Hurricane season is here and it is never too early to start preparing for your pets safety. Never leave pets behind when you evacuate! If the power goes out, temperatures can soar to dangerous levels for pets that can be potentially fatal. Leaving food and water out for your pet may not be enough to ensure their safety.
Here are some tips to ensure that your pets will be safe in the even of a natural disaster: v Call hotels or motels at your destination to identify pet-friendly lodging. Be sure to call early as these rooms fill up quickly! Some hotel/motel chains that accept pets include: Holiday Inn, Marriot, HoJo, Motel6, LaQuinta Inn, Red Roof Inn, etc.
If you are unable to bring your pet to your final destination:
- Ask friends or relatives if they would be able to care for your pet(s). Ensure that these caretakers are a safe distance away from the storm path.
- Contact your veterinarian (or a veterinarian at your destination) for available boarding/kennel facilities that are accepting pets.
- Contact the local animal shelter to see if they provide foster care or emergency shelter for pets.
- Food: The Humane Society of the United States suggests bringing food and water for at least five days for each pet. Dry food should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container. Don’t forget a can opener for canned food!
- Water: In the event that clean water in unavailable, make sure to pack enough bottled water for your family and pets.
- Food & Water Bowls: Travel size and plastic bowls are much easier to transport on the road.
- Medical Records + Medications: Keep all of your pet’s vaccine history, microchip number and medications in a safe, waterproof container. Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification and up-to-date rabies tag.
- Leash/Carrier: Don’t forget to pack a leash or harness for your pet. Carriers should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lay down comfortably.
- Cats: Keep cats in a carrier during transport to ensure their safety and prevent escaping. Pack at least 7 days worth of cat litter and a small litter pan for traveling (aluminum roasting pans work great).
- Photos: Current photos could help reunite you and your pet in the event that you become separated.
- Clean Up: Pack garbage bags, disinfectants/cleaners, and poop pick-up bags to pet areas clean and sanitary.
- Extras: Pack blankets or toys to keep your pets comfortable during the evacuation. Some pets may require boxes to hide under (especially kitties) or storm clothing for anxiety (i.e. Thunder Shirt).
Written by Dr. Sarah Cothron, DVM
Sarah Cothron, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Baton Rouge, LA
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