A hurricane often arrives with little warning, so having a plan in place to protect yourself and your family is essential. Pets are important family members and must be included in your family’s emergency preparedness plan. Our team at Groves Veterinary Clinic answers your most frequent questions to ensure you and your pet are ready for the unexpected.
Question: How can I ensure my pet is prepared?
Groves Veterinary Clinic (GVC): Developing an emergency plan is the best way to ensure you and your pet are prepared for any type of natural disaster. Then, you will be able to act quickly and calmly during the event. Spend time before hurricane season creating a safety plan for multiple scenarios, and frequently review and update the plan as needed. Your plan should include:
- An evacuation plan that includes your pet — If you are ordered to evacuate before a hurricane, the order includes your pet. Check ahead for accommodation—many shelters and hotels do not allow pets, so you will need to research pet-friendly lodging. You may have friends and family who will care for your pet if you are evacuated. Whatever you decide, never leave your pet behind, because they likely will be traumatized and may run away and become lost or injured.
- Emergency contact information — Your plan should also include contact information and directions to emergency veterinary hospitals and pet-related businesses along your evacuation route. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records on hand should they need veterinary attention.
Q: Does my pet really need to be microchipped?
GVC: Microchipping your pet is one of the best ways to ensure that you are reunited if you become separated in an emergency. They should always wear a secure collar with current identification, but a collar and tags can fall off or become illegible, while a microchip is permanent. If your pet is not already microchipped, contact Groves Veterinary Clinic now to schedule this safe, fast, and effective procedure that gives your pet an added layer of protection. If your pet is already microchipped, ensure your contact information in the microchip registration database is up-to-date.
Q: What should I include in a pet emergency kit?
GVC: In an emergency, you need to move fast, so gather and store your pet’s essential items where they can be accessed quickly. A pet emergency kit should include:
- Veterinary records
- Recent pet photographs
- Two-week food and water supply
- Travel bowls
- Two-week pet medication supply
- Leash, harness, and collar
- Litter and litter box for cats
- Pet carrier
- Pet first aid kit
- Pet bed
- Your pet’s favorite toys and treats
- Cleaning and disposal supplies
Review your pet emergency kit regularly to ensure the contents, such as food and medicine, are fresh.
Q: How can I practice evacuating with my pet?
GVC: Once your evacuation plan is in place, spend time practicing the plan to ensure you can leave calmly and smoothly in case of an evacuation. Practice the following:
- Leashing your pet quickly
- Ensuring you pack everything your family and your pet need
- Putting them in their pet carriers
- Traveling in the car with your pet
Involve the whole family when you practice, ensuring everyone has a role and everyone is involved in the emergency evacuation.
Q: How can I support my pet if we shelter in place?
GVC: You won’t always need to evacuate for a hurricane or other disaster, so you also need a plan for staying safely at home. Your pet will need a comfortable, quiet interior area, preferably away from windows, and the following amenities, to ride out the storm:
- Their familiar carrier and comfortable bed
- Radio or a television to provide background noise
- Favorite toy(s)
- Water and a food puzzle to keep them distracted
As you complete your hurricane preparedness plan that includes your pet, remember to contact Groves Veterinary Clinic to schedule a wellness visit and ensure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and parasite preventives.