With hurricane season rolling in there are some things to keep in mind when it refers to our Pets.
1. The Storm Itself – Let’s face it, all animals are scared of the loud thunder and lightning associated with Hurricanes. Make sure to get those animals Indoors & in a safe place when you know a storm is coming, most dogs get spooked by the thunder and will run off!
2. Microchip & Rabies tags – Every year make sure you are up to date when it comes to the Rabies shots. If your pet gets loose and then picked up by animal control, a rabies tag will tell them that they are safe to be around and they can track it back to you and let you know they have your pet. The same goes for microchip ping. If animal control picks him/her up they do a scan with a hand held device and they immediately know your info to get you guys reconnected.
3. Comforting Your Pet – during the storm remember your pet is going to be very antsy to say the least. Make sure to give them reassuring attention to calm them down and a couple of treats couldn’t hurt. Depending on the size of your animal you can hold them or sit with them to keep them calm. Finally of your dog is especially effected by storms gets them a calming type jacket. These are designed to calm them down by making them feel like they are in a big hug!
4. Have A Plan – if during the storm you encounter flooding or power loss have a plan to deal with it. Even just a list of items that you can use for each potential situation is a good start. For Flooding you will need a crate to transport the animal in the car I’m case you have to evacuate. If you have a really big animal then you know to get them to a vehicle fast because they will probably be to big to carry, or you might have a baby, or wife/husband that already takes up that spot!
If you get in the middle if a storm and have none of this at-least thought out you can be in serious trouble fast! From trying to track down a loose animal and all the stress that comes with that, to frantically running around trying to get things ready fast and forgetting something, it can get real crazy real fast!!
5. Bug Out Bags – Wr covered making one of these earlier and now would be the time to put it to use. If you have to leave hone just strap it on your pet or throw it Into the car and you know you have atleast the essentials for 72 hours. You should also have one for every member of your family including human items meeting the same needs. Most important for a hurricane are Food, Water, a Poncho & Entertainment.
6.Debris Everywhere – when leaving home during a storm or while cleaning up the aftermath keep in mind that limbs, boards, nails, glass, etc could be everywhere. Before you let your pet out and everything goes back to normal make sure you go around their outdoor area and rid it of these things. Most likely the power will be out or a veterinarian’s office won’t be open and a little picking up can save you a lot of stress (and money), and allow you to focus on bigger things.
7.Pet First Aid Kit – this is very important. While a few things from a human first aid kit can be used on pets most things are not transferable. From special bandages to medicine to clamping spray, etc you should create a pets only first aid kit. You can take this as far as you want from just the basic animal bandages and wound cream, all the way to Dog antibiotics and nail clippers and blood clotting agents it can, (much like a human first aid kit), can get pretty specialized if you want it to. I will do a post on creating a basic first Aid Kit for Pets in my next activity post.
8. Water – Just like for us people, the animals are going to need fresh water. I know what your thinking “who needs to stock water in a hurricane or flood?!” Well the problem is the once the water hits the ground it gets combined with dirt, debris, bacteria, etc and it’s not for for consumption by anyone or animal! Again this should be in your B.O.B. But in a pinch or if you are caught unaware it’s a good idea to keep a few bottled waters. On the trunk of your car or just a gallon jug will do. I would consider 1 – 16oz bottled water per day would be enough per animal that’s less than 20lbs. This can be altered to fit your pet, and it’s easy to figure out, just keep track of how much water you give them a day then add another cup or 2. If you feed your animals wet food keep in mind that they do get some hydration from that but kit enough to sully rely on it by itself.
9. Shelter – part of your plan should include a place to “Bug Out” to in case you have to leave home. Once you have a sheltering place locked down, (a relatives house, bunker, cabin in the woods, etc), take your pet there and let them become familiar with it. This will make a world of difference to them in a state of emergency. Along with them being more comfortable they will be less likely to run off by accident due to curious smells or sights, while your unloading the car or getting every living being inside the shelter. Coupled with that if they do get loose or lost, and they are familiar with the area, they can make it back to you themselves! Cats have been known to walk many miles back to an old dwelling after you have moved because they don’t understand.
10. Equaint yourself with the Shelters & Staff – one day make it a point to goto the shelter in your area where your animal would end up if lost. You would be very surprised at how far just introducing yourself to the staff of the animal shelter or the animal control person you see in your neighborhood. If they know you and your pets they can get you guys back together faster and they know that you live your animal and are probably out there searching for them. This step could take as little as 20 minutes and could save you hours of looking and your pet from getting lost in an event that a bunch of animals come in at once during the storm.
I hope these tips give you a good starting point for your Preps in dealing with hurricanes/tornados, when it comes to your animals. A simple plan can prevent everything from having the supplies you need for a couple days to preventing your pet from falling through the cracks at the shelter! Also see the posts about Bug Out Bags for Pets & First Aid kits for Pets for more info on getting ahead of the game!