Hurricane Preparedness – For your Pets too!

 As June 1st rolls around each year most adults on the island steadfastly prepare themselves for “the season”, especially those that were here for Hurricane Ivan.  We all have our own list of necessities, most of us have a box or a designated area that our hurricane items are placed and hopefully stored for the entire season.  We make sure our food and water needs are taken care of  and if we have children, we prepare for them as well.  One family member that we all need to make sure isn’t overlooked is our pets.

Big pets, small pets, outdoor or indoor pets, we all need to have a hurricane plan in place for our fuzzy, furry, finned and feathered friends in case a disaster strikes.  Your pets need adequate food, water and shelter in the event that a hurricane or other disaster strikes.  You should plan ahead and keep a sufficient supply of pet food on hand, especially if your animal has any specific dietary needs.  You’ll also want to have a safe plan for where you will house your animals during and after a disaster.

Use the following as a guide:
Have at least 2 weeks of pet food on hand at all times.

Don’t forget that your pet will need fresh (bottled) water as well.  If your plan involves leaving your pets behind while you seek alternative shelter, be sure to fill the bathtub(s) about ¼ full with fresh water in the event that they could be there several days by themselves.

A proper feeder is needed if your pet has the potential to be left alone for several days.  There are several options to choose from on the market, from gravity driven feeders to measured and timed feeders – there are options for every budget.

Purchase extra litter and a mobile litter box for cats if you plan to take your cat with you.  For other small animals, such as hamsters and gerbils – make sure to have extra litter/shavings on hand for them too.

Have properly sized pet carriers for each animal.  Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around in.  Carriers are essential for ease and safety when moving pets from one location to another.

Keep a current photograph of each pet and make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations (have proof of this on hand).

Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.  Also have an adequate supply of waste pickup bags on hand at all times.

Bring pets indoors well in advance of a storm.  Reassure them and remain calm.

Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet!  Specialized pet shelters, veterinary clinics, friends and relatives out of flood zones are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

For those that plan to travel off island with their pets, be sure to have all their documents in place – including pet passports and immunizations records on hand.  Keep these important documents with your own passports, for ease of location.  Pet passports and microchip specifications are available through the Cayman Islands Agriculture Department which can be reached by calling 345-947-3090.

After a disaster you will want to walk your pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home.  Often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.  There are also many other hazards like downed power lines, flooding and debris that could pose a threat to animals.  After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive so you should monitor their behavior closely.

Planning ahead for your pets for hurricane season can take the stress out of pet care during a natural disaster.  Make sure your animals have everything they need prior to the hurricane warning as supplies become harder to find once an impending storm has been declared.

For more information on pet care, or to stock up on supplies, visit Animal House today!

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