The 2017 hurricane season has officially started. Forecasters are predicting an above average number of named storms this year. If a hurricane does threaten Southeast Texas, it is important for your entire family, including your furry members, to be prepared.
If your family must evacuate, you need to take your pets with you. Never leave your pets behind thinking they will be okay because you are only going to be gone for a day or two. Damage to an area can prevent access for days or even weeks, leaving your pets without food, water or care. Pets may be trapped, escape or become injured during a storm. If it is not safe for you and your family, it is not safe for your pets.
Do not count on local veterinary clinics or boarding facilities to house your pets during a hurricane. If an evacuation order is issued, it applies to everybody, including the staff that typically looks after your pets during more routine boarding. Flooding, wind damage, or loss of power threatens these facilities, too; not just your homes are at risk.
Arrange accommodations for your pets in the region to where you are evacuating. If staying with friends or family members, ensure they are willing to house your pets, too. Locate kennel facilities and make reservations as early as possible. Many hotels now accept pets. Websites such as www.bringfido.com and www.petswelcome.com can help you locate pet-friendly lodging.
Make sure your pets are up to date on all of their vaccines and keep a copy of the vaccination records, including rabies certificate and tag information. To be even more thorough, ask your veterinarian to print out a copy of your pet’s medical records. Some veterinary clinics also offer online access to medical records. Our clients at Delaware Animal Clinic have the option to view medical records through our website as well as our mobile app. These records are of particular importance for pets with any kind of medical problems or special needs. If your pet is on any medication, be sure to have an adequate supply on hand to last two weeks.
All pets need to have some form of identification in the event they are separated from you. The best identification is a microchip which is inserted under the skin. Collars and tags can be lost, but a microchip provides reliable, permanent identification. Make sure the information you provide to the microchip company is kept current.
You should also create an identification file for each pet. This file should contain a detailed description of your pet that also includes any distinctive characteristics; for example, male, neutered, brown and tan Yorkshire terrier, 8 pounds, with white spot on chest. A current photograph of your pet should be included. Proof of ownership, such as adoption papers, proof of purchase or registration papers, can also be helpful.
Make a pet evacuation kit that is easy to carry and clearly labeled for every pet. Provisions to place in this kit include: two week supply of fresh water and food, can opener and spoon, pet bowls, leashes and collars, a carrier for every pet (labeled with your contact information), litter/litter pan/litter scoop, familiar comfort items such as blankets, toys and treats, trash bags and paper towels.
The evacuation kit should also contain your pet’s medical records, identification file, and medications, including heartworm and flea preventatives. Other items may need to be considered, such as a flashlight, first aid kit, muzzles, radio, extra batteries and emergency contact information.
If an evacuation order is issued, leave as early as possible. Evacuation routes will be less congested and you will have a better chance to find space available in a boarding facility or pet-friendly hotel. Be sure that every pet has secure identification and don’t forget to pack your pet evacuation kit when you leave. By leaving early you lessen your chances of becoming a victim of a disaster. And remember it is NEVER okay to leave your pets behind.