Hurricane Awareness and Your Pets

Pet Health and Safety  •  Pam Karkow  •  Wednesday, May 20, 2020

We recently weathered a pretty nasty storm in our area, as a result of Hurricane Florence, a powerful hurricane that lasted a long time and caused catastrophic damage in the Carolinas.  While our area suffered from fallen trees, high winds, and flooding, it was nothing like the areas close to the coast who are still dealing with the aftermath.  All of this has gotten me thinking, will I be prepared if we experience a disaster that does more damage?

While I always have plenty of dog food on hand, I don’t often think about the need to have current proof of vaccinations handy, or easy access to a dog first aid kit. So, I have compiled a list of eight items that are important to have on hand in case of emergency.

  1. Food and water: Bottled water and canned wet food is best. When it comes to emergencies, obtaining fresh water becomes a priority. It is a good idea to have a week’s worth of water for each member of your family, including your four-legged ones.   Canned food is better than dry since it keeps longer and your pet will be less thirsty if he gets some moisture from his meal. Don’t forget the can opener!
  2. Medications: It is a good idea to ask your vet to secure an emergency supply of pet medications, especially if your pet takes a medication that is crucial to his survival.
  3. Proof of ownership/vaccinations: If your family should have to evacuate your home, you may have to board your pets. Place a current picture of your pet and documentation of his recent vaccinations in a sealed/airtight container. Proof of ownership identifies you as the pet owner, and some shelters will not accept pets if they are not up to date on vaccinations.
  4. Emergency help list: This is a list containing the names and phone numbers of any helpful neighbors, boarding facilities, and emergency vets.  Everyone will be in survival mode - knowing who you can call on in a pinch can help you deal with the stress of situations as they arise.
  5. Leashes/pet carriers: Some pets panic and hide while others just run away.  It can be helpful to have a crate available as a place for your pet to seek safety if the storm makes him nervous.  If you are worried your pet will try to escape, placing him in his crate ensures you know where he is at all times.
  6. ID tags/microchip: ID tags are good, ID tags PLUS microchips are better.  Whereas an ID tag contains important info about where your dog or cat lives and provides a phone number to contact, it can easily be lost.  A microchip is a permanent ID, which can be scanned by a vet or shelter.  Its unique code can be used to pull up your dog or cat’s info in the microchip database, linking him back to his family.  A microchip is also easily updated should you change phone numbers or addresses.  Read our post, National Check the Chip Day, for more on the importance of microchipping. 
  7. First aid kit: Most of us have a first aid kit somewhere in our home or car, but it is primarily for human care.  Pets need a different set of emergency items, so they should have their own emergency kit.  The See Spot Trot Pet First Aid Kit is a good one to consider.  It comes with many first aid items, including a reflective leash, Pet First Aid Tips card (includes normal pulse of a dog and cat, among other health-related things), and bandages that are appropriate for pet use.
  8. Creature Comforts: In the event of an emergency, your dog or cat will also be anxious, so it can be helpful to have some comforting items around to soothe him.  A pet bed, extra cat litter, towels, and favorite stuffed toys can be very helpful in alleviating stress for your pet.

Preparedness is key

As in all emergency situations, your pet will read your anxiety and nervousness, and may react in a negative way.  It is important to stay calm, and to reassure your pet that everything is ok.  Having an emergency plan and kit can help tremendously in the event of a hurricane.

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