How To Keep Dogs And Cats Out Of Flower Beds Keeping Your Pets Safe During a Hurricane

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Keeping Your Pets Safe During a Hurricane

With hurricane season approaching, it is vital that residents of hurricane-prone areas be prepared. From having an emergency plan to making sure you have an emergency kit ready to knowing in advance which emergency numbers to call and where the nearest hurricane shelter will be if you need to evacuate. Unfortunately, people all too often neglect their pets when it comes to hurricane safety. And whatever you do, don’t leave your pets at home when you evacuate. Your pet’s chances of surviving a hurricane are minimal and unlikely. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets. It is critical that you have an emergency plan in place for your pets in the event of a hurricane and that your plan includes moving your pets to safety.

In the event of a hurricane, if you have to evacuate to a shelter, you most likely won’t be able to bring your pet. Although Red Cross shelters and some others will allow service animals with their owner, many shelters will refuse entry. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare the nest in advance, and not be stuck without a safe place to go with your pet during a hurricane.

According to the Florida Department of Emergency Management, more and more communities are developing pet shelter plans. The key is to do your research ahead of time and find out if any local shelters will accept your pets. If you can’t find any pet shelters, the next step is to contact hotels or motels outside of the area to find out what their pet policies are and if they will waive the “no pets” policy in the event of an emergency. You may also want to contact your vet and ask if they have any suggestions. As you research, be sure to keep a list of pet resources with phone numbers and addresses. If a hurricane hits and you need to evacuate, you’ll be thankful you prepared a list.

Next, it is important to have an emergency kit ready for your pet. As with all emergency kits, pet kits should be pre-assembled, left in one easily accessible place near the exit (preferably with your emergency kit) and ready to go. Pet packs should contain important documents (veterinary records, etc.), medication, first aid kit, food, bowls, leashes, toys, folding pet bed, blankets, crate, flashlight and portable water. Keep in mind that you should set aside enough food and water for at least a week. When putting food away, if your pet eats canned food, set aside a can opener or buy easy-to-peel cans. If your pet has any special needs, such as cat litter, a litter box, a heat lamp, licking salt, pine bedding, etc., be sure to leave those items aside as well. It’s important to note that if your pet is a bird, you’ll still want a blanket ready to go so you can cover their cage to reduce stress during the trip. Keep all items in a waterproof container that is sturdy and easy to transport. It is also important to keep a photo of your pet in the trash can in case the pet gets lost. The key is to have your pet ready for emergencies at a moment’s notice. One part of your emergency kit that won’t go in the trash is securely attaching your current contact information to your pet’s (bird’s) collar or leg if possible. If you have birds, small animals or reptiles, you may want to label your pet’s cage as well. In case you become separated from your pet, the emergency team will be able to contact you with the information you provided on your pet’s collar. Finally, get a salvage warning sticker. By visiting the ASPCA online, you can get a free sticker by filling out an online form.

Once you have your pet emergency kit and pet resource list ready, the next step is to stay informed. Monitor any approaching threats by listening to weather information on television, radio or the Internet. If an evacuation alert is to be issued, you will often have little time to get yourself, your family and pets to safety. If you hear a hurricane is approaching, call the pet shelter or motel ahead of time to confirm shelter arrangements. It is also important to keep all your pets with you and in the house, even if you are not home. In the event that an evacuation order arrives while you are not at home, it is important to have a contact, such as a neighbor or friend, who can pick up your pets and meet you elsewhere.

In addition to having your resources ready, you may want to think ahead about what you can do to keep your pet calm during a hurricane. Several natural remedies are now available to help keep your pet’s stress levels low. Products such as Bach’s Flower Remedies or NaturVet Quiet Moments Gel are useful for dogs and cats who may experience anxiety. Additionally, you may want to purchase some treats to “keep you busy” while your pets are confined for the duration of the hurricane.

If there is a possibility of a hurricane, the best plan if possible is to get to a safe place with your pet. If you cannot find a pet shelter, it may be a good idea to leave the area and evacuate to a safe place where you can stay with your pet.

In addition to this article, there are excellent resources available to pet owners on the FEMA and ASPCA websites. When evacuating in the event of a hurricane or disaster, you can never have too much information, especially if you are a pet owner. Our pets rely on us to care for and protect them. With preparation and knowledge, all pet owners can be confident that their pets will be safe during a hurricane.

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