By: David T. Smith, DVM
Hurricane season officially began more than a month ago and will run through November 30 of this year. Have you begun your hurricane preparations? While we are all advised to begin gathering the supplies we will need before the season begins, most people are not motivated to even think about assembling their hurricane kits until there is the threat of a storm. If you are guilty of procrastination, here are 12 important tips to do NOW to be ready for this season, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted will be “well above average,” with as many as 20 named storms.
- Pets always should be kept inside during a hurricane. If you must evacuate, your pet should go with you, so make plans ahead of time for your pet to have a “potty” area with pee pads no matter where you end up staying.
- Make sure your pets have collars with up-to-date tags and your current contact information.
- Microchipping your pet is a good way to ensure your contact information and important medical information are available if your pet gets lost.
- Have the necessary equipment needed for your pet to ride in the car or stay in a shelter, such as pet seat belts and a carrier or cage that is labeled with your pet’s name, breed, sex, age and your current address and contact information.
- Have at least one (or more) slip leashes, which you often can get for free from your veterinarian. These leads are helpful if you need to move your pet quickly.
- Have a few days or even two weeks’ worth of pet food in a sealed container, and remember bottled water and bowls, as well. If you’re bringing canned food, make sure you have a can opener!
- Bring two weeks’ worth of any medication that your pet is on sealed in an airtight plastic container (Include heartworm and flea/tick preventatives, too).
- Include a pet first aid kit in your hurricane supplies in case your dog or cat is injured while you are away from home. Your first-aid kit should include styptic powder to stop bleeding if your pet suffers a small wound; tweezers; small, blunt-end scissors; medical adhesive; tape; gauze; antiseptic wipes; antibiotic ointment; a digital thermometer; an oral syringe; clean cloths; disposable gloves; and a muzzle.
- Pack pet hygiene and grooming supplies that will last up to two weeks.
- Important vaccination records and medical documents, a photo of your pet and a photo of you and your pet together are essential to include in your hurricane kit.
- Bedding, toys and treats can help keep your pet occupied and reduce stress since they are familiar with these comforting items that remind them of home.
- If you must evacuate your home and stay in a shelter, make sure in advance that pets are allowed. If not, find another place where they can stay with you.
Being prepared with a hurricane pet kit can give you peace of mind as the uncertainty and chaos of an approaching hurricane or major storm affects our lives. After two seasons of focus on the Coronavirus pandemic rather than on hurricanes, I hope that this hurricane guide is a helpful reminder that encourages you to plan ahead.