Every year from June 1 to November 30, the Atlantic Hurricane season is most active. It’s always a good idea to get your hurricane plans and kits ready as soon as possible. Prepare ahead of time for a possible hurricane evacuation with your pet and save yourself lots of stress later!
Your pet is part of your family, so make sure to include them in your family plans for hurricane preparedness and evacuation. If it’s not safe for you to stay, it’s not safe for your pet either.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane Evacuation with a Pet
Hurricane prep and evacuations can be stressful, so we’ve put together a list of tips for you to hopefully make planning a little less daunting. It isn’t always possible to return home right after the storm passes, so you’ll certainly want to make sure you’re accounting for at least two weeks of supplies for your pets. Here are the most important things you should prepare so you can quickly evacuate with your pet.
1. Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag, and put together an identification file for each pet.
Always make sure each pet has a collar with an ID tag—bonus points if your pet is micro-chipped! Make an identification file for each pet so all their records are in one safe place. In this file you should include:
- Adoption papers
- A written description of each pet (make special note of any unique markings)
- Recent photos (even better if they’re selfies with each pet)
- Medical and vaccination records
- Medication list
- Dietary needs
- Behavioral issues
- Personality description
Should one of your pets get separated from you, it will be a life-saver to have all this information available. This will hopefully get you reunited with your lost pet as soon as possible. During a hurricane evacuation with a pet, there may be lots of stress and confusion, so it’s best to be prepared!
2. If you need to evacuate, find places that allow pets and make reservations as far in advance as possible.
Whether you’re going to a local shelter, an Airbnb, or a hotel out of town, not all places allow pets. If you’re planning to stay at an Airbnb or hotel, it’s always a good idea to ask if they are making exceptions for evacuees if they don’t typically allow pets. If you are planning to go to a local shelter, keep in mind that most American Red Cross shelters do not allow pets other than service animals.
The longer you wait to find shelter accommodations, the harder it may be to find availability. You may have to travel further than you’d like to find an available place to stay.
If you are traveling during hurricane season, always make sure to have someone who can be your local emergency contact. This person should be willing to pick up your pet and bring them somewhere safe if you are unable to return home before the hurricane arrives.
3. Make sure to bring at least 14 days worth of your pet’s essential supplies.
The essential items you’ll need for a hurricane evacuation with a pet are:
- Pet food and bowl
- Water and water bowl
- Pet medication (including flea and heart worm medications)
- Litter box and extra litter for cats
- Leash, harness, and poop bags for dogs
You’ll need enough food for two weeks for each pet (and don’t forget the can opener for wet food!) You’ll also need plenty of fresh water. Dogs need 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. Cats need 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight each day.
Also plan to bring 2 weeks worth of medication for each pet that requires medication. Don’t forget their flea and heart worm medicine, just in case you are away longer than expected. It’s always a good idea to ask your vet for an extra prescription or copy of their prescriptions so you can get it filled somewhere else if needed.
If you have cats, don’t forget the litter box and extra litter! We recommend disposable litter boxes so you don’t have to haul a stinky litter box with you. If your dog knows how to use potty pads, it’s always a great idea to bring some with you to prevent any messy accidents. And in your hurry to pack, be sure to grab your dog’s leash, harness, and poop bags!
4. Make sure to put your pets in carriers and crates.
We know many pets that do not like being in a carrier, but it is ultimately best for their safety to have one for each pet on hand. In the event of a hurricane evacuation with a pet, a crate or carrier is vital. Many shelters, hotels, or Airbnb’s may require that your pet be crated if you plan to leave them unattended. For pets that love their carriers and crates, this is an essential comfort item and can be used as a safe space for them to retreat to, if needed.
5. Don’t forget the toys, treats, and special comfort items!
Evacuations aren’t just stressful for you, they can be very stressful for your pets, too! Make sure to bring some items, like a special blanket or toys with their scent, to put in their carrier to make them feel more “at home.” For dogs that love to chew as a comfort activity, bring some bully sticks or other long-lasting chews to keep them occupied. Enrichment toys that dispense treats and food, like Kongs, can also bring dogs a lot of entertainment and stress-relief.
Get Prepared Now To Avoid Stress Later
While we certainly hope hurricanes stay away from the Lowcountry, it’s always best to get prepared ahead of time. Always know the recommended evacuation route for your area and make sure you’re ready to go if an evacuation is needed. We hope you find these tips helpful in preparing for a hurricane evacuation with a pet so you can avoid any added stress!
Charleston Dog Walker is a professional dog walking and pet sitting company here to give Charleston pet parents like you a safe, trustworthy, and reliable pet care solution when you work or travel. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 to get more information about how we can help you or sign up today to get started!