Preparing for Disaster
All of us living in Florida are aware of how quickly the weather can change. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and the danger of tropical storms and hurricanes are all events we can prepare ourselves and our pets for in advance. Be sure to bring your pets indoors well before the weather gets bad. During severe weather, it is helpful to have a “safe room” or an area that your pets are comfortable. Some pets get very anxious during storms and may need some medication to help them cope. Give us a call to see if medication will help.
Planning ahead will help reduce stress for both you and your pets in case you need to evacuate before a disaster or hurricane.
Where will you take your pets?
Shelters for people may or may not accept pets, and not all hotels are pet friendly. Talk to your family and friends in advance to decide where your pets will be welcome. An alternate caregiver who can pick up or care for your pets when you can’t is helpful. Remember to call us in advance and authorize your caregiver to request treatment for your pets if you are not available.
Some resources for local hotels are listed below. Keep a list of pet friendly hotels in your emergency kit. Boarding at a nearby kennel may be an option, but call in advance for their procedures in an emergency. Boarding is available with us, and pets are welcome in an emergency!
Emergency Supply Kit
An emergency supply kit that can be grabbed quickly is a huge help. We have an emergency checklist kit available to help you gather items that will be important to have in case you need to leave on short notice. Keep these items updated, and the food and water fresh. Some basic things to consider keeping in your kit: Food and bottled water (at least 3 days worth), ownership and vaccination/medical records, your pet’s insurance information, your contact information and an alternate contact. Make a list of any needed medications (including heartworm preventative) and feeding instructions. A manual can opener and spoon are also a good idea. Keep an extra leash/collar, bedding/cat box/litter, a favorite toy and some treats in your kit. In case of a pet accident, cleaning supplies such as paper towels and disinfectant are useful. Some basic first aid supplies (bandages, gauze, antiseptic) could round out your kit. Come see us at Bradfordville Animal Hospital for your emergency checklist kit!
Keep a leash, collar and kennel in an easily accessible place where you can grab it on your way out the door and be sure your pets are familiar with the kennel before disaster strikes. The kennel should be clearly labeled with your name, your pets name and your contact information.
ID tags securly attached to your pets collar in addition to a current rabies tag is very important. For permanent identifacation that won't fall off or get lost, consider a microchip. If your pet has a chip but it is not registered to you or has not been updated, plan on doing so now. This will be invaluable for reuniting you both if you get separated. You will need proof of ownership to pick up your pet from a shelter. Confirmation of the microchip number and a picture of you and your pet together can help document ownership and identify your pet in case you are separated. Give your alternate caregiver a copy of the photo and keep another in your emergency kit.
Who will take care of your pets if you are not home?
Develop a backup “Pet Buddy Plan” with neighbors, friends or relatives to care for or evacuate your pets for you in advance of any disaster. Make sure everyone knows where your emergency kit is located, and plan in advance on where to meet- somewhere close by, if possible during the emergency, and another place further away to use if needed. Keep Bradfordville Animal Hospital’s name and number handy, so we can be contacted for boarding or emergency care, and make sure we have your alternate caregiver on file to authorize treatment and the release of medical information.
We all hope it is never needed, but unfortunately, hurricanes in Florida are a reality. This is just a partial list of things to consider in the event of an emergency or disaster. We’ve listed more resources below to help you set up your own disaster plan.
Remember if it’s not safe and you need to evacuate, it’s not safe for your furry family either!
Fred Steverson, DVM
June 1, 2016
Links for more information:
- Humane Society
- Pet Friendly Hotels
- Bring Fido, Tallahassee
- Pets Welcome, Tallahassee
- Be Ready for Disaster
- ASPCA Disaster Preparedness
- CDC: Pets and Disasters
- AVMA Disaster Booklet (disaster booklet, free download)
- Bradfordville Animal Hospital Emergency Kit: stop by and pick yours up today.