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What do I do with my pets in a hurricane?

What do I do with my pets in a hurricane?

  • PublishedMay 29, 2024

Consider pets when making a disaster supply kit and evacuation plans! Here are our tips.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Pets are part of the family, too, and they need to be included in your hurricane preparedness plan. Here are some of the ways you can consider them ahead of an approaching storm.

Think of your pets when you make a disaster supply kit.

“You should really be able to have everything your pet is going to need for at least 72 hours, be it food, water, medication, bedding,” said Dr. Christian Broadhurst, senior veterinarian at Clay Humane.

It’s also smart to include a medical first-aid kit and disposable bags for pet waste.

If you’re evacuating, do not leave your pet behind.

“People were evacuated and they left their pets behind and a lot of pets did not survive the hurricane, and it’s completely avoidable,” Broadhurst said.

Look up pet friendly shelters (some links listed at the bottom of this article) or pet friendly hotels. For larger pets like horses, have stables and paddocks lined up in distant locations.

“If you have pocket pets, certainly take them with you,” said Dr. Broadhurst. “You can certainly prepare chinchillas or gerbils or hamsters or birds as easily as you can prepare your cats and dogs.”

Once you’re ready to travel with your pet, make sure their carrier has ample room and is labeled with your contact information.

“If you have a cat, be sure you have a carrier and litter because if you’re stuck in your vehicle, you’re going to need litter box access,” said Dr. Broadhurst. “If you have your dog, you’re going to need a leash because you’re going to need to be able to walk them off property.”

Bring extra collars, leashes and harnesses. Bring photos of your pet in case you become separated.

“But more importantly than that is actually identification of the pet themselves,” said Dr. Broadhurst. “While collars and tags are nice, microchipping is the only permanent way of identifying your pet.”

Dr. Broadhurst recommends microchipping your pet ahead of the chaos of an approaching storm when your vet might not be able to fit you in for an appointment. Also get a copy of your pet medical records, so a vet in the area you evacuate to will be able to properly care for your pet if needed.

“Most pets don’t travel particularly well,” said Dr. Broadhurst. “So if you know that you have a problem traveler, be sure to talk to your vet before hurricane season. Talk about getting sedatives for the travel if need be.”

Clay Humane is a full service nonprofit animal hospital.

Here are some pet friendly shelters we could find at the time this article was written:

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