As Hurricane Season Starts, Households in Coastal States Urged to Include Pets in Disaster Plans
With predictions for an active hurricane season this year, community leaders and residents in East Coast and Gulf Coast states should keep pets in mind when planning for natural disasters. People can take some simple – but critical – steps to keep their pets safe and healthy in severe weather and possible evacuations.
Legislators can help by sharing this information with local officials and including this information in Facebook posts, releases, newsletters and other avenues information is distributed to constituents.
The most important thing to remember when preparing for severe weather is, if it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets. Whether you shelter-in-place or evacuate, people should be prepared to keep your pets with you and make sure you have adequate supplies. AccuWeather forecasters predict an active and strong hurricane season from June to November, with the potential for three named storms to make landfall in the U.S. Pet owners can reduce their animals’ chances of being at risk during a disaster by following the suggestions below.
Things you can do right now:
- Put a collar with visible identification on your pets, including indoor-only pets.
- Make sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations.
- Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo.
- Create a pet emergency kit (see below) and refresh the items every few months.
- Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes. Make a list of boarding facilities inland and know their vaccinations requirements.
- Create a list of hotels that allow pets. Plan on evacuating about 100 miles inland.
- Contact your city or town to see what plans they have in place for your locality.
Pet emergency kits should include:
- Minimum of a three-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof containers and drinking water.
- Bowls for food and water.
- Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings.
- Medications, vaccination records and first aid pet supplies. Name and number for your veterinarian.
- Comfort items such as a toy and blanket.
- Small garbage bags.
- For small dogs include: a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area and a leash and collar.
- For large dogs include: a collar and leash.
- For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport and for your cat to use as a temporary “apartment” for several days.
- For horses include: Coggins tests, veterinary papers, identification photographs and vital information such as medical history and emergency phone numbers.