Hurricane Preparedness for Pets

I live in Florida, which means from June 1st to November 30th we are subject to tropical depressions/storms/hurricanes.

For those that don’t know what they are or have gone through them, it’s a disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean that forms as it travels along and brings lots of rain, wind, storm surge (due to the wind pushing the water onshore), tornadoes/ water spouts and lightning.

It can be an frightening experience for humans, but imagine your pets.

So today, in light of the fact that the Tampa Bay area is currently under tropical storm warning I wanted to share some tips/hints and checklists that will help you keep your furry, feathered and scaled friends safe this Hurricane Season:

 

Start getting ready now

(taken from: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/)

ID your pet

Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having themmicrochipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!

Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

Put together your disaster kit

Use our checklist to assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet.

Find a safe place to stay ahead of time

Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).

Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.

Plan for your pet in case you’re not home

In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.

If you evacuate, take your pet

Rule number one: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Pledge to take your pet with you when disaster strikes.

Rule number two: Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

If you stay home, do it safely

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.

  • Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
  • Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
  • Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
  • If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
  • Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.

After the disaster

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

  • Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
  • If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.

Be ready for everyday emergencies

You can’t get home to your pet

There may be times that you can’t get home to take care of your pets. Icy roads may trap you at the office overnight, an accident may send you to the hospital—things happen. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements now:

  • Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
  • Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets’ feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
  • If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.

Heat wave

High temperatures can be dangerous. Learn more about hot weather safety for pets.

The electricity goes out

If you’re forced to leave your home because you’ve lost electricity, take your pets with you to a pet-friendly hotel. If it’s summer, even just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be dangerous. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.

If it’s winter, don’t be fooled by your pets’ fur coats; it isn’t safe to leave them in an unheated house.

 

Let’s start with the basic disaster kit:

 

 

hurricanelist

(taken from: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pet_disaster_preparedness_kit.html?credit=web_id354243830)

Here’s a great little video:

Additional Items to have:

 

  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Grooming items
  • Household bleach

 

You take also take the Pledge to take your pet with you.

Also helpful is a list of pet friendly places to take your animals in the event you have to evacuate:

 

 

Also for those taking care of community cats (taken from http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/feral_cats/tips/disasters_care_outdoor_cats.html?credit=web_id354243830) :

 

What to do right now

  • Create (and update) a list—complete with descriptions and photos—of all the cats in the colony you care for. After a storm, this list may help you locate displaced cats and recover those being cared for by shelters or other rescue groups.
  • Find someone who will commit to being a back-up caretaker in your absence.
  • Carry the contact information for your secondary caretaker in your wallet. Also post the information on your refrigerator or some other visible place in your home.
  • Gather and have on hand the contact information for local shelters and rescue groups. They may be able to help you locate cats who have gone missing.

What to do when bad weather threatens your community cats

  • Secure or remove objects (such as chairs, potted plants or garden utensils) in and near the colony that could become airborne during high winds or get washed away.
  • Move shelters and feeding stations to higher ground in areas that may flood. Raise shelters and feeding stations to keep them dry. You’ll find wooden shipping pallets, available at some lumber yards, are ideal for this purpose.
  • Tie shelters and feeders to permanent structures (like a fence or a sturdy tree) to anchor them, or wedge them tightly into a secure space. Be careful about placing heavy objects (e.g., bricks, boards or rocks) on top of shelters to keep them in place, as these may pose a danger in high winds.
  • Keep rain out by positioning shelters so their openings face a wall or so that the entrances of two shelters face each other, no more than a foot apart.
  • Cover shelters and feeding stations with heavy tarps to keep out driving rain. Tie tarps at an angle and extend any overhang over shelter doors so water can run off and away from shelter doors. Hammer stakes securely and/or tie the tarps to a permanent structure.
  • Leave extra dry food in covered feeding stations in case you can’t return soon, and place extra kibble inside the cats’ shelter, as far from the openings as possible. Don’t put water in the shelter—it’s important that the shelter and cats remain warm and dry.
  • Lay Mylar blankets inside the shelters for extra warmth.
  • Put portable shelters, litter boxes, food and water in an accessible shed or garage during the storm.
  • Stockpile adequate cat food, bottled water, extra batteries and flashlights.
  • If possible, trap the friendly cats and kittens young enough to be socialized prior to the storm and take them to a safe place. Don’t try to trap or contain feral cats; they are too frightened of humans to be handled.

What to do when it’s safe to return to your community cat colony

Contact your local police precinct to gain access to your colony if it’s in an area with restricted access. Then, restore a normal environment and feeding routine as soon as possible in order to help draw the cats back.

How to find the missing community cats

  • Search above ground level: The cats may have climbed high to escape flood waters.
  • Don’t panic if you can’t find all the cats at once. They are probably close but are too frightened to return to their home. Most cats will return within a week, but some may take a few weeks to come back.
  • Offer tempting foods such as canned tuna or rotisserie chicken to coax frightened cats into returning.
  • Provide government agencies and organizations assisting animals with information about cats you’re missing, and find out how to claim the cats if they’re found.
  • Search for missing cats at local shelters and find out how you can claim your cats.

How to restore order to the cats’ home

  • Be cautious of branches and other debris that may continue to fall after the storm has ended.
  • Remove broken lumber and glass, nails or other sharp objects to prevent injury and infection.
  • Repair damaged feeding stations and shelters. Rebuild shelters, if necessary. Clean out and replace wet insulation materials (straw, newspaper or linens).
  • Disinfect shelters, feeding stations and dishes if they were exposed to flood waters. Use a non-toxic, cat-safe disinfectant. (Check with your veterinarian or animal shelter to see what products are safe.)
  • Put out more fresh water than usual because standing water is probably contaminated.

What to do once you’ve found the cats

  • Check the cats for injuries or illness as thoroughly as you can. (You may only be able to examine the community cats by watching them.)
  • Trap injured or sick cats as soon as possible and get them medical care. If you need help paying for their medical care, use our community-cat resources map to find one near you or consult our “Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care?” page.

 

 

If you have anything to add please comment.

 

Thank you!

Hurricane Tips for Pet Owners

June 1st was the official beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. For all my readers living in the Southeastern U.S. this is a season we dread.

 

I wanted to share some hurricane tips for pet owners. For those who live in Florida, there is a great map from Florida Department of Emergency Management (DEM) so you can find out what Evacuation Level you live in. I live in B, so if there is a Catergory 2 or stronger, I have to get out.

 

Also there’s a tax free holiday that started on May 31 until June 8th on the following items:

The 2014 Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane Supplies will run from May 31 through June 8. Here is the official pdf from the Florida Department of Emergency Management

• A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less
• A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio selling for $50
or less
• A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less
• A self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less
• A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less
• A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less
• A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile
and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less
• A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less
• A portable generator that is used to provide light or communications or preserve
food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less
• Reusable ice selling for $10 or less

 

 

 


 

Humane Society’s Tips

TO-DO LIST FOR PROTECTING YOUR PETS IN A DISASTER

  1.  Start getting ready now
  2. ID your pet
  3. Put together your disaster kit
  4. Find a safe place to stay ahead of time
  5.  If you evacuate, take your pet
  6. If you stay home, do it safely
  7. Keep taking care even after the disaster
  8. Be ready for everyday emergencies for when you can’t get to your pet
  9. Plans aren’t just for pets

Disaster plans aren’t only essential for the safety of pets. If you’re responsible for other kinds of animals during natural disasters, disaster plans for feral or outdoor cats, horses, andanimals on farms can be life-savers.


ASPCA’s Tips are as follows:

tep 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form; please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.

Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven 

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Step 3: Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Keep an Evac-Pack and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include, or visit the ASPCA Store to buy one online)
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner.

You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

Step 4: Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.

When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

Step 5: Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.

Step 6: Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it’s crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies close at hand. Your pets may become stressed during the in-house confinement, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.

Special Considerations for Birds

  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.

Special Considerations for Reptiles

  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming device, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).

Special Considerations for Small Animals

  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week’s worth of bedding.

Even more tips from the Vet School at Louisiana State University 

 

 

WHAT TO DO:

• Don’t leave your pet at home! While most evacuations last only a few days, there are times that you may not be able to return quickly. The safest place for your pet is with you.

• If you are going to a hotel, call ahead and make sure, in advance, that animals are welcome. Many hotels relax their policies during times of crisis, but don’t assume that this will be the case. For on-line information about pet-friendly hotels, check outwww.bringyourpet.comwww.petswelcome.com, or www.pets-allowed-hotels.com.

• If you are staying with friends or family, make sure that your pets are invited as well. If not, ask for recommendations of nearby veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels and make reservations in advance.

• Be sure that your pets are up-to-date on all vaccinations and bring proof of vaccinations with you. It is a good idea to ask your veterinarian now for a copy of your pet’s vaccination record. Keep this with your emergency kit.

• If your pet is on medication, bring at least a two week supply.

• Identification of your pet is crucial! The ideal form of identification is a microchip* or a tattoo. At minimum, your pet should have a tag with his name, your name, and your phone number on it. Pictures of your pet that capture identifying features are also a good idea.

*A microchip is a tiny permanent identification tag, placed under your pet’s skin by your veterinarian. By registering your name and address with the microchip company, your pet can be scanned and instantly identified at any animal facility.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Enough pet food for one week
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Bottled water
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Rabies tag
  • Portable kennel
  • Litter box and litter for cats
  • Trash bags for stool disposal
  • Newspaper or towels for crate lining
  • Heartworm preventative
  • Flea and tick protection
  • All medications
  • For exotic pets, bring their entire habitat, including heat lamps and extension cords

Your pet’s kennel should be large enough for him to stand and turn around. Collapsible wire crates are best if your pets might be in a non-air conditioned environment for an extended period. Molded plastic airline-approved crates make for easier transport and are best for animals that don’t travel well in the car.