Hurricane Pet Preparedness

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The hurricane season varies from year to year so one cannot predict how strong the storms could get at a certain time or how many will hit us. They say that global warming affects the storm systems and makes them more dangerous than ever. With that in mind, it is our responsibility to get prepared in advance and make sure that the most helpless members of our families, our pets, are taken care of.

Learning from the lessons of Katrina, many people rethink they approach to emergencies. It would take somewhere from several hours to several days to prepare your pets and put everything together, but the peace of mind that will come with the feeling of preparedness will be there for a long time.

There are some specific things (in addition to getting an emergency supply kit) we could take from Katrina and make sure that next time we know how to protect our four-legged friends when the hurricanes struck.

  • Watch the news carefully. Hurricanes are known to change speed and direction at a momentís notice and you need to know immediately if your area is in its path. Sometimes your petsí behavior will give you a clue. Cats and dogs are known to sense tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis hours before they come.
  • If you donít have a basement or know your home wonít withstand a wind force of more than 60m/hr or a possible flood, determine how many hours you will spend in the house before evacuating. It may take hours or days, so make sure you have adequate supplies of water, food and pet medications.
  • Put your animals in one room where it is easy for you to care and pack them if you have to run out. Also, pets get scared easily by strong winds and thunderstorms and you donít want to go on an all-house search to locate them. Make sure you bring their favorite toys, along with a litter box (will work for dogs in an emergency, too).
  • Many people forget that sometimes rain and wind precede a tornado or a hurricane. In that case you will need to leave the house and have your pets protected from the rain and wind on your way to the car or a shelter. Wrap your carrier with a blanket or have a towel/blanket on hand to dry your pet off when you are safely inside.
  • As most shelters wonít be able to take in pets, ask if they have any adjacent premises that you can use to build up a tent for your pets. In some areas local schools allow to use one or two classrooms for a make-shift animal shelter during an emergency. Put the tarp on the floor for easy removal afterwards. You can fit many crates and carriers if the need arises.

Hurricane season takes place every year. Be responsible and take some steps to minimize the risk to your pets as much as possible. For more emergency preparedness related information please visit