Although Florida’s hurricane season lasts only six months out of the year—June 1 to November 30—being prepared for a potential natural disaster can save you from panic and heartache. As a pet owner, you must ensure your furry pal remains safe during a disaster, especially when hurricane season comes blowing in. Tropical storms and hurricanes can ratchet up quickly, leaving little time to reach your pet and evacuate. Follow the Groves Veterinary Clinic team’s six tips to ensure you and your four-legged friend will be safe.
#1: Microchip your pet or update their registration
If you’re separated from your pet during a hurricane or other disaster, a microchip may be the only way to ensure a happy reunion. The only permanent identification form, a microchip cannot fall off, be removed, or run out of batteries. Microchips have no moving parts, and are made from bio-compatible components, so you don’t have to worry about malfunctions or replacement. However, if your phone number or address changes, you must contact the microchip registration company to update your information. Keeping your pet’s microchip registration information up to date is imperative, so you can be reached. If your pet is not already microchipped, schedule a quick appointment with our team. Inserting a microchip takes no more time than administering a vaccination, and your pet will likely barely notice the simple procedure.
#2: Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are current
During an emergency situation, you may be forced to evacuate without warning, and you may need to board your pet along your evacuation route. Boarding facilities require current vaccinations to protect pets from infectious disease, and you likely won’t have time to schedule a wellness visit to ensure your pet is up to date before needing emergency boarding. Ensure boarding facilities won’t turn your pet away by keeping them current on necessary vaccinations. Have copies of your pet’s vaccination records on hand, as well as an electronic copy as a backup.
#3: Stock up on your pet’s medications
Avoid waiting until your pet is on their last thyroid supplement pill before calling in a refill. During a hurricane, we may close and evacuate our team before you’re able to reach our hospital, or you may need to evacuate yourself, with no time to scramble to pick up your pet’s medication. Be prepared for any catastrophe by keeping at least a week’s supply of your pet’s medication on hand.
#4: Create a pet first aid kit
Your own first aid kit likely contains most of the supplies necessary for a pet first aid kit, but pets need a few additional items. Double check that your first aid kit is well-stocked with the following essentials:
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Gauze rolls
- Adhesive medical tape
- Vet wrap, a self-adhesive bandage wrap
- Non-stick pads for wound bandaging
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Disposable gloves
- Styptic powder for torn nails
- Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment (e.g., plain Neosporin)
- Antiseptic wash or wipes
- Saline eye solution
- Artificial tears ointment
- Blunt-ended scissors
- Oral syringe
- Small flashlight
- Ice and hot packs
Check first aid kits quarterly to ensure no supplies have expired, and nothing is running low.
#5: Stash your pet’s emergency supplies in a grab-and-go container
In addition to packing your pet’s first aid kit, store all your pet’s supplies in a waterproof container. Include the following items:
- A seven-day food supply
- A seven-day water supply
- Food and water bowls
- Spare leash and harness or collar
- Waste bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Disposable litter trays
- Long-lasting treats or toys
- Vaccination records
- Current color photograph of your pet
#6: Plan a pet-friendly evacuation route
Not all hotels are pet-friendly, and finding room at a boarding facility when you are fleeing a hurricane can be tough. Prepare in advance by choosing your most likely evacuation route, and finding facilities that will accept your entire family, furred or not. Search websites like BringFido to find pet-friendly hotels, rentals, and bed-and-breakfasts along your route. BringFido helps you find not only a place to stay, but also the nearest emergency veterinary hospitals and pet-related businesses.
The best way to ensure your pet is prepared for hurricane season is staying up to date on their preventive care. Through regular wellness visits, you can help your furry pal remain in tip-top shape and prepared to take on anything, including an emergency evacuation. Keep your pet current on vaccinations and preventive care by contacting our Groves Veterinary Clinic team for an appointment.