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|Hurricane Planning for Pets |
Hurricanes come with a short window of planning time. We know we must make preparations now--before the storm-- in order to avoid chaos and confusion later. The following guidelines are designed to help you make these preparations to ensure the welfare of you and your pets this hurricane season.
1. EVACUATE WITH YOUR ANIMALS!
Acquire appropriately sized pet carriers for each animal. If your pet is unaccustomed to traveling in a carrier, do some trial runs, so the experience will not be completely new when you evacuate. Label each carrier with your contact information, and the name of the pet inside.
2. PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF YOUR PETS DURING AND AFTER THE EVACUATION.
Create a Pet Evacuation Kit so that everything they need is packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR PET IS UP TO DATE ON ALL VACCINATIONS.
Ideally, you will be able to keep your animals with you throughout the evacuation process; but in the event that they must be boarded at a shelter, vet, or other boarding facility, your animal must be current on all vaccinations to be admitted. You will be required to show proof of these vaccinations. Ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s vaccination record, including a current rabies license and tag. Store your records in a waterproof folder or zip lock bag and keep them with your hurricane evacuation kit.
4. HAVE YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED.
We highly recommend this animal identification and tracking system. A tiny microchip is injected under the animal’s skin, where it remains for the duration of your pet’s life. The chip poses no threat to your pet’s health, and the injection is quick and relatively painless, much like the vaccination process. Your pet’s personal identification number is read by a scanning device routinely used by most humane societies, shelters, animal control, and veterinarians. You will then be contacted as to the location of your pet. (At the very least, have identification tags with your pets name, your address and phone number, securely affixed to your pet’s collar). During Hurricane Katrina, animals were shipped to all 50 states to escape the storm. To be re-united with your pet, you must have current identification on your pet.
5. CREATE AN IDENTIFICATION FILE FOR EACH PET.
This is an insurance policy against the irrevocable loss of your pet in the event of a disaster. The file should include current photographs of your pet (you will have to show a photograph to have your animal released to you from a shelter, or other holding facility; including yourself in the photos will facilitate this process), microchip identification number, adoption papers, a written description of your pet (feline, female, 7 years old, grey tabby, 10 lbs, etc), a description of your pet’s distinctive markings (white paws, black spot on back, etc.), diet, medications, vaccination history, behavioral issues and personality. Place the file in a water-proof folder or zip lock bag, and put it with your Pet Evacuation Kit.
6. SECURE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR YOUR PET BEFORE THE STORM.
Establish where your pet will be housed in the event of an evacuation. Ideally, you will be traveling to friends or family who are willing and able to house your pets. For many of us, other arrangements must be made. Locate pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and shelters in the area to which you will be evacuating. Secure reservations for your animals if possible, and get directions to the hotel or boarding facility. For a list of websites featuring pet-friendly accommodations, click here.
PET EVACUATION KIT PROVISIONS
PET FIRST AID KIT, BASIC PROVISIONS
Ideally, you should take your pets with you to a prearranged location out of the danger zone, such as a pet friendly hotel or the home of a family member.
MORE EVACUATION GUIDELINES
For a comprehensive guide to animal evacuation which includes horses, livestock, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and other small mammals, please visit the American Veterinary Association (AVMA) at www.avma.org.