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How to prepare your pets for hurricane season

How to protect your pets during the Fourth of July holiday weekend
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2021-06-12 07:52:03-04

You’re probably prepared for hurricane season, but what about your pets?
Hurricane season began June 1.
All pet owners should make specific plans to keep themselves and their fur kids safe during hurricanes or other natural disasters.
“Your pets are your responsibility just as much as the other members of your family,” said Dr. Sonja Olson, a senior clinician in emergency medicine for Bluepearl Veterinary Partners.  “And part of that responsibility is to be prepared.”
Bluepearl came up with a tip sheet on how to prepare your pets not just for natural disasters:

  • Make arrangements now with nearby friends or relatives who you and your pet can stay with during the storm. If you live in a flood-prone area, find friends who live in a safer place on higher ground.
  • Look up pet-friendly emergency shelters in your area to use as a last resort.  You may also want to scout out pet-friendly hotels.
  • Make sure you have pet carriers. For cats, don’t forget the litter box, there portable ones are available.
  • Preparations are even more important if your pets include pythons, parrots and other exotic or unusual species. They won’t be welcome at shelters and maybe not even at Grandma’s.
  • Stock a pet hurricane box with leashes, food bowls, water and sealable bags for extra food. Don’t forget blankets, bedding or some toys that will make Fido and Fluffy feel comfortable.
  • Put together a pet first aid kit, which can include bandaging material, antibiotic cream and tweezers.
  • Don’t overlook the veterinary documents you should have ready to take with you. These include your veterinarian’s phone number, your pets’ vaccination histories, your pets’ microchip registrations and records detailing any chronic illnesses. Learn more here.
  • Make sure your pets have been microchipped, so they can be easily identified and brought back to you if you get separated in the disaster. Also, make sure the microchip registration has been updated. Learn more here.
  • Pack all the medicines your pets take in the original bottles.
In addition to this advice, BluePearl gave some tips on what not to do:
  • Don’t change your mind about evacuating at the last minute and find yourself driving through the storm.  This will be more dangerous than staying put.
  • Don’t say at the last minute, “I’ll just board Fido at the vet’s office.” Your family veterinarian may not be open and if they are, they may be fully booked. Some hospitals stay open around the clock even during hurricanes, but they’re not set up to be shelters. They’re open so the staff can provide treatment to injured and ill pets during this time of need.

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