Before the Storm
Don’t let your pets become afterthoughts in your emergency preparedness planning and have their physical identification handy.
- “Do everything for your dog or your cat that you would do for yourself. The supplies you need to survive, get the supplies they need to survive,” said Lauree Simmons, President and Founder, Big Dog Ranch.
- “A lot of times people don’t make their own plans far enough in advance so suddenly they’re panicking about getting themselves ready and the pets end up being secondary,” said Rich Anderson, Executive Director & CEO, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.
- “Make sure your dogs or cats are microchipped. That’s number one,” said Pat Deshong, President, Furry Friends.’
Pre-identify hotels or shelters that accept pets and their specific requirements to shelter your pet. You’ll most likely need their health records and proof of vaccinations.
- “If you are going to take your pet with you, know where you are going to go. Find out ahead of time which hotels are dog friendly,” said Simmons.
- Only a few storm shelters on the Treasure Coast and in Palm Beach take pets so you may have to make alternate plans. “Call the boarding places now,” Simmons said.
- “Most boarding places will not take your pet if you don’t have a copy of your pet being current on vaccines,” said Simmons.
- Deshong recommends keeping copies of their records on your phone, “Take pictures of it, absolutely, that’s the easiest thing you could do.”
Crate train in advance for their safety and calming comfort.
- In case of an emergency evacuation, “Now is the time to get them used to using a crate,” said Anderson.
- “…Put a treat in [the crate] and make them start to feel that it’s their home… it’s their safe place,” said Deshong.
- If tensions from the storm are high, your pet is calmer, “Put maybe your t-shirt with your scent on it in there so they feel comfortable,” Deshong said.
For highly agitated animals, consider a Thunder vest to ease stress.
- A thunder vest provides soothing comfort similar to a hug or playful embrace as your pet is absorbing the sounds of thunder and lightning of a hurricane or tropical storm.
During The Storm
Your pet is going to have relieve itself.
- When it’s time to go outside, “Some people put grass in their shower stall when they are about to hunker down,” said Anderson.
- “Sometimes you can even set up a little area in your home. Like, put the fake grass there in case something like that happens or if you have a screened-in patio,” said Deshong.
Take all precautions to avoid deserting your pet.
- Deshong said, “They’re family members, please don’t do that, please please.”
- “Bad pet owners leave their dogs,” said Simmons who rescued an abandoned animal during a hurricane. “Somebody had tied a dog to a fence, and the water was rising around the fence near the canal, they were concerned the dog was going to drown. And I just thought ‘what heartless person could leave this dog in this situation?’
After The Storm
Have photos of you and your pet together.
“I know that many times we will have an animal, like a stray, that will come and we will have an owner that will want to claim it, we need proof,” said Deshong.
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