Hurricane season is upon us. That means it’s time to start assembling supplies for safety kits and thinking about potential evacuation plans.
Unfortunately, we’ve all seen the hurricane aftermath photos of pets left behind and stray animals left to fend for themselves. To prevent this from happening to your furry family members, we encourage you to think ahead and ensure that pet safety fits into your hurricane evacuation plan. Below are some tips to help you get started.
Always Bring Your Pet
The first rule of pet safety during hurricane evacuation is to always take your pet. It should go without saying that any situation that isn’t safe for you cannot be safe for an animal.
Stay Informed and Receive Emergency Updates
As more and more people cut the cable cord, it’s important to set up emergency alerts and to know where to find critical evacuation information in real time. Two great resources you can use to stay in the loop are the National Hurricane Center and FloridaDisaster.org.
It’s also a great idea to invest in a battery-powered NOAA weather radio because WiFi will not always be available during a dangerous storm. And checking your phone may not be an option if a prolonged power outage prevents you from charging up.
Gather Supplies For Your People and Your Pets
As a hurricane approaches, fill up any vehicles and generators with gas, and consider purchasing extra containers. Stock up on batteries for flashlights and your new radio (you’re welcome!). And remember to bring non-perishable food, water and medicine for any people and pets you’ll be traveling with. Use this checklist to start putting together an effective disaster kit. It includes a pet safety checklist too!
Make Sure Your Pet’s Records Are Updated
Make sure you have up-to-date identification tags and collars in the event that unforeseen circumstances separate you from your pet. Include your cell phone number. You might even consider putting the phone number of a friend or relative in case you’re farther from your pet when they’re found. Having your pet microchipped (registered in your name) will also increase the likelihood that they’ll be found, but very few people will be able to scan for a microchip. That’s why including your name and contact information is so important.
Plan for Accommodations and Vet Visits Ahead of Time
Planning to stay with friends or relatives? Confirm in advance that they are OK with furry guests. It’s also a good idea to research pet-friendly hotels in your area in case you have to stop along the way for an unexpected reason. There are plenty of websites that can help you start a list now:
If you have to go to plan B, consider a kennel, a veterinarian’s office (especially if your pet is due for a vet visit) or your local animal shelter, which can sometimes offer foster services. It will be helpful to do this research ahead of time. That way you have a list ready and won’t have to waste time researching in the middle of an emergency.
Finally, research veterinarians in your evacuation area. If you do end up evacuating, you never know how long you will be gone, and you might need to know the closest place for an emergency or routine vet visit.
Show Your Support Before Disaster Strikes: Support Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Organizations
It’s important to consider our furry family members when making evacuation plans. It’s also important to consider the livelihood of the countless unwanted cats and dogs who don’t have owners to help them evacuate when a disaster is coming. If there weren’t so many homeless animals in the first place, we could reduce the number of stray animals threatened by hurricanes and other natural disasters.
If you’re as passionate about reducing pet overpopulation as we are, you can purchase one of our Florida Pet Plates to directly fund the incredible Florida organizations that offer free or low-cost spay and neuter services in their communities. Please visit the rest of our website to learn more about what we do at Florida Animal Friend and consider donating today!