ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane season begins in June, but it’s important to get your storm preparations taken care of before a potential system threatens the Orlando area. Aside from preparing your home, self and children, it’s important to make sure your pets are well-prepared in the event of an emergency.
Trupanion, a company that offers insurance for cats and dogs, offers several tips for pet owners to get prepared before then, and according to the company, it all starts with creating a list.
Make a list
Create a checklist of all the things you need to do and have it in order before a storm is expected to arrive. Having the list will make it easier to ensure you don't miss anything, and starting early will help you make sure you have enough time to cross off the important items, since many people will be scrambling right beforehand.
Among the items on your list should be a reminder to microchip your pet and update their identification tags. In the event your beloved pet gets lost in an emergency, having them microchipped will make it easier for anyone who finds them to know where to take him or her in an effort to get them home safely. Updating the information on their tags can also make it easy for whoever finds your pet to have the information needed to contact you directly. Ask your veterinarian or local pet store employees for tips on how to make sure your pet's info is up to date.
According to Trupanion, one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure the safety of your pet is prepare an emergency kit. Here is a list of items they suggest you include:
- Food – Several days’ worth of your pet’s food will help bridge the gap before you are able to purchase more. Your pet will already be in a stressed state, so keeping their diet as consistent as possible will be important.
- Water – During a natural disaster, clean water may be at a premium, so stock up on bottled water.
- Collar with ID tag and leash – During an emergency, your pet may have the instinct to flee. Having an extra collar and leash are important to make sure you are able to secure your pet, and ID tags should always be attached in case the pet gets free.
- Medicines – If your pet is on any medication for existing medical problems, it’s important to have at least a few days’ to a week’s worth in your emergency kit to cover you until you are able to get to a veterinarian.
- Medical records and other important documents in a waterproof container – Keeping a copy of all medical records and other important documents (including purebred papers or city registration papers) in an emergency kit will ensure that any veterinarian you need to see will have a detailed history of your pet and you are able to clearly prove ownership in case there is a question.
- Favorite things – Pets can sense stress, so to keep them as comfortable as possible, include items that are familiar to them — such as toys, treats or blankets that smell like home.
Of course, it's important to make sure all of these things can travel in the event that you have to evacuate your home. If it's easier, put together a separate kit that you can take with you if you have to leave.
If you do have to leave home with your prepared travel kit, be sure to include important medical and ownership documentation for your pet. To make it easier, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers a free app that allows pet owners to store the records they'll need to board their pet at evacuation shelters. The app also includes a disaster preparedness checklist. Click here to download it.
In addition to your kit and important records, Trupanion recommends you have a carrier accessible, since pets tend to be crated during their stays in shelters. Oh, and be sure to remember your pet itself!
If you don't want to board your pet, you should have a backup plan arranged with family or friends willing to care for your pet. In the event you choose to send your pet to stay with loved ones to ride out the storm, experts recommend you include the essentials listed above when packing, as well as feeding instructions, veterinary and emergency vet contacts, any medications, special habits or toys and contact information to another person you trust to care for your furry family member.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30.
For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane.