Keeping Our Pets Safe: Protecting Our Pets In Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Pets being rescued in hurricane aftermath

What About Pets In Hurricanes?

During the last couple of weeks, Americans have been in a constant level of preparation and awareness caused by the threat of multiple hurricanes. With the PetMio team located in South Florida, we wanted to give you some tips for how to handle a pets in hurricanes.

Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane since Wilma in 2005 to make landfall in the United States. The storm hit eastern Texas with over 40 inches of rain during a 4-day period. Harvey created catastrophic damages through immense flooding and strong winds.

Now the states of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas prepare themselves for Hurricane Irma. The newest serious storm is expected to make landfall in South Florida on Saturday September 9th and potentially cause as much, or perhaps more damages than Hurricane Harvey did in Texas.

While most people prepare themselves by boarding up their houses, filling up their gas tanks, and having enough supplies such as water and non-perishable food available, it is important for pet parents to remember about the safety of our friendly companions.

Here are some tips and information, which can become useful during the upcoming storm and any potential natural disasters that we may encounter in the future.

Do Not Leave Your Pet Behind

As some of the pictures that came out of Texas during Harvey indicate, some people decided to leave their pets chained outdoors while they themselves evacuated. Thanks to some good Samaritans, many of these pets were rescued and sent to safety, but it is unsure if all were rescued.

Ask neighbors and family members if they can take in your pets if you cannot find a shelter that allows pets. Also, there are emergency shelters that do allow pets, so make sure you identify those first and choose to stay there.

If you have the means, you can also look at hotels, AirBnB, or VRBO options that accept pets. Many hotel chains will waive the pet fee during such emergency times. When in doubt, make sure you call these accommodations and your local animal services office for up-to-date information.

Remember to stay calm while you prepare. Animals often take stress cues from situations and humans around them. You can help calm them down by being calm yourself.

Pets’ Basic Needs

It is important to think about our pet’s basic needs such as food, water, and medication if the pets require them.

As a rule of thumb, it is important to have a minimum of 5 days’ supply of food, for 3 times a day feeding. You do not need to feed your pet that many times a day, but it is important to make sure you have enough food, since it may be unknown how long the storm or natural disaster may last for.

When it comes to water, make sure you have enough clean water held in a container that it is meant for your pet only, to avoid contamination and potential illnesses. Remember that the water filtration system may not work properly during emergency times, and the water out of the faucet may not be clean enough to be consumed by your pet.

Lastly, remember that your pet is used to a daily routine, so make sure you have pet litter, doggie bags, and “pee pads” that will make your pet more comfortable during those moments.

Documentation and Records

During emergencies, it is more likely that some pets may get separated from their pet parents. Therefore, it is important that your pet has the important documentation that will allow you to get back to one another once everything goes back to normal.

Have available registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents, as well as medical records; if your pet has a microchip, make sure the pet is enrolled in a recovery database.

Collars or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash are also important items to identify your pet and get them back to you as soon as possible. We have heard from first responders to Harvey that animals without collars are typically not seen with as much compassion as pets with collars. They are definitely less likely to be intentionally rescued with the intention of being reunited with owners, typically viewed as strays.

Lastly, make sure you have a physical picture of your pet, and one of your pet and you together, which can come handy if cell phones are off and/or the internet is not available.

Stay Calm

Emergency situations such as the upcoming hurricane can be inconvenient, scary, and dangerous. As pet parents, it is important that we think about our safety, and the safety of our pets.

They don’t necessarily understand what a category 5 hurricane is, but they will forever thank you and love you for keeping them safe.

Please stay safe, and good luck to everyone from the PetMio family!