Pet Hurricane Evacuation Kit
By Mark Planco of Planco Veterinary Care
Preparing for hurricane season must include making preparations for your pets. Having a pet evacuation kit is essential and should be put together now since hurricane season has arrived again. Waiting for a storm to threaten our coast may be too late.
The first step is to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and lab tests. If you must evacuate to a shelter you must have these requirements to take your pet with you. All shelters will require proof of rabies vaccination and to protect your pet from the other animals, having Distemper Complex and Bordetella vaccination, and Intestinal parasite screening will provide that protection. Obtaining the records last minute is easy and quick, getting in for the appointment may not be. If you have to evacuate, your veterinarian probably does too.
For cats you should have an ample sized carrier for each individual. It should be large enough for food, water and a litter box. Bring a litter scooper and plastic bags for disposal. You should also have a collar or harness with identification on it and a leash so you always have control when he/she is out of the carrier. Cats will also need proof of rabies vaccination and it would be helpful to have your cat vaccinated for upper respiratory viruses and leukemia.
For dogs, you should have a collar or harness with ID and leashes. Small dogs that will fit comfortably in carriers should have one. You should also be prepared to clean up after your dog even if walking outside is safe.
All animals should have at least one favorite toy picked out to take so there is something familiar and help make the evacuation tolerable. Food and water should be packed in air tight containers enough for at least one week. Animals on continuous medications should keep ample quantity on hand in case a storm arises. Most can be provided quickly, but some meds may run out and need to be ordered, which may be too late. During the summer months refill meds before they completely run out. If your pet is on a medication that has a long expiration date, keep an extra week or two in your evacuation kit. Veterinarians try to keep enough stock of all necessary meds but don’t miss out, stock up early.
Another very important part of preparation for a hurricane is to make sure your pet (including horses) is microchipped. If they get lost without their collars or lose their collar they can be found and returned to you through their microchip. If your pet is not microchipped you can learn more at this link: www.public.homeagain.com/.
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Dr. Mark Planco’s compassion for animals has been a lifelong labor of love. He earned both his undergraduate and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees at the University of Florida. Dr. Planco has treated small and large animals since 1991, and has been in Palm Beach County since 1994. Dr. Planco is a member of the Palm Beach Veterinary Society, American Veterinary Medical Association and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Visit PlancoVetCare.com for further information or call 561-795-9507.
Disclaimer: This column is not intended to provide information on which you should use to diagnose or treat a medical condition or delay seeking medical attention. This column is of no value with respect to any medical condition that needs prompt attention. If you have a question that needs an immediate answer, you should call your own veterinarian or emergency animal hospital, especially if you are confronting a medical emergency!
Furthermore, we urge you to always seek the advice of your own veterinarian, and you should not disregard, discount, or delay seeking the advice of your veterinarian because of any response posted in this column.