Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Purina. Purina helps respond to natural disasters in the United States that seriously disrupts the functioning of communities causing animals harm and distress. In the United States in 2015 Purina donated $31.5 million worth of pet food, pet supplies and monetary contributions to pet-related charities and other community organizations across the country. For more information, visit www.purina.com.
How to Prepare Your Pet for Hurricane Season
This week, in honor of National Pet Preparedness Month, I had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Kurt Venator, a veterinarian with Purina, about how to prepare family pets for national disaster. I specifically asked him questions about preparing pets for hurricane disasters and was relieved to find that preparing my pets for hurricane season can easily be added to the rest of my family’s emergency plan.
Here are few steps you can take to make sure your family’s pets are ready:
1. Create a plan ahead of time
With hurricane season already upon us, now is the time to sit down with your family and have a conversation about preparations for disaster. Pets thrive on routine, so any disruption in routine can cause anxiety. By having a plan in place, you can help alleviate the stress on your family.
Keep extra supplies handy! When you stock up on non-perishables and bottled water for your family, include a 7-14 day supply of food and water for each of your pets. Write the expiration date on the cans/bags of food and change every six months. Also, make sure you have collapsible bowls, blankets, and flashlights.
If you need to evacuate, have an idea of where you can bring your pet. Talk with your local animal shelter or vet clinic about boarding your pets during hurricanes. Also, seek out pet-friendly hotels in areas where you could possibly evacuate.
2. Put together a Pet First Aid Kit
A pet first aid kit is similar to the first aid kit you have for your family. Things your pet first aid kit should contain include:
- antibiotic cream
- extra collar and leash
- current photo of your pet (in case your pet goes missing)
- medical and vaccination records (in case you have to travel)
- paw protectors (to protect from glass and heat)
- pet life jacket (if you are in an area that floods)
3. Provide your pet with a safe haven in your home
Make sure your pet has safe haven in your home. Your pet should be familiar with this place beforehand. With the loud noises of boarding windows followed by wind gusts and heavy rain, your pet will feel anxious and seek a place to retreat. Having an established safe haven for your pet will provide them with comfort and help keep them calm.
For dogs, you want to have a dog bed, water, and favorite toys. For cats, you want to have a cat carrier and a litter box.
Something to keep in mind: if you have a breed of dog that has breathing issues, keep your pet out of high heat and provide them with lots of fresh water to avoid heat stroke.
4. Make traveling in the car a routine before you have to evacuate
Both dogs and cats can experience anxiety while traveling. When it comes time to evacuate, you do not want do things the first time. Taking your pet for short drives and rewarding with treats can make car travel a pleasant experience. If you have a cat, you want to keep the cat carrier visible in your home so it is nothing new.
If you find your pet experiences high anxiety during car rides, you should talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s specific anxiety. Your veterinarian may prescribe medicine to help calm your pet ahead of travel time. However, if you make traveling with your pet routine, over time your pet may no longer need medicine.
5. Monitor pet’s behavior after the disaster
Once the disaster has passed, you want to re-establish your pet’s routine as soon as possible. To help alleviate anxiety, spend extra time with your pet. Also, monitor your pet’s behavior. Anxiety can lead to aggression, so you want to call your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior or demeanor.
6. Pet separation
If your pet goes missing during or after the disaster, there are a few things you can do to find your pet. Keep a collar with a name tag on your pet, even if your pet has a microchip. Not all microchips and scanners are the same, and sometimes microchips can move. Check multiple times with the local animal shelters. Facebook posts and social media have also helped pet owners reunite with their pets.