Hurricane season begins June 1 in the United States, putting pets all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts at risk. Even during mild storms, the heavy rains, lightening, and thunder can cause fear and anxiety in pets and increase the risk of drowning, electrocution, and other dangers. Preparing for hurricane season ahead of the storms will make the season safer and easier for you and your pet.
Talk with your family and veterinarian and decide what do to in the event of an approaching hurricane. Find a place for your pet to stay in the event of an emergency evacuation, and stock up on essentials such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights, and batteries. Gather your pet’s records and put them in a safe place along with the rest of the family’s, and determine which room in your home is safest in the event of high winds, hail, or other threats.
2. Get Your Emergency Kits in Order
At the beginning of hurricane season, get your emergency kits ready. You will need kits for home and away and for every member of your household, including your pet. Inside your pet’s home kit, which can be a large waterproof bin, store at least three days of food (with a can-opener, if necessary), plastic bags, water, litter and a litter box, puppy pads, a leash, a photo of your animal, your pet’s tags and microchip information, and a few comfort toys and treats. Inside your pet’s away kit, include the same items mentioned above, but also include a blanket and copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records.
3. Secure Your Pet
A loose and panicked pet is a potential disaster during a hurricane. Hopefully, you’ve chosen your safe room before hurricane season starts. Before an impending storm arrives, secure your pet in your safe room and move all of his belongings into the room. Having his usual toys, bedding, and bowls will make him feel more secure during the storm. Provide a place for cats to hide, such as a cardboard box or a laundry basket covered with a sheet. Be prepared to crate your pet or put him on a leash if he becomes stressed, hyperactive, or aggressive. It is for his safety as well as for yours.
4. Remain Calm
Your pet will pick up on your emotions and is more likely to remain calm if you do. If your safe room is large enough, engage your family in activities, such as card or board games, to pass the time and keep anxiety levels low. If your safe room is small, singing or telling stories is helpful, provided your pet does not react negatively to all the noise.
5. Be Prepared to Evacuate
Even if the storm is expected to be mild and you’ve decided to stay home, a hurricane can intensify rapidly. If you must unexpectedly evacuate, do so as quickly and calmly as possible. If you are leaving by car, secure your pet in the back of the car with a crate to prevent an accident. Reassure your pet (and your children) during the ride by speaking to them in a soothing, calm voice and explaining where you are going and what to expect once you arrive.
Keeping your pet safe during a hurricane means preparing for every possible turn of events. Your pet and family will all benefit from a bit of advanced preparation and a little planning.
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