends are ready for whatever Mother Nature hurls your way.
People who live in low-lying, flood-prone regions must evacuate when a potentially devastating hurricane is approaching. A good evacuation plan considers your family and your pets. Here’s what to do to ensure that you’re ready for an evacuation scenario if you have furry, scaled or feathered family members.
- Have a Go-Bag Ready — In addition to packing your own hurricane go bag — that is, a pre-packed emergency duffle bag containing 72 hours’ worth of survival supplies — you must have one for each pet as well. Also make sure your pets are microchipped so they can be identified if they are lost. Here’s what to include in your pet’s emergency kit:
- 72 hours worth of pet food and water stored in a watertight case
- A pet carrier, crate or cage for each pet (if applicable)
- Pet food bowls
- A leash and harness
- All medications and supplements
- Identification tag and license
- Medical records and vaccinations
- Litter box and litter (if applicable)
- Bleach and baby wipes
- A basic first-aid kit
- A headlamp or LED flashlight
- Know Where You’re Going — When you’re evacuating with pets, you need to have a pet-friendly hotel or shelter lined up well before hurricane season begins. Choose an inland region that is out of hurricane- and flood-prone areas. Be sure you choose an evacuation location that’s hospitable to pets, whether that be the home of an out-of-town friend or family member, a hotel or a pet-friendly shelter. Check websites such as BringFido.com or use the pet-friendly search filter on your preferred travel booking site. If you intend to head to a designated hurricane shelter, check with the shelter to learn about their pet policy. It is generally best to keep your pet with you to prevent separation anxiety or trauma. Still, in a pinch, you may consider boarding facilities or kennels nearby.
- Prepare for a Road Trip — Road-tripping with pets in a normal situation can be stressful for both of you. If your evacuation plan involves getting far out of town, prepare for long hours on the road. For example, if you have a dog who tends to get sick in the car, hold off on meals until you arrive at your evacuation location or consider anti-anxiety medication.
- Rely On Others — Besides packing supplies and pre-selecting a pet-friendly evacuation location, consider reaching out to close friends, family and neighbors for help with a backup emergency plan. If you have kids, put your oldest in charge of the pets. If you can’t take care of your pets, be sure you have someone to pick them up and take them along as part of their evacuation plan.
- Write or Print Out Pet Care Instructions — What if you’re forced to separate from your pets? Maybe you are unable to find a pet-friendly hotel or you suffer an injury? In any event, you will want to have pre-printed pet care instructions in your emergency preparedness kit. Include instructions regarding food, allergies and medication. Be sure to add important information about your pet’s veterinarian, medical history and specific medical conditions.
Proper Preparation Saves Pets
As with any disaster, preparation goes a long way when it comes to hurricanes. The last thing you want is for something to happen to you or your pet. Preparing with a well-considered emergency plan can help ensure that you and your furry family members safely make it out of any disaster scenario.