When preparing an emergency supply kit for this hurricane season, remember to also think about your pet.
Here are some tips on how to prepare your pet for a disaster, and what to put in a pet emergency supply kit.
The National Hurricane Center recommends:
• Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
• Have a current photograph of your pet.
• Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control it.
• Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to be able to stand and turn around.
• Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet.
• Pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, and friends and relatives in safe areas are potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
• If you plan to shelter your pet, work it into your evacuation route planning.
• Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: A proper identification collar and rabies tag; proper identification on all belongings; a carrier or cage; a leash; an ample supply of food, water and bowls; any necessary medications; specific care instructions; and newspapers or trash bags for clean-ups.
• Bring pets inside well in advance of a storm. Reassure them and remain calm.
• Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served, basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
The United States Humane Society gives the following tips for a pet disaster supply kit:
• Proper identification including immunization records.
• A carrier or cage.
• Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container.
• Collar and leash.
• Pet first aid book and kit.
• Blankets or towels for bedding.
• Food and water for at least three days for each pet, bowls, and a manual can opener.
• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behaviour problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
• Pet beds and toys, if you can take them, to reduce stress.
• Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and grooming items.
• Walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home.
Often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily become confused and then lost.
Also, downed power lines and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
• If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
• After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive, so monitor their behaviour.