With hurricane Dorian fast approaching the Carolinas, we want to take a moment to address how to prepare your pets for a hurricane. Many prepare an emergency kit with canned foods, extra batteries, and water, but what about your pet?
What should be in your pet’s emergency kit?
Especially for those of you with wells, if a hurricane knocks the power out obtaining clean water may not be the easiest task. So, when you hit the grocery store for your own bottled water, remember to grab a couple gallons for your pets too!
When a hurricane is on its way, the canned food isles at the grocery tend to clear out quicker than a toupee in a hurricane (hurricane pun intended). So, remember when you are sprinting to grab the last beenie weenies and soup cans, to also grab some canned cat/dog food. You usually feed your dog dry food? Well, it may be worth investing in some canned food for the emergency kit because it lasts longer and can hold up against the impending water. In addition, its easier to pack away. However, if you prefer to prep dry food, it may be best to individually zip lock page portion sizes to seal against water and to cut down on space.
Like you pack your blood pressure or cholesterol medication, don’t forget to pet your pet’s medication (if applicable). For instance, is your dog on seizure medicine? Pack it! Is your cat on anxiety medicine? Pack it! Do you think they won’t need it? Pack it anyways! Better safe than sorry.
4. Proof of Ownership and Vaccinations
This one is very important! Many animals get lost or go missing during a hurricane. Whether it be that you have to board them somewhere or you get separated from them during the storm, proof of ownership is so important. Just like any lost animal, our shelter requires proof of ownership if your pet happens to find its way to our shelter. In addition, a current photo of the pet always helps! You never expected to lose your animals, but often times you don’t expect the damage that results from a hurricane. In addition, if you find yourself having to evacuate for in a shelter, proof of vaccinations will likely save you some time and worry! Many shelters will not let your pet in if you cannot prove that they are up to date on all vaccinations. Not only are shelters there to protected you from the threats outside, but they also have to be careful to limit threats on the inside. Be prepared, bring along your vaccination records to prove your pet is safe to shelter!
5. Leash, collar, harness, and pet carrier (WITH ID TAGS)
It seems silly, but it may be worth keeping your pet leashed/harnessed during the storm. The sounds and effects of a hurricane may just frighten your pet into a tizzy. When panicking, many pets tend to run off in an attempt to get away from the storm and end up injured or lost. With your pet attached at your hip, both literally or theoretically, you decide, you may prevent your pet from these kinds of dangers! In addition, it will ease your mind to know you just have to reach down and your pet will be right there! For smaller pets, it could be best to have them set up in their pet carrier during the storm. Not only will this prevent them from running off, but it can also has them ready to go in case of an emergency evacuation. In addition, having identification attached to the pet in any or as many ways as possible can help just in case they do escape! Petsmart, Petco, and many of your locally owned pet stores have kiosks where you can create an ID tag for your pet. Save yourself the hassle, and invest those 5 dollars into an ID tag with your contact information!
6. First Aid Kit
Just like yourself or your children, pets may require quick medical attention during a storm. Many of the things that your pet may need may already be in, or may come in handy, for your humane first aid kit. This kit should include: gauze, hydrogen peroxide, milk of magnesia (for poison), and medical tape at a minimum. It also may be helpful to have the contact information for the nearest vet/emergency vet clinic written on or placed in this kit!
As we are in a rural county, don’t forget your farm animals. For those of you with farm animals, you should also create an emergency kit that includes:
1. Current list of animals and their location
Unfortunately, many people have no choice but to leave behind their farm animals if an evacuation occurs. Although it is best to evacuate your animals in preparation of the storm, if you find yourself in a storm with farm animals make sure they are known. Many farm animals break out of, jump over, or find broken fences. If emergency crews respond to your home, it is best for both them and your animals if they know exactly what they will be looking for during their response. It would also be good to include notes of their feeding schedule, vaccinations, and test! For instance, if you own horses, include a copy of their Coggins to your list.
2. Temporary Identification
Many farms have their cattle branded or tagged, however, if you have a farm animal without identification it may be best to change that! Some options for identification would be plastic neckbands with your information, an ID tag (such as the ones you get for your smaller pets) attached to their halter, or if worst comes to worst, use animal safe permanent marker to write your name, address, and telephone number on the animal.
3. Basic first aid kit
See the above section for ideas on what should be in these kits. In addition, it may be helpful to include banamine.
4. Check your truck and trailer!
Before a storm make sure your equipment is ready to go. Check tires, breaks, windshield wipers, etc to ensure if you find yourself evacuating your animals you can do so safely and efficiently.
5. Handling equipment
Have halters, lead lines, blankets and the like!
Many times animals have to be saved from damages fences, barns, or run-in shelters. To prep, have wire cutters, flashlights (with extra batteries), plastic sheets/tarps, wrench/pliers, dusk mask, hammer, and screw drivers. In addition, think about what you use when things break around your farm! If you have used it before, you may very well have to use it again during an emergency.
NOTE: These are tips and tricks! However, you know your pets and farms the best! Be prepared, don’t be scared. This too shall pass! Happy Hurricane Season friends, wishing you all the best!
(Photo Credits: Luzarne Country Animal Response Team)