Here on the East Coast, we’re awaiting the wrath of Hurricane Irene. Now a category 2 storm, Irene is predicted to travel north along the East Coast throughout the weekend, possibly threatening areas from South Carolina to as far north as here in New England.
If you live in one of these impact zones, now is the time to be considering your evacuation plan, even if there is no immediate evacuation order in your area. And it’s equally important to think about your pets too – if it’s not safe for you to stay home and weather out this potentially destructive storm, it won’t be safe for your pets either.
As a veterinarian, I’ve had plenty of experience over the years helping people to prepare for the worst when it comes to their pets. Here are some tips that might help you prepare to evacuate your pet.
10 Things To Remember As You Prepare For The Storm
- Where To Go: Some evacuation shelters don’t allow pets, so contact local animal shelters, pet boarding facilities, and pet-friendly hotels in advance, or at least make a list of their contact details in case you need to relocate your pet.
- Food Supplies: Have at least a three day supply of your pet’s food ready in appropriate containers for travel. And don’t forget bowls for food and water, and food scoops too.
- Identity Tags: If your pet has an identity tag, make sure the details are up to date. And if you’ve been thinking about whether to get him one – now is the time to do so!
- Pet Carrier: This is especially important for smaller dogs and cats. A carrier will not only make it easier for you to transport your pet during an evacuation, but will also ensure that he doesn’t escape. Be sure to clearly identify his carrier with his name and a photograph of him, as well as your contact details.
- Leash: Don’t forget his leash or harness!
- Medications: If your pet requires any medications or other health supplies, be sure you have enough to last a couple of weeks, just in case you are unable to get to his veterinarian’s office. Call now for refills if necessary. Some basic first aid supplies can be useful to take along too.
- Documents: Pack important documents into a zip-lock bag. These may include vaccination records and any other important medical records that you may have for him, as well as a photograph of him, just in case he goes missing and you need to get help searching for him.
- Litter Box and Litter: If you have a cat, don’t forget his litter box. If possible buy a small one in advance for easier transport. Take at least a three day supply of litter in an airtight container.
- Familiar Items: Take a couple of your pet’s favorite toys so he has something familiar, and maybe even a small blanket for him. If he requires regular grooming, a small brush will come in handy.
- Miscellaneous Items: Things such as extra zip-lock bags, baby wipes, and bags for trash can be invaluable extras too.
Even though evacuations can be more difficult for people with pets, a little forward planning can make a world of difference. And even if you’re not planning an evacuation, just having these things accessible somewhere can be useful for other eventualities, such as a driving vacation with your pet, or even a house-move. It never hurts to “be prepared”!