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Tips for Evacuating with Your Pets During a Hurricane & Extreme Weather

Most of us are prepared for emergencies to some degree. Perhaps you have a “go-bag” in your home, or a safety kit in your car. One of the most important elements of a safety plan is to get you and your family out of the dangerous situation, and this should always include evacuating with pets.

What to do with your pets during a hurricane

Pets and hurricanes can be a scary combination, so it’s extra important to keep your fur babies safe during an emergency. If you’re unsure of what to do with your pets in an emergency, now is the best time to create a plan. Evacuating with pets is more complicated than just putting them in the car and getting out of town. You should create a pet evacuation plan so you are prepared for emergencies.

Create a pet evacuation plan

While pet evacuation plans may look different based on the type of pets you have, they should all include where your pets will stay and how they will get there. Just like their pawrents, pets can get anxious. Look out for anxiety symptoms in your dog in emergency situations. Cats will also likely become anxious, try to calm them down before traveling.

Other aspects to consider:

  • Ensure your pet has an ID tag and a microchip.
  • Have a current photo of your pet on your phone (we know this won’t be a problem for any pawrent!)
  • Purchase a pet carrier, and practice getting your pet in and out of it at home. The carrier should have your name and contact information, as well as your pet’s name.
  • Ensure you have extra leashes and harnesses on hand.
  • Identify pet friendly shelters so you’re ready if the time comes when you have to stay in one.
  • Have a backup plan that includes designated caregivers who can look after your pets if you’re unable.
  • Separate dogs and cats into their own carriers. Extreme situations can cause anxiety in animals, and they may lash out at each other even if they typically get along.
  • Place a rescue alert sticker near the front door of the house. The sticker should include information on any pets that live in the house. This can save pets’ lives in the event of a fire or flood.
  • Do not expose your pet to extreme temperatures (hot or cold). This is especially important when traveling in a car.
  • Prepare your pet emergency kit (details below).

What items you need when evacuating with your pet

Pet emergency kits should include everything they will need for the duration of two weeks.

  • Food
  • Bottled water
  • Food and water bowls
  • Pet carriers
  • Medical records
  • Medications (if applicable)
  • Poop bags
  • Kitty litter
  • Any comfort items your pet might need (like a bed, blanket, or toy)
  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Flashlight

Hotels and pets during hurricanes

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate home location to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Even hotels with a no pet policy sometimes waive that during an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly venues handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order, plan ahead!

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