Hurricane 2022: Your pets need a storm plan, too


With the state set to face another active hurricane year, officials are urging Floridians to begin planning now. For many, this includes preparing homes, stocking up on essential supplies, practicing generator safety, and planning for an evacuation. While most know how to keep their family safe and comfortable during an extreme weather event (specifically an evacuation), many don’t know what they need to do to protect their furry companions.

James Barr is the Chief Medical Officer of BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital. [ BluePearl ]

Leaving pets out of an escape plan not only poses risks to pets and their owners, but also to first responders who may venture into dangerous areas or situations to retrieve a dog or a family cat. Pets left behind during a hurricane – even if they’re in a high-level “safe” location – can be injured, lost, or worse, so it’s always best to bring them in.

Related: Hurricane 2022: Tampa Bay will be flooded. Here’s how to prepare.

Here’s what you need to do to prepare your pet.

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Include your pet in your emergency plan

Pets have their own unique needs, and they impact where you and your family can stay if you need to evacuate your home. It is important to know that pets may not be allowed in some shelters unless they are service animals, and if they are accepted, space may be limited and pre-registration may be required. be required. In fact, many National Disaster Evacuation Centers like the Red Cross do not accept any pets or animals.

Be sure to designate pet-friendly shelters or hotels, as well as 24/7 emergency veterinary hospitals along your escape routes. Also, if your final destination is an out-of-town friend or relative’s house, make sure they’re okay with you taking Fido or Fifi. They can have their own pets that do not welcome strangers – two-legged or four-legged. Finally, make sure your pet is up to date on all their vaccinations. Pet-friendly shelters will only accept up-to-date vaccinated animals.

Pro tip: In the event of a real emergency evacuation where Fido is unfortunately left at home, create a buddy system that will get him out of there safely. This may be a trusted neighbor or friend who can enter your home to evacuate your animals if necessary. You can also fill out and display a pet emergency sticker on your front door to let authorities know that a pet can be left inside.

Related: Hurricane 2022: Protect your sanity during the storm

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Prepare a disaster kit

Like humans, pets need essentials to live – food, water, shelter. But beyond those things, there are ways pet owners can ensure that a pet is not only healthy, but also safe and comfortable during a natural disaster.

As a general rule, don’t wait to gather your high pressure essentials. Create a pet disaster kit ahead of time to ensure a quick and efficient escape for you and your loved ones.

Here’s what you’ll want to include in your kit:

  • A pet collar with current contact details. Make sure your pet’s collar is secure and won’t come off in an emergency.
  • A transport cage for each of your animals. Be sure to write the pet’s name, along with your contact information, on the carrier to ensure it is returned to you if lost.
  • Food and water for at least two to three weeks for each animal. It’s always wise to assume that there will be a shortage of drinking water during a disaster, so plan to bring your own for your furry friend. Also, if your pet is on a special diet, be sure to bring plenty of their food. Some vets don’t have well-stocked prescription diets, so you can order these items ahead of time.
  • Collapsible water and food bowls.
  • For cats: a litter box and a litter box.
  • Medicines for at least two to three weeks.
  • Medical records. These should include all necessary vaccinations against rabies and other illnesses, as well as a detailed medical history. In the case of another person caring for your pet, they will need to know if your pet has certain medical conditions and all the key details regarding the timing and dosage of the medication.
  • Leashes or harnesses (at least two).
  • Chip number (if applicable). This information must appear in your animal’s medical file and on its transport cage. If your pet is not microchipped, consider getting it. Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure your pet is returned to you if it gets lost. Also make sure the microchip is registered with the manufacturer and keep your contact details up to date with the microchip company.
  • Your contact details and those of your main veterinarian. Keep it on your pet’s crate and include it in their medical records.

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Practice evacuating

Evacuation can be stressful for you and your pet. Familiarizing them with the process will help desensitize them to the situation. Here are some ways to acclimate your pet to high-stress situations like an evacuation:

  • Leave the crate outside and make sure it’s in a comfortable place. You might want to put a blanket and some of their favorite toys inside.
  • Practice transporting your pet. Bring your pet with you for short errands or to see family or friends. This will help them get used to being in the car.
  • Know the hiding places of your pets. Frightened animals may exhibit behavioral changes and hide in hard-to-reach places. During hurricane season, you may want to block off these areas, such as under sofas and beds or above cabinets.
  • Consider practicing catching your pet. Remember: you’ll need to move them quickly out of harm’s way during an emergency evacuation, so practice the skills you’ll need when the time comes.
  • Inform the family. Make sure everyone in the household knows what to pack, where to find pets, and where to meet in case of an emergency.

Although we hope this hurricane season does not call for evacuations, planning ahead is necessary. Keep you and your family safe this season by including your pet in your emergency plans and be sure to locate 24/7 veterinary hospitals along your route in case of an emergency. medical emergency.

James Barr is the Chief Medical Officer of BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital.

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Find a hotel that accepts pets

Look for online or call 877-411-3436.

Look for online or call 888-281-5170.

Look for or call 866-966-3046.

Look for

Look for

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pet Emergency Kit Checklist:

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Tampa Bay Times 2022 Hurricane Guide

IT’S THE SEASON OF STORMS: Prepare and stay informed at

THE TRUTH IS OUT HERE: Seven hurricane myths that need to go

BACKUP YOUR DATA: Protect your data, documents and photos

BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up – and mask up – before the storm hits

PROTECT YOUR ANIMALS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you are

MUST KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

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Part 1: The Tampa Bay Times has teamed up with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

Part 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don’t understand the risk.

Part 3: Tampa Bay is at huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the risk of hurricane flooding


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