Just as with any natural disaster, a hurricane can be a terrifying ordeal, especially if you’re not prepared for it. The mere anticipation of an approaching storm can be enough to cause anxiety, but this doesn’t have to be the case if you ARE prepared. Since hurricane season ends on November 30, it’s important to be have a plan in place for your family and pets, in case a storm makes landfall and an evacuation is ordered. Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News has provided the following four hurricane preparedness tips to help you and your pet family be better equipped for this season.
- Stay Calm: Many pets tend to mirror their pets’ emotions, so if you’re worried or stressed out, your pet will likely sense it and become frazzled as well. If you’ve ever traveled with a jittery pet—especially a cat—you know how difficult it can be. So do your best to remain calm during a hurricane/evacuation, both for your sake and your pet’s. Keep an eye on the news so you can be updated on the storm’s status as well as any evacuation information. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you and your pet can be.
- Have an Emergency Supply Kit Packed: In addition to a human emergency kit, you should have a pet emergency kit as well. Your kit should include a pet first-aid kit, three days’ worth of food and water, bowls, litter and disposable litter trays (for cats), a blanket, and several plastic bags. Be sure to also include an extra leash and collar (with an ID tag), any necessary medications, and a copy of your pet’s vaccination records. It’s best to keep your kit in an area of your home where it can be easily accessed.
- Make Sure Your Pet Has Sufficient Identification: Keep your pet collared with an ID tag during storm season or anytime you leave your house. If your pet is not microchipped, we recommend that you consider this permanent form of identification as well. A microchip can greatly increase the chances of a safe reunion, in the event that your pet becomes separated from you. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and can be quickly, safely implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin, near the shoulder blades. Each pet microchip is encoded with the owner’s contact information and can be scanned by most animal shelters in the country.
- Be Prepared for an Evacuation: If an evacuation is ordered for your area, you and your pets will have a much greater chance of leaving safely if you have a plan prepared. Aside from the obvious reminder of bringing your pet indoors during inclement weather, it’s also important to perform a full evacuation drill, similar to a school drill. Practice retrieving your emergency kits and all necessary supplies, and packing everything—including your pet (in a carrier, if necessary) into your vehicle for a safe departure. Make sure you know in advance the location of the evacuation shelter as well.