Pet Owner Preparedness for Hurricane Season

two brown and white dogs running dirt road during daytime

How to Make an Emergency Kit for Pets During Storm Season

Hurricane season comes upon the United States every summer, and nearly every year, there’s a serious storm that spurs evacuations and storm preparations. When a storm is approaching, pet owners must make special considerations to ensure the safety of their cats, dogs and other pets.

The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has offered an array of disaster preparedness tips for owners of cats, dogs and other pets this tropical weather season.

Find a Safe Haven for Pets During a Hurricane

The ASPCA urges pet owners,”Do not leave your pets behind. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards.”

Unfortunately, pets are not permitted at American Red Cross shelters and most other havens of this sort due to health and safety regulations. Therefore, pet owners must find alternate arrangements when their community is in the line of fire.

Other options include bringing the pet to a pet-friendly hotel that’s situated out of the storm’s path, or making arrangements to send the pet to stay with a family member. A veterinarian can also be a great source of information, particularly concerning local pet-friendly accommodations, emergency foster care services and kennels in the area outside the storm track.

Pack an Emergency Kit for Pets

A pet disaster kit is vital to ensure a pet’s survival. The ASPCA recommends that pet owners assemble a kit containing the following items, which should be stored inside a plastic Rubbermaid tub or other secure, waterproof container:

  • Pet first-aid kit
  • One month supply of food (replace with new food every two months)
  • A can opener
  • Disposable litter trays (like aluminum roasting pans)
  • Cat litter (one-month supply)
  • Paper towels
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra dog harness
  • Extra dog leash
  • A sturdy traveling crate, carrier or travel bag for each pet
  • Photocopies of the pet’s medical records
  • A two-month supply of medication
  • Bottled water (at least seven days’ worth of water for each person and pet)
  • Flashlight
  • Two blankets per pet
  • Recent photos of your pet
  • Several pre-made “lost” posters for each pet (these can be photocopied and distributed if necessary.)

In addition, cat owners should be sure to bring along a sufficient supply of scoopable litter and scoop, and a pillowcase or cat sack, to serve as a cozy place for the pet to sit in times of stress.

Dog owners should also bring along a long leash or tie out, a yard stake, toys and at least one week’s worth of cage liners.

Owners of small animals should be sure to bring along a sizable transport carrier, as this will be where the small animal will live during the evacuation. When selecting a carrier, opt for a plastic model, rather than a soft-sided bag carrier, as many small animals habitually chew and this could result in damage to the bag, or worse, an escape.

The small animal evacuation kit should also include two weeks worth of liners (puppy pads work well for this purpose) and bedding. Two water bottles should be included in the emergency kit, along with a one weeks’ worth of water, and any chew blocks or other cage accessories that the pet is accustomed to using.

Pet owners should remember that the emergency kit’s pet food, water and medications must be switched out for new food and medication every two months to avoid spoilage and expiration.

For additional information on assembling an emergency preparedness kit for pets this hurricane season, visit the ASPCA’s website.