Evacuating with pets during a hurricane or severe weather event is never ideal. It is, however, a reality that Houston area pet parents may have to face. Because we believe in preparing for anything, today we’ll help you plan for an evacuation with pets to ensure your entire family’s safety during a weather emergency.
Include Your Pets in Your Plans
Never leave pets behind when an area is under evacuation orders. Leaving pets behind puts them in danger. When we commit to taking pets into our lives and homes, we do so with the understanding that they are our responsibility, no matter the circumstances.
Because emergency service workers have the gargantuan task of safely evacuating people who cannot safely evacuate themselves, they cannot be expected to evacuate abandoned pets. When uncertainty about evacuation exists, it’s recommended you keep your pets near you. That way, you can seamlessly and quickly move them to safety.
Prepare Emergency Kits
Emergency kits should be easily accessible and easy to grab when in a hurry. Include food and water for every member of the family, medications, and a first aid kit for each of the species you share your life with in your kits. First Aid Kits for humans are a good start but a species-specific first aid kit is better.
Before evacuating, gather emergency contact information and personal identification for each adult in the home. Don’t forget phone and tablet chargers. Keep a car charger in your kit if you don’t normally keep one in your vehicle.
For pets, gather vaccination records, medications and key supplements, and pet carriers. Keep harnesses and leashes, bowls, and litter boxes at the ready. While not considered basic supplies, toys and other engagement items will help keep your pet comfortable wherever you go. They may be worth bringing, especially if the evacuation is expected to last at least a few days.
Always make sure your pet is wearing a well-fitted collar that displays ID tags with up-to-date contact information and their most recent rabies tags. A well-fitting collar should allow only two fingers to fit between the collar and the pet’s neck. If they get too much room, their collar can become a strangulation risk.
Know Where to Go
Create a list of pet-friendly hotels, motels, and shelters near you. Store the list in a place that you can easily access, ideally near your emergency kits.
Keep in mind that not all shelters/hotels in Katy, Texas, and beyond are pet friendly, especially during natural disasters. The American Red Cross shelters, for example, will NOT allow pets. Once you’ve chosen a destination/evacuation route, contact accommodation providers to make them aware that you are coming with pets and to ask any last-minute questions. If you are traveling with others, have them make phone calls as you are driving. When calling during transit is not possible, call as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Communicate with Loved Ones
When news of a natural disaster reaches you, plan to have your smartphones and tablets on chargers while you prepare for your departure. You’ll want your devices fully charged before you hit the road.
Tell someone where you are going before evacuating. Share your plans with family and friends as often as possible. A quick phone call or text to loved ones will provide them with peace of mind and may keep them from panicking and coming to look for you. Make sure they know your pets are with you!
Secure pets for the journey
Any pet that has a carrier should be put inside of it before leaving home. All dogs should be leashed. During storms and times of stress, pets are known to flee. Losing your pet during a hurricane is probably one of the worst things that could happen because resources are limited and danger is imminent.
Follow Local & State Orders
Don’t “wait it out”. You should evacuate when ordered to. If you wait, leaving at the last minute may not be an option. Don’t play Russian roulette with the lives of your family and pets. And, don’t return to your home until and unless it has been declared safe to do so by local authorities.
Download the ASPCA Mobile App
The ASPCA mobile app will be a lifesaver while you’re in the process of evacuating with your pet. This app works even when you’re not connected to the Internet, which is likely during inclement weather.
With some forethought, you can add your pet’s health records right on the app, which eliminates the need for stowing paper records in your emergency evacuation kit.
Furthermore, you can swipe through how to navigate the before, during, and aftermath of any storm with your pet. During times of stress, it’s always great to have a plan to follow. In addition, the app even gives you access to a “recovery kit”, which is a step-by-step manual on how to search for your pet if he should go missing. The app even provides you with the capability of creating a digital “lost” poster that you can share immediately via social media.
Evacuation with pets during a hurricane is something we hope will never come to pass. The truth is that it is quite possible, especially when living in an area that is known for hurricanes, flooding, and other weather emergencies. The best thing you can do for yourself, and your pets is to have a plan in place before hurricane season rolls around each year.
When traveling during hurricane season, it’s critical to hire a professional pet sitter that has inclement weather and weather emergency plans in place for your pet’s safety and well-being while you’re away. To learn more about our pet sitting services and emergency plans, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (281) 391-1015.