The official predictions are in and this year is likely to consist of several major hurricanes. The good thing about hurricanes is that residents often have a few days, even up to a week, to prepare and take precautionary measures. While flash floods and tornadoes can go from peaceful to life-threatening in just a few hours, advanced technologies enable meteorologists to generally know where a hurricane's trajectory and intensity at least a day in advance.
It is still possible to find yourself suddenly within a predictive hurricane cone though, so having a plan in place is vital - especially since your furry friends can add extra complexity to any safety steps. Here are five tips to add to your emergency plan that will include the well-being of your pets!
Hurricane Safety for Pets: 5 Tips for Maximum Safety
1) Make Evacuation Plans to Pet-Friendly Destinations.
This week, call and find at least three pet-friendly hotels, campgrounds, or homes of friends or loved ones. Make sure these areas are well out of the path any hurricane might take. Having pre-planned destinations in place isn't only a smart move, but you won't be scrambling in the middle of an emergency if your locations don't cater to pets.
2) Arrange Pet Carriers for Possible Evacuation
No matter the size of your pet, it's a good idea to purchase and label pet carriers for use during a quick evacuation. For each of your pets, have a carrier clearly labeled with their name, breed, sex, identifying physical characteristics, age, and medical information, as well as your current address, emergency addresses, and any contact numbers.
Even if you don't normally use pet carriers, they may be required of you if something happens and you need to go to an emergency shelter or similar destination. Most public transportation options require pet carriers too! Having a storage option now and training your pets to use and be comfortable in them will go a long way in making a sudden evacuation go a lot easier and safer for everyone.
Remember, carriers should be your pets' safe space. Now is a good idea to bring it out and encourage them to use as they would their bed or other favorite space (using treats, positive words, and toys can assist with this).
3) Pack a Pet Emergency Kit
If you start seeing warnings about an impending hurricane in your area, then it's a good idea to go ahead and stock up on your pet's food, treats, medications, and plenty of water to last at least a full week. The day before you decide to head out of town, pack the pet food, treats, medication, and water in a separate container or containers and have them ready by the door.
Finding these resources on the road can be especially stressful, or, if you end up in an emergency shelter, nearly impossible. Having extra treats and toys on hand will also help keep your pets entertained and more relaxed on what is likely to otherwise be a stressful experience for them.
4) Microchip Your Pet
Most breeders and adoption agencies (including local shelters) will have already microchipped your pet. Contact them for that information and ensure that the microchip information has been changed to indicate your current contact information.
If your pet is not already microchipped, then set up a visit with your vet to do so as soon as possible. During a storm, a lost pet's quickest way home is when shelters and animal control officers can quickly identify the animal's home location.
5) Seal Off Any Hiding Places for Smaller Pets
Close off any and all unsafe and hard to reach nooks and crannies. If you decide to stay home during the storm, take time to secure your property and eliminate any spaces frightened cats, dogs, or other animals may go to during severe weather.
In the hours leading up to, during, and just after the storm, keep your pets in one room where you can easily grab them should you need to evacuate to higher ground or an established shelter.
Don't Forget to Prep Your Home With Impact Doors and Windows
These early months in the hurricane season are also a good time to prep your home. Contact Alco to learn about impact doors and windows and how they can help protect your property during a hurricane.