WORLD, (June 16, 2021).- With the tropics already showing signs of activity in the 2021 hurricane season, pet owners should make sure they are prepared to weather a storm at home or to evacuate if there is the threat of severe conditions.
Pets, the shorter, furrier members of the family, must be especially considered in all weather-related planning.
It’s estimated that 259,400 families owned pets in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Because there was no formal evacuation plan for residents needing assistance or for those with pets, as many as 104,000 dogs and cats were left behind. Forty-four percent of those who chose not to evacuate said they did so because they refused to leave their beloved pets behind.
Just as with other members of the household, emergency planning for pets requires advance preparation, including gathering supplies for at least five days.
Here are some other preparation suggestions:
MEDICAL RECORDS: Are the pets up-to-date on vaccines, and are copies of their medical records on hand? All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices will require proof of immunization before accepting pets.
Once a storm enters the Gulf, it is too late to think about these items, so make an appointment with your vet today to get those shots up to date and copies of any needed records.
MICROCHIPS: This permanent form of identification can be a pet’s ticket home in the event it gets lost. Need a microchip? Schedule an appointment with your vet now.
ID TAGS: If your contact information or address has changed, it’s time to get a new ID tag for your pet.
RESEARCH DESTINATIONS: Look for pet-friendly hotels or reach out to family or friends who live out of our area where family pets can be temporarily relocated in the event of an evacuation.
If you evacuate, here are some pet supplies to take with you:
FOOD AND WATER: Bring food and water — and dishes. Keep food in an airtight, waterproof container and bring plenty of bottled drinking water.
MEDICINE AND MEDICAL RECORDS: Keep an extra supply of pet medicines in a waterproof container.
COLLAR WITH ID TAG: Pets should wear a collar with their rabies tag and identification at all times. A harness is also recommended for use with a leash as extra security so a pet cannot slip out of his collar.
DOCUMENTS: Place copies of the pet’s microchip information, registration, adoption papers, vaccination documents, and medical records in a clear Ziplock plastic bag or waterproof container.
CRATE OR PET CARRIER: Carriers should be large enough for pets to stand up, completely turn around and lie down. Put your name, address, phone number, and alternate contact on the carrier.
SANITATION: Include pet litter, newspapers, towels, plastic trash bags and cleaners in the evacuation bag so you can pick up after the pets.
For more information about planning for an evacuation with pets, visit www.la-spca.org/evacuation.