If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pet! Take all your beloved family members with you when you leave.
There are many ways that you can be prepared to keep your pet safe during an emergency. According to Citrus County Animal Services, the first thing you should do is have your pet micro-chipped and do this right away, don't wait for an approaching storm. Hurricane Katrina displaced over 8000 animals, most of them never found their owner. Microchipping and registering your pet nationally is the only positive way to identify a pet without being physically present to identify them.
Evacuation Equipment and Supplies
- A leash and a collar or halter with identification tags for most animals. Animals, such as birds and some reptiles, who cannot have identification on their bodies, must have proper identification on their cage if they are to be returned to their owner. Tags that have your contact information and an emergency contact will be helpful in case of separation.
- A portable carrier in which the animal can easily move around. Since the pet may have to live in the crate for several days, it is important that the crate be large enough for the pet to be able to stand, stretch, and turn around. For cats, the crate must be able to hold a small litter box and still leave room for the cat to move around.
- Water in gallon-size plastic containers; dry pet food, and food dishes. There should be a one to two week supply of food and water for the pet. Pets need 1 gallon of water per day per pet.
- A supply of the pet's regular medications, such as heartworm medicine and flea prevention products.
- Up-to-date health records, including vaccination history. Many veterinary clinics or kennels will not board dogs and cats without proof of vaccinations. Without that proof you may have to pay for the animal to be re-vaccinated.
- Written instructions on the pet's feeding schedule and diet, medications, and any special needs.
Horses and Livestock:
- Register your animals with your local animal shelter.
- Mark your animals with clear identification tags, microchips, tattoos, legbands or spray paint/permanent marker with your telephone number.
After the storm:
- Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.
- Downed power lines, and reptiles brought in with high water and debris, can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
- If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
- After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.