With Hurricane Matthew approaching North America and several states under a state of emergency, now is an important time to make sure your entire family is prepared for a natural disaster. This includes making plans for your pet as well.
After rescuing countless animals from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, The Humane Society of Louisiana has seen first hand what can happen when pets are left out of disaster plans and not made a priority. To prevent the same issues from happening again, the Humane Society has released a list of six simple tips that will help keep your furry friend safe in the event of a hurricane or any other natural disaster.
Read the list and prepare your pets now, before the storm, to reduce the inevitable chaos that occurs when you have to put your disaster plan into action.
- Include Your Pet in Any Evacuation Plans: Make sure you have a space for your pets in the car when you are setting up your evacuation plans so they don’t get left behind. Buy a travel carrier ahead of time, so you have one on hand, and label it with your contact information and a description of the animal that will be using the carrier. If your pets aren’t used to traveling in a carrier, perform a few trial runs so they are comfortable.
- Create a Pet Evacuation Kit: Have a kit ready to go for an emergency evacuation that is stocked with everything your pet will need on the road. Keep in mind that you may need several days worth of provisions and medical supplies.
- Update Your Pet’s Vaccinations: Ideally, you and your pets will remain together during an emergency. But if, for some reason, they need to be boarded or taken to the vet during the chaos, they’ll also need to be up to date on all their vaccinations to be guaranteed admittance. Many facilities will require proof that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, so ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s medical record and make it part of your evacuation kit.
- Make Sure Your Pet Is Microchipped: If you and your pet are separated, this small piece of technology could be the one thing that reconnects you two. A microchip loaded with your contact information is inserted under your pet’s skin and stays there for life, with no ill effects to your pet’s health. When animals come into a vet, rescue or shelter they are scanned for a microchip to see if they have an owner. When a microchip is found, the person listed on the chip is contacted. For this reason, it is also important that you keep the information on your pet’s microchip up to date. This can be done online without any removal of the chip.
- Secure Accommodations Before the Storm: Since some disaster relief shelters do not allow animals, it is important to have an evacuation plan in place that includes a safe space for your pet. Line up a location with friends and family or find a boarding facility or pet-friendly hotel outside of the evacuation zone where you know your pet will be welcome.
- Create an Identification File for Your Pet: This file, which will be part of your evacuation kit, will be a great help to you in case your pet is lost. In the file, include photos and a description of your pet along with any medical, behavioral and microchip information. Now, you will have everything you need to help locate and retrieve your pet in case you are separated.