The first and most important thing to do is to be totally prepared before the disaster happens. Some disasters come with plenty of notice when they may possibly occur, while others come with little or no warning at all. After all, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” (Howard Ruff)
If the disaster does not require you to evacuate, have a designated “safe” place in your home where your family and your pet can comfortably stay during the storm.
If evacuation is necessary, do so immediately. If you wait until you are asked to leave you may not be able to take your pet with you!
It’s best to have essential pet supplies on hand whether you’ll be using them in your designated safe place or taking them with you when you go. Prepare your pet survival kit in a waterproof covered container.
Your kit should include:
- Telephone numbers of pet-friendly hotels and motels
- Your pet’s vaccination records
- Your vet’s contact information
- Colored pictures and a good description of your pet
- Two weeks worth of any medication your pet is taking
- Flea preventative and Heartworm treatment
- Two weeks worth of pet food and water
- Bowls for the food and water
- Treats and Toys
- Extra leashes and collars
- Training pads in case your dog can’t go outside due to severe weather
- Cat Litter
- Gauze, bandages, adhesive tape
- Roll of paper towels
- Several hand towels
To be sure you’re on the ready, check these supplies periodically and adjust or replenish as needed.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a crate or carrier large enough for the animal to stand and turn around in. Make sure it’s roomy and sturdy in case it will need to be used for an extended period of time. Put a blanket inside for your pet to lay down on. A crate or carrier can give them a feeling of security.
If you suspect a coming storm or that you may have to evacuate, be sure you know where your pet is. Pets seem to be able to use their senses in unusual and often extraordinary ways. We’ve all heard the stories of dogs finding their way home after traveling hundred of miles and how they play a crucial role in search and rescue missions. It is believed that animals are able to use some combination of natural survival instincts and their senses to tell that we are about to experience some type of natural disaster. If they sense a disaster approaching, they may hide, making it nearly impossible to find them when it’s time to leave to move to a safer place.
After a storm or other emergency your pet may get disoriented when it goes outside. There may be changes in the landscape or familiar smells that are gone. Keep your pet on a leash until they become familiar with the surroundings. Remember, your pets have no idea what’s happened and the stress may cause them to become aggressive and/or misbehave. Comfort and reassure your pet with petting and hugging. It may take some time for them to adjust, so be patient, calm, and reassuring.
The 2011 Hurricane season spans from June 1 to November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting 12-18 tropical storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater. Then there are also flash floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes which aren’t as predictable as hurricanes (not that anything in nature is truly predictable).
Being prepared will help you, and your pet, deal with disaster if it does happen to you.