Preparation Helps Keep Pets Out of Danger During Hurricane Season

As the record-breaking hurricane season continues, and Tropical Storm Isaias – what will be the ninth named storm of 2020 – begins to take form in the Atlantic, veterinarians at BluePearl Pet Hospital stress the importance of having emergency response plans that include our pets.

Taking steps like updating or creating a pet disaster kit or planning a pet-friendly evacuation route can help protect your furry friend if a natural disaster occurs.

Follow these tips to ensure your pet stays safe and healthy this hurricane season.

Create/update your pet’s emergency response kit

Amid a hurricane, it is important to continue to meet your pet’s four basic needs for survival: oxygen, water, food, shelter and sleep. Put together your pet’s emergency kit and ensure that all vaccinations, medical records and medications are up to date.

Items to include in your pet emergency kit:

Update identification tags

During an evacuation, many pets can become lost. Prior to evacuating, make sure your pet’s collar is secure and ID tags show the proper information. Consider microchipping (a permanent form of identification) and registering them in a recovery database for good measure.

Plan out the evacuation route

Pets may become dehydrated on long road trips. Designate pet-friendly rest stops, so you can allow your pet to hydrate, eliminate, and stretch. Along your evacuation route, also map out emergency veterinary hospitals. Currently, BluePearl, Banfield, and VCA are offering telehealth options. Call the specific location to learn more about these services. Also, prepare digital and hard copy lists of the 24/7 veterinary hospitals’ phone numbers and addresses along your travel route.

Research your destination

Make sure your destination—whether an evacuation shelter, hotel, friend or family’s home—is pet-friendly, and if so, what documents are required for your pet to stay. Some shelters require pet owners to pre-register pets, and space may be extremely limited. Best practice is to have your pet stay with family or friends, or to board with a local veterinarian or pet groomer.

Things to consider if your pet stays at a shelter:

If a disaster advisory or warning has been issued, it is best to be overly cautious. Always take your pets with you when evacuating and follow state/local official guidelines. By preparing ahead of time and acting quickly, pet owners can help keep their four-legged friends healthy and out of danger.