Hurricane Tips for Pet Owners
If an emergency, disaster or bad weather forces you and your pets from your home, will you know what to do and what to bring?
With hurricane season upon us, it's crucial for pet owners to be prepared for potential emergencies. When faced with the need to evacuate, ensuring the safety and well-being of your pets should be a top priority. Here are some tips from the Louisiana State Animal Response Team, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to help you prepare for an evacuation.
What to Do
Never leave your pet behind! While some evacuations may be short-term, there are times that you may not be able to return quickly. The safest place for your pet is with you.
If you plan to stay at a hotel, contact them in advance to confirm their pet-friendly policy. Although many hotels are lenient during crises, it's essential to verify their current stance. For on-line information about pet-friendly hotels, check out petswelcome.com or bringfido.com/lodging.
If you're staying with friends or family, make sure that your pets are invited as well. If not, ask for recommendations of nearby veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels and make reservations in advance.
Have a personal plan for your family including your animals and review and update the plan yearly. Saving the Whole Family is a useful guide from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
If you are staying with friends or family, make sure that your pets are invited as well. If not, ask for recommendations of nearby veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels and make reservations in advance.
Ensure your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and bring their records. Obtain a copy of your pet's vaccination record from your veterinarian and keep it with your emergency kit.
If your pet requires medication, bring a sufficient two-week supply.
If your pet is on medication, bring at least a two-week supply.
Identification of your pet is crucial! The ideal form of identification is a microchip or a tattoo. At minimum, your pet should have a tag with his name, your name, and your phone number on it. Pictures of your pet that capture identifying features are also a good idea. A microchip is a tiny permanent identification tag, placed under your pet’s skin by your veterinarian. By registering your name and address with the microchip company, your pet can be scanned and instantly identified at any animal facility.
What to Bring
- Enough pet food for one week
- Food bowl
- Water bowl
- Bottled water
- Harness or collar
- Proof of vaccinations
- Rabies tag
- Portable kennel
- Litter box and litter for cats
- Trash bags for stool disposal
- Newspaper or towels for crate lining
- Heartworm preventative
- Flea and tick protection
- All medications
- For exotic pets, bring their entire habitat, including heat lamps and extension cords
Your pet’s kennel should be large enough for him to stand and turn around. Collapsible wire crates are best if your pets might be in a non-air conditioned environment for an extended period. A battery-operated fan that can attach to the cage can be a much appreciated addition. Molded plastic airline-approved crates make for easier transport and are best for animals that don’t travel well in the car.
If you decide that evacuation is not the best plan for you, be prepared for power outages.
- If your pet eats canned food, make sure you have a can opener that doesn't require electricity.
- Animals are susceptible to heatstroke, so know the signs and what to do if you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke.
- If you leave doors or windows open to help keep your home cool, make sure your pets can't get out.
- If you have fish, you'll need to ensure you get power to the tank.
If you require emergency assistance with animal-related issues, please contact your parish emergency preparedness office.
People with special needs or people without transportation who have pets contact their parish emergency managers (e.g., the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) well ahead of time so that they can be registered for requiring special assistance in a disaster situation. You may need to contact the parish emergency manager via the parish sheriff’s office.
Emergency Care for Animals
If your pet requires emergency medical care after-hours, the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive is available 24/7, 365 days a year. For pets and small exotics, call 225-578-9600, and for horses and farm animals, call 225-578-9500. While the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital typically remains open during hurricanes, please call first to be sure that the hospital is accessible, and we are able accept patients following a disaster.
About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.