Hurricane season has arrived. The time of year we are all apprehensive about. Even though we are told and encouraged to prepare each year, it’s hard to go through the motions and get ready. As you prepare for you and your family this hurricane season, don’t forget to prepare for your pets. When evacuating, be sure to not only bring the food and supplies that YOU might need, but also bring YOUR PET’S supplies. As we get deeper into the hurricane season, it is important to not only have a supply of your pet’s food on hand, but also a few months’ supply of your pet’s medications on hand (heartworm prevention, flea control products, prescription medications, insulin and syringes for diabetic patients, etc.) in case of evacuation. Refills, and the records necessary to authorize medication refills, may be difficult to obtain before and after a severe weather event. Also, if your pet is eating a special food or a prescription diet, plan to have an additional supply of the food on hand in case of an emergency. Remember, even if we don’t evacuate, we may be stranded in our homes without electricity and unable to obtain the food supplies that we need. Also, be sure to also have water set aside for your pet(s). Dogs and cats need approximately one ounce of water per pound per day. Pets with medical problems (diabetes and kidney failure) may require even more water daily, so be prepared.
Some pets may be extremely anxious or panicked during a storm or an evacuation. Dr. McSweeney and Dr. Carriere will be happy to speak to you about the best option(s) to help your pets through this time. We have a pheromone spray that can help comfort your pet during these extraordinary times. For healthy pets, we also have medications that can sedate them through a prolonged storm or prolonged evacuation. Pets may have a difficult time in a hot car, so monitor them closely. Make sure they have access to air-conditioning and plenty of water to keep them cool. Never leave pets unattended in a hot vehicle.
This is an important time of year to check that your pets are up to date on their vaccinations. This will be required for pets going to a shelter or boarding with a veterinarian or boarding facility in another city. If you will need to board your pet when you reach your evacuation destination, be sure to research possible boarding facilities in the area in advance so you will have the information available and not be scrambling to find the information during an emergency. We will be happy to provide you a copy of your pets vaccination history and/or any important medical records you need so that you will have them available for evacuation.
Finally, make sure your pet has a legible tag on its collar. A microchip is a wonderful supplement to a pet’s tag. It acts as a permanent non-removable tag. It is always with your pet and the information can be easily updated at any time. It is also great for pets that don’t like to wear a collar. The best feature of the microchip is that e-mail addresses and numerous phone numbers and addresses can be registered to the chip. This allows the best chance for your pet to be reunited with you in a worst case scenario where your pet gets away from you during a weather event. Often pets are panicked staying in a strange place and/or are panicked in the evacuation drive and make escapes during rest stops. Many pets have been lost during this time. Those with tags often have home addresses and home phone numbers which are great if the owners are at home, but during an evacuation, it can be difficult to locate the owners with this info. The best case scenario is to have the pet microchipped , registering multiple pieces of location information, e-mails, cell phone numbers, etc., and to also purchase a special tag for your pet that also contains cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, microchip number, etc. Lucky Pet Tags allow you to register information to a tag with a small one time fee. This “owner alert” is a 24 hour toll-free hotline. The company with call, text and e-mail you at the registered contact info until you and your pet’s finder are in contact. All these options will cover you in case any difficult scenario should arise and allow you the best chance to recover your pet should you become separated. Also, if your pet is already microchipped , be sure to bring the phone number of your microchip provider and your pet’s microchip number in case you need to change any information in their system temporarily. Remember, many of us were away from our homes for many weeks after Katrina.
To sum it all up, let’s prepare:
- Obtain pets’ vaccination records and medical records, especially if your pet has a medical issues; update vaccines if necessary
- Obtain pet’s medications, heartworm prevention and flea control, possible tranquilizers
- Pet’s Food and containers for water
- Make sure pet carriers, leashes and collars are in working order
- Pet should have current tags, microchipping recommended; bring the phone number of microchip provider and microchip number
- Research possible boarding facilities in the area you may be evacuating to in advance