Expert Tips for Preparing Your Pets for Hurricanes: Make a Plan and Stock up on Essentials


Expert Tips for Preparing Your Pets for Hurricanes: Make a Plan and Stock up on Essentials

Never leave your pets at home alone when a tropical storm is on the way. By Austin Cannon September 28, 2022 Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print cat in roomy crate; pet hurricane prep tips
cat in roomy crate; pet hurricane prep tips Credit: Oleg Batrak / Shutterstock

With Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida's west coast, it's a good time to remind ourselves how to best prepare our pets for tropical storms.  

Hurricanes are terrifying. On Wednesday morning, Ian approached Florida as a Category 4 storm (nearing Category 5) with winds around 155 mph. The wind and immense rain will cause horrendous damage, and we want ourselves and our furry kiddos to avoid as much of it as possible. 

Dwight Alleyne, DVM and an animal care expert for JustAnswer, says you should try to evacuate with your pet if you can, but if you are staying behind, make sure you've stocked up on the proper supplies like water and your pet's essential medication. 

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Here's what else you should know if you're ever in the path of a storm: 

Make a Plan

If you decide to leave your home before a storm arrives, make sure you know what you're going to do with your pets. If you're taking them with you, ensure they'll be transported comfortably, Alleyne says. So you'll need to make sure you have the right kind of carriers for cats and small pups. 

Of course, you'll also want to bring along your pets' medication, food, and a few toys or treasured items so they're comfortable when they reach their temporary lodging. 

If you are going to leave them as you evacuate, make sure your pets are with a trusted caregiver or boarding facility where they'll be responsibly looked after. Do not leave them at home to fend for themselves. 

"It is not safe for your pets to remain behind in a storm," Alleyne says. 

RELATED: Here's What to Do with Your Pet When a Natural Disaster Strikes

Stock up

If you and your pets are sheltering at home ahead of a storm, make sure you have all the essentials to make sure you and your pets can be as comfortable as possible. Alleyne says those include: 

  • A pet first-aid kit
  • One week's worth of food and bottled water
  • Anxiety medication for your pet
  • A crate or kennel to prevent your pet from running off
  • Flashlights (and batteries)
  • Bathroom supplies: litter boxes, pee pads, newspapers, poop bags, and cleaning wipes for when your pet has to go but obviously can't venture outside
  • Toys
  • Leashes, preferably with reflective material
  • Treats
  • Your pets' medicine
  • Stickers or signs to place on your door or windows that inform rescuers you and your pets are inside

What To Do During the Storm

Once you're stocked up, you're stuck until the storm passes. And if flooding or damage is bad enough, you might be stuck for even longer. 

Alleyne recommends spending as much time as possible with your pet during the storm, preferably in an interior room away from windows. As the storm rages, you'll want to keep them distracted with food, treats, and playtime. 

Basically, you want to distract them from what's going on outside. You might want the distraction as well, come to think of it.

RELATED: Why Are Dogs Scared of Thunder? Our Expert Explains the Possible Causes

Microchips and Vaccinations: Very Important

You should always have your pets' vaccinations updated and microchipped in normal times, but it's even more vital when a hurricane arrives, Alleyne says. 

Why? It's very possible your pet will have to traverse floodwaters that will carry diseases, so they'll want to be vaccinated against maladies like parvovirus. And you'll definitely want your pets microchipped in case you do get separated. That way, if an animal welfare organization finds them, they can reunite everyone. 

You can't prepare for everything, but it's always good to plan and have enough essentials to keep everyone comfortable for at least several days until the storm passes.

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