Hurricane Dorian: Have A Plan For Your Pet

ID Your Pet

Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You'll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember, the average citizen who finds your pet won't be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag.

Put your cell phone number on your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

Assemble Pet Emergency Kits

When you assemble your own emergency kit, make sure to assemble one for each pet. Kits should include food and water for five days; bowls; a manual can opener if you use canned pet food; medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container; cat litter box, litter, scoop and garbage bags; sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape; blankets or towels for bedding; current photos of your pets; list of medical conditions and the contact information for the veterinarian.

If You Evacuate, Take Your Pet

Rule No 1: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Remember to make plans for ALL your pets during natural disasters.

Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a "no pet" policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home. For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:

·Bringfido.com

·Dogfriendly.com

·Doginmysuitcase.com

·Pet-friendly-hotels.net

·Pets-allowed-hotels.com

·Petswelcome.com

·Tripswithpets.com

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

If You Do Stay Home, Do It Safely

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.

·Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.

·Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.

·Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.

If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.

·Listen to the radio periodically, and don't come out until you know it's safe.

After the disaster

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

·Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.

·While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.

·Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

·If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.

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