7 Tips for Pet Owners Preparing for Hurricane Season

June 27, 2014

Those of us living in the paradise of Southwest Florida expect the onset of hurricane season and often pay little attention to proper preparation for it. That’s not a good idea! For pet owners, advance planning is mandatory.

The first order of business is to determine at what point you would evacuate, should a hurricane loom. It’s not an easy decision, because hurricanes are not predictable. Just keep in mind that pet-friendly shelters are not plentiful and fill up quickly.

Once you have a plan in place, know where you will go and at what point, begin making a list and collect copies of any necessary documents for your family and your pets. Here are a few tips to assist in your hurricane preparation.

If you plan to ride out the storm at home:

Board up your windows. If you have hurricane shutters, install them. My husband made shutters for our home that were easy to install when needed and much cheaper than ones you purchase ready-made.

Collect important papers. It would be difficult to replace your marriage license, birth certificates, passports, mortgage papers, photo albums, etc. Choose a safe place to store them until any weather threat has passed. We gathered such things and placed them in a large box with a handle and stored the box, our computers, and framed portraits of our 6 children in our SUV for the durations of the storm. The box of papers stayed on a corner of the credenza in my office the rest of the time. Your box of papers should include vaccination and health records of each of your pets.

Know where in your home you will ride out the storm. A hallway or large closet with a minimum of doors and no windows works best. It should be large enough to hold you and your pets. Have crates or carriers handy so you can place your pets inside them in the safe room.

Consider purchasing a generator well ahead of the storm. Should the power go out, a generator would keep your refrigerator, a light and even a fan running until power is restored in your area.

If you plan to evacuate:

Make hotel reservations well-ahead of time. Hotels that accept pets fill up quickly. You can always cancel it.

In your box of important papers, add a photo of your pet, and the name and phone number of a friend or family member living elsewhere, as well as your own name and cell phone number. Should disaster strike, your pet could become lost and you want whoever finds him to be able to reach someone who could help.

Gather all necessary pet supplies to take with you. You will need pet food, water & food dishes, carriers, leash and collar if applicable and even a muzzle, because frightened animals are unpredictable. It’s also good to throw in a couple of familiar toys and blanket. Plastic bags for pet waste pick-up and a litter box and litter for cats are also important. Place it all in your vehicle or a safe place you can access quickly should evacuation become necessary. In our last home in Englewood, we kept duplicates of most of those items boxed and ready to go.

Be sure your pets are micro-chipped. They should also wear collars with identification tags, if possible.

I recommend creating a list of everything you will need in case of evacuation. In our Englewood home, that list was posted on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door. It also included a list of pet-friendly shelters in the area.

No one can be completely organized when disaster strikes, but the above suggestions should help you make a fast escape and protect your important belongings, should the worst occur.








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