If your local Florida community issues a hurricane or storm warning, bring all pets inside and be sure they are safe and accounted for. If you are under an evacuation order, you must bring your pet with you, so they don’t end up lost, injured or worse. To best be prepared for emergencies and to keep your pets safe, VYRD has a few important suggestions for you to consider:
Create a Pet Disaster Supply Kit. Keep this kit next to your family’s disaster supply kit, and be sure it includes:
- Pet food, treats and extra water
- Water bowl and can opener
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container)
- Veterinarian’s contact information
- A crate or carrier
- Sturdy leashes and/or harnesses
- Extra litter and pan, newspapers, pads
- Favorite toys, blanket, and/or bed
- Photo of you with your pet(s) to prove ownership
- Pet beds (if easily transportable), toys, and other familiar comfort items
- Information to share with emergency shelters and/or boarding facilities (feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, veterinarian contact, etc.)
Identify Pet-friendly Shelters and Hotels. While most public emergency shelters and Red Cross shelters permit service animals, most DO NOT accept family pets. Create a list of pet-friendly shelters as well as pet boarding facilities, animal shelters, and veterinarians in your area who will take pets during emergencies. Include 24-hour phone numbers for these resources in your communications plan. Also include information on pet-friendly hotels and motels (visit Pet’s Welcome) along with any pet size restrictions they may have. When a hurricane or other major storm is forecast for your area, make reservations for your family at these pet-friendly hotels as quickly as possible.
Give All Pets an ID. In the chaos of an emergency, pets may become separate from your family. Help them find their way home by putting an ID tag on each pet’s collar with their name, your name and cell phone. The ID tag can include a list of health issues and your veterinarian’s contact number. You also may want to microchip your pet to give it a permanent implant with your contact information.
Help Rescuers Find Your Pet. The ASPCA offers a free emergency pet rescue sticker that you can place on a window near your front door. The sticker has room for you to write the number of pets and types that are in the home. If you do evacuate, remember to write “evacuated with pets” on your sticker so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.
Be Prepared if Your Pet is Home Alone. Ask a trusted neighbor if he or she would be willing to take your pets if you can’t get home during an evacuation order. Be sure it is someone who knows and is comfortable with your pet – and be sure they know where your pet disaster kit is.
Plan for Larger Animals. If your pet happens to be a horse, goat, pig or other large animal, be sure you have the necessary vehicles or trailers (along with experienced drivers and handlers) to transport them out of harm’s way. If for some reason you cannot evacuate your larger animals, you need to make the call if it is safer to move them inside to a barn or turn them loose outside. Be sure each of these animals has some form of identification.
When the emergency passes and you are able to return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.