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Are you prepared for a hurricane?

Did that last Tropical Storm catch you off guard? Imagine if it had been a grade III hurricane. Don’t be caught unprepared next time. I hope this article will help you make your hurricane plan.

If you do not live in a mobile home or on a key, you may be able to stay at home. This decision will depend on the forecast storm and your location. In addition to storm proofing your home for your safety, as a pet owner you must also plan for their needs. You will need to stock up on food, drinking water, and medicine for you and your pet. If your pet suffers storm anxiety you will want to be sure to have a supply of any special medications it will need. Remember electricity may go out early and be off an extended time. Since walking your dog may not be possible for an extended time during the storm, extra cleaning supplies may be needed. As a cat owner be sure to have plenty of litter.

I recommend carriers/crates for all pets even when staying at home. Why? In the stress & anxiety of a storm animals may not behave normally. Although your pets normally get along well, a storm may cause fighting. Crates allow for safe areas of separation and security. Additionally, should your home be damaged it may no longer be secure and animals can escape or even be pulled out by the force of the storm.

Evacuating is a different scenario. The first rule is leave early! Leaving early is even more important when you have pets depending on you for their safety. Most of the steps taken when staying home are the same but other considerations must also be made. Ideally, if you evacuate, it is best to find a friend or family member in a “safe” zone and avoid public shelters. Most public shelters are for humans only; therefore, making other arrangements where you can be together are best. Coordinate your efforts with your host to assure the best circumstances for all. Help the hosts prepare their home and contribute to shared survival plans.

If a private home is not available to you and you must use a public shelter, try to make other arrangements for your pets. Arrange to board your pet with a veterinarian or boarding facility. Check with such facilities early, some have a hurricane list for "reservations", others use a first come, first serve plan. Some facilities have to evacuate themselves. In addition to the supplies previously mentioned, you will need identification for each pet as well as current vaccination records.

You may want to consider permanent identification of each pet. Micro-chipping allows indisputable identification even if collars are lost. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

Most authorities agree unless a substantially constructed barn is available, it is best to turn horses out. The danger of injury due to collapse of the structure is greater than the dangers when loose. Depending on your location, evacuating horses (early) to a safer location may be the safest choice. Remember you will need current vaccinations, especially mosquito borne and tetanus, identification, water (hand pump or generator?) food and first aid supplies if injuries are sustained.

Provided as a public Service by Beneva Animal Hospital, 941-923-2731.


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