Hurricane season is officially effective June 1st. Each year the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center states their predictions of how many named storms the year will have and how many will be full hurricanes. For 2012 there is a chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). As stated in their May press release. With hurricane season in full flow, now is a critical time for pet owners to mark their checklist and get supplies. As individuals who live in Hurricane-prone areas know, being prepared is everything. Having an emergency kit and evacuation plan is crucial to ensure your family’s safety. However, many forget to include their pets in this plan.
Precautionary measures need to be taken to ensure the well-being of pets during emergencies, just like humans. As we have seen in the past, many household pets become strays due to their owner’s inability to properly shelter them during storms – all due to a lack of preparedness. There are simple steps you can take before a storm is pending, that will ensure your pet is safe and secure during an emergency. Below, please find a series of tips on this topic that was compiled with the help from Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, and Tobi Skovron, CEO and Founder of The Pet Loo.
1. Do your research before it is necessary – Many evacuation shelters are NOT pet friendly; find shelters nearby before a storm occurs in which both you and your pet are welcome. Also search out hotels along your evacuation route that are pet friendly.
2. Prepare your pet for departure – Don’t feed your pet at least two hours before departure. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip. If possible, put ice cubes in the water tray attached to the inside of your pet’s travel case – water will spill! They can lick the ice cube for water.
3. Like owner, like pet – If you’re going to need it during an emergency, chances are your pet will need it as well. Important documents pertaining to vaccinations or medications will be crucial in making sure your pet can stay at a shelter. These documents will help you find the proper shelter or hotel in case of evacuation.
4. Think ahead – Even when you first get your pet, getting a microchip could be the difference between keeping him/her safe and making them a stray. Microchips allow for veterinarians to scan lost animals to determine their identity so that they are safely returned home. Make sure you include your local animal shelter’s number in your list of emergency numbers. They might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
5. Pack necessities for up to a week – Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. Water for your pet is crucial, so plan on enough. Never allow Fido to drink water immediately after a storm as chemicals and bacteria could be abundant in tap water. If you feed dry food, it is good to have an extra bag of food on hand.
6. Portable potties or indoor potties – Particularly with the stronger category storms, it is NOT safe to let your dogs or cats out to go potty. Reasons for this include: storm surges (walls of water up to 20 feet high), winds in excess of 74 mph (for the weakest hurricanes), inland flooding and power lines down. Keeping your pet inside and having an indoor toilet solution for dogs and cats with the Pet Loo means you have one less dangerous element to worry about during a storm. While traveling in the car, using a Pet Loo with its Pee-Pod will absorb urine and turn a liquid into a non-odorous, solidified gel that will hold at least 100 times its weight in liquids. This will also prevent sloshing of urine in the catch basin while the vehicle is in motion.
7. Provide your pet with a home away from home – Like people, pets tend to become stressed when their safety is at risk. Bring their favorite toys, always have a leash and collar on hand for their safety, and a comfortable bed or cage for proper security. If your pet is prone to anxiety, prepare him/her with a natural stress-relieving medication or spray to help ease them in times of emergency.
8. I.C.E – No, not the frozen kind – it stands for “In Case of Emergency.” If your pet is lost or runs away during an emergency, bring information that will help others find him/her like recent photos of your pet, behavioral characteristics or traits. These can help others identify your pet and return them safely to you.
9. Ease pets back home – Don’t allow Fido to run back into your home or even your neighborhood once you and your family have returned. Your once familiar home could be disheveled and/or changed, and this can potentially disorient and stress your pet. Keep your pet on a leash and safely ease him/her back home. Make sure they are not eating or picking up anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as downed wires or water that could be contaminated.
Go to the Animal Rescue Site and click the purple paw print to help feed shelter animals for FREE. In 2011 they helped to provide shelters with over 68 million bowls of food, from just a click a day from people like you.
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