Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hurricane Season 2013: 5 tips to prepare your pet

It's that time of year again!

Depending on who you pay attention to, we are expecting up to 20 named storms (NOAA) or up to 18 named storms (Dr. William Gray from Colorado State University). Either way, we are bracing for a pretty active storm season. Even if not every storm is the big one, if it comes to our shores, it will have an impact in that area.

Last year I wrote a pretty detailed post on preparing and dealing with the aftermath of a storm when it comes to your pets. You can read that post here.

Today, I'm going to boil it all down to FIVE important things to remember for hurricane season. Here they are:
  1. Have all your paperwork together in a water-proof case. Latest rabies and other vaccine information, microchip info, and tag info, vet info, any other paperwork you need for your pet. Have it ready to go if you need to leave for any reason. It will help in making sure you can get your pet into whatever shelter you take, be it a hotel or an emergency shelter. 

    By the way, shelters can change, be closed or moved. The best way to know where the pet friendly shelters are near you is to ask your area's emergency operations center. Many counties and cities have them.
  2. While we're at it? Is your pet microchipped? Collars and tags can come off. If you are separated from your pet, having that pet microchipped with your address and contact info makes it easier for rescue workers to know that this is someone's pet, and that, hopefully, you will be looking for them.
  3. Make yourself a storm kit for your pet. Food, bowls, clean water, toys, a blanket or something that is comforting, medicine, collar, leash (NOT EXTENDABLE), rain gear, crate.

    If you are getting gallons of fresh water for yourself, make sure you pick some up for your pet too. You might want to stick with dry food, since if a storm hits you may be without water or power, so you won't be able to wash a dish or keep wet food refrigerated.

    If the pet's medicine needs to be kept cool, find a way to do it. actually sells medicine coolers, special travel bags designed to keep medicine cool. Some are simply small insulated bags meant for insulin... some are more elaborate. 
  4. Keep your pet calm and happy during the storm. Now is a great time to check out a Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap if your pet has a problem with storms. It may help them stay calm. You can also try calming aids and essences. Your vet might be willing to prescribe meds if it's really bad.

    You and your pet may be stuck inside a day, maybe more (Hurricanes Frances and Jean in 2004 lasted at least two days each. I'll never forget it). You may not be able to take your dog out. Find a spot for pee pads and make sure your dog knows this is where they go. Or make sure, if you have a cat, you have extra litter.

    But also, keep them distracted. Treat balls and puzzles are great for this. It gives them a way to exercise their minds and gets them tired. Just remember that whatever kind of  activity you do, during a storm you want to keep away from windows. It's safest.
  5. After the storm, be careful where your pet goes. Your backyard may not be the safest place for your pet to be alone after a storm. You don't know necessarily what debris is in your backyard, or if there are holes in any fencing, and there will be standing water, which leads to more bugs, on top of being enticing to play in or drink. It's best to watch your pet until you know all dangers have been removed.
Lulu during a storm. She's usually calmer than I am.

Above all, stay calm. If you stay calm, your pet will be calmer. And, if you come out of a storm in good shape, think of your neighbors and see how they might need help. It quickens the recovery, and strengthens communities.

Stay safe!


  1. And it's not a bad idea to know where the pet-friendly shelters are before evacuation becomes necessary.

    1. Right. The state's probably have the most up to date lists.


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