As Hurricane Irene approaches the East Coast, it's critical not to forget the livelihood of your pets in making preparation plans for the storm. Some 600,000 pets were killed or left homeless from Hurricane Katrina six years ago, reports HurricaneKatrinaRelief.com. Below are some top pet preparation tips to ensure their safety.
Before The Storm
1) Prepare To Take Your Pets -- Don't leave your pets at home. As the ASPCA puts it, "If you're not safe, neither is your pet." If you're planning to head to a Red Cross Shelter or hotel, remember that not all will take animals. Here's a list of directories for finding a pet-friendly hotel by the ASPCA. Other options include a veterinary clinic, animal control shelter or pet shelter.
2) Photograph and Identification -- Keep a current photograph of your pet in case something happens to them during the storm. Identification in the form of a collar is also essential and will make it easier to locate them if they get lost.
3) Leash And Pet Carrier In Tow -- Think about how exactly you will keep track of your pet during the storm, and how you will transport them should you decide to evacuate. The Humane Society says a leash and/or pet carrier will ensure your animal doesn't go astray.
4) Bring Your Pet Inside -- The last thing you want is to have to hunt for your pet on the brink of a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center suggests that owners calm and comfort pets inside well in advance of the actual storm.
5) What To Pack -- The ASPCA recommends you pack five to seven days of pet food and water along with litter trays, litter and trash bags. Pet first aid kits might be a good idea, and remember their medications. If you are taking them to an animal shelter, you'll need to bring all of the above and ensure your pet has its rabies tags, up to date immunization records and labelled supplies.
After The Disaster
6) Keep A Handle On Your Pet -- The Humane Society recommends keeping your pet on a leash after the storm and not letting them roam free, especially if there has been wreckage from the aftermath. FEMA advises you should watch out for snakes, roaming dangerous animals and power lines that may have fallen.
7) Get Back Into A Routine -- If your pet is used to a certain walk, get them back into their usual routines, advises the Humane Society. The usual smells might be gone and might cause your animal to become disoriented and not recognize their home.