Keep Your Pets Safe During a Hurricane: Have a Plan

May 29, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
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"Have a current photo of all pets in case they get lost during the storm."

When a hurricane threatens you and your family, be sure to also make plans to keep your pets safe.

Before there is a need to evacuate your home due to a hurricane, you should make sure that your pets are all current on their vaccinations. Pets that will be boarded will need proof of current vaccinations at many pet shelters. Work out where your pet will stay during the storm if you have to evacuate.

Check with family and friends who are not in the path of the storm to see if they can keep your pets. If there is no one who can help, you can check with specialized pet shelters, veterinary clinics or animal control shelters. Once you find someone who can care for your pets, work the location where you will drop them off into your evacuation route.

Have a current photo of all pets in case they get lost during the storm. Make sure they are wearing a collar that has all of their current identification on it.

You should prepare an emergency pet supply kit so it will be ready in an emergency. The kit should contain a pet carrier for each animal, identification, immunization records, medication, supply of food and water, a muzzle, collar and leash. Make sure to mark all of the supplies with your pets identification information.

When severe weather threatens, bring your pets inside well before the storm begins. Remain calm, and calm your pets if they become agitated. Call ahead to confirm your selected pet shelter is still able to care for your pet.

Once the storm has passed and you return home, it is important to remember that your pet's surroundings may have been changed by the storm. Familiar scents and landmarks may no longer be there. The pet can easily become confused or lost.

You should walk all pets on a leash until they are able to reorient themselves. This will also help keep them safe from hazards such as downed power lines, debris and reptiles that may have been brought in by high water.

If your pet becomes lost during the storm, call your local animal control office for information on where lost pets can be claimed. Bring your pet's photo with you for easier identification.

Plan for your pet's safe evacuation before an emergency arises to ensure a smooth and easy evacuation process.


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