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Hurricane Preparedness & Recovery for Pet Owners

Oct 19, 2022

Preparing for a hurricane is stressful enough on its own. When you have pets to take care of, it can add another level of difficulty to coming up with a plan. Despite how complicated it is to get ready for a big storm, taking these proactive steps will be well worth the time and effort.

Plan for your pets’ safety the same way you would your family members. Have all your pet supplies organized and a pet-friendly route to safety planned. Being ready ahead of time will help you, your family, and your pets get through a hurricane as smoothly as possible.

Below, we’ll cover a few tips for hurricane preparedness and recovery for pet owners.

Early Hurricane Preparedness For Pets

Some elements of hurricanes can be unpredictable. You can’t plan for everything that comes your way, but taking early precautions can reduce the chances of running into avoidable dangers.

Creating a plan of action to use when you’re facing a hurricane involves a few steps if you have pets. Much like preparing your human family for a hurricane, preparing your pet means having everything they need organized and accessible.

Let’s cover the basic elements of a Hurricane Preparedness Plan.

Emergency Supplies

Pack anything your pet might need in an emergency situation, including:

  • First aid supplies that are appropriate for pets
  • Your pet’s medications
  • Food & Bowls
  • Water
  • Litter Supplies
  • Pee Pads
  • Bedding
  • Leashes & Harnesses
  • Identification & Photos

Additionally, it might be helpful to download an app that provides pet owners with emergency information. This way, you’ll have instructions to refer to if you need to provide fast first aid.

Health Precautions

Before the arrival of a hurricane, make sure your pet has seen his or her veterinarian. A check-up can ensure the animal is in ideal health and has current vaccines. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet. This can add another level of safety.

Evacuation Arrangements

If evacuation becomes necessary, you’ll want to know how you will get to a safe area ahead of time. It’s important to know at least two different routes you can take from your home to your evacuation point. As you plan where you will be going, it’s also important to double-check that the area is pet-friendly.

  • Get Medical/Family Contacts Organized: Keep the contact information of anyone you may need to ask for help up to date and available.
  • Have Pet Emergency Sticker on Your Front Door: If a team arrives to help you evacuate, this sticker can provide them with the information they need to help your pets.
  • Have Harnesses & Carriers Ready: If the need to evacuate arises, place your pets in carriers or keep them harnessed to avoid the risk of the animal getting separated from you.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re suddenly forced to evacuate, leaving your pet behind is inadvisable. When your home is deemed unsafe for you, it’s unsafe for your pet as well. You may not be able to return home for days or even weeks, and your pet won’t be able to manage at home on their own.

dog in the rain with owner

Backup Plans

Don’t wait until the last minute to come up with a backup plan. If your initial plan falls through, plan out where you’re going to go. If you can’t reach your original destination, its crucial to have a back up plan ready to execute, with as many details in place as you can. Research the animal boarding facilities that you might need to contact. It’s also helpful to have a list of care instructions ready to provide to your pet’s caregiver.

Remaining at Home

If you’re staying home during the hurricane, be sure to prepare your property. To wait out the storm as safely as possible, designate a safe room in your home that’s free from chemical hazards or falling dangers. Keep everything you need at home. If your pet becomes anxious, keep him or her in their kennel or carrier to keep them from running away in fear or confusion.

During the Hurricane

When a hurricane approaches your area, stick to the plan you’ve created. If you’re staying home, bring your pets inside and secure them in a safe area (ex: a carrier). Once you’re in your designated area, stay there unless you have to leave for safety reasons.

Stay near your pets and try to keep them calm throughout the storm. This may be easier said than done, but placing a blanket over your pet’s carrier, petting and talking to the animal, and providing them with anxiety relief should help.

Anxiety relief could include your pet’s anxiety medication or high-quality CBD oil supplements made to treat anxiety in animals.

Listen to the National Hurricane Center or your local weather service for announcements and monitor your pet as the storm passes.

Hurricane Recovery for Pet Owners

When you’re sure that the hurricane has passed, it’s essential to examine your pet for signs of injury or illness. Check for wounds on the animal, especially around the face or paws.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for strange behavior and contact a veterinarian if you’re concerned about how your pet is acting.

Keeping your pet leashed for some time following the hurricane is recommended. The environment around the area you took shelter in may be littered with hazardous materials. As such, leashing can keep your pet from getting hurt.

Check your yard for potential dangers as well. This way, you can gradually enhance your area’s safety and make it so that when you do let your pet off the leash, they’ll not run into harm.

Keep in mind, the storm was likely just as stressful and frightening for your pet as it was for you. Do your best to provide support and security. Work with your pet to help them overcome the discomfort they’re dealing with after facing a destructive storm.

Reach out for help if you need it. During and after hurricanes, several animal welfare organizations extend resources and aid to pet owners who were affected.

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