Pet Emergency Preparedness

In Florida it’s Hurricane Season and across the nation there are tornados, flooding, wildfires, and many other natural disasters that drive the need for evacuations and most importantly having a plan should the need arise.  

When thinking about any potential emergency three key things jump to the top of the list:  comprehensive pet identification, creating a pet evacuation kit and having a “flight plan” to safety.  Let’s take a look at each of these in a more detail.

Comprehensive Pet Identification. When it comes to pet identification the more the better--this is important regardless of the season. 

  • Micro chipping is important. Be sure that the information associated with your pet’s microchip is current. You don’t want to stop there for identification, though.  The microchip can only be read by vets or a shelter.

  • Add a visible tag with your current contact information.

  • We highly recommend a Pet Recovery System like Pet Hub. It’s a 24/7 Pet Recovery System using a tag with a QR code, website & toll free number that connects the person finding your pet to your online profile which you create--and is free btw. The profile includes your pet's picture, your contact information and additional contacts if you are not reachable--which is vital during emergencies. You can add medical information, vaccine records, vet’s number, microchip number and more.  97% of lost pets with Pet Hub tags are returned to their owners within 24 hours.

Create a Pet Evacuation Kit with these important basics:

  • Your pet’s food in air tight, waterproof containers & water for at least three days but recommend up to two weeks.

  • Your pet’s medicines.

  • Important documents – proof of current county-issued rabies vaccination, vaccine & medical records, your pet’s registration, adoption papers. Also place these in waterproof plastic bags to keep them safe and dry.

  • A picture of you and your dog together. This can help if you get separated and show proof of ownership.

  • Secure, sturdy collar and leash—even for cats. On the collar, again, have your pet’s ID tag along with rabies tag. Surroundings will be different so you want to keep your baby secure.

  • Sanitation litter box, waste bags.

  • A first aid kit for your family and furry children, too.

  • Take along their crate, bed, favorite toys, treats & familiar items to help reduce the stress on your furry babies. Thundershirts are great if your pet gets nervous with loud noises. Keeping your pets close can do wonders for both your furry babies and yourself in times of stress, too!

Have a “Flight Plan”

Plan ahead and know where you will go. We cannot emphasize this enough--please DO NOT leave your pets behind. Reach out to family and friends for places to stay. There are more and more pet friendly hotels and motels.  Be sure to call ahead, though, because they will fill up fast.

Here are a few ideas:

  • There are several pet friendly travel sites to find hotels. GoPetFriendly.com is full of helpful information for traveling pet families. It’s the creation and passion of Amy Burkert who in 2017 lived the pet friendly travel life real time with her husband and their two dogs in a Winnebago traveling to pet friendly destinations across the 48 contiguous United States.  BringFido.com is a pet travel site that’s connected with Travelocity so you can make reservations directly through their site. TripswithPets.com is another highly rated site where you can find pet friendly lodging and make reservations, as well.

  • Several chains are known for their pet friendliness, too. These include Red Roof Inns, Staybridge Suites, LaQuinta, Motel 6, Drury, Aloft and Kimpton. 

  • Always call ahead to confirm a hotel’s pet friendly policies. Some hotels may be pet friendly but due to storm conditions may not be open themselves.

  • Local Evacuation Shelters should be a last resort. For example, in Pinellas County, Florida there are only three pet friendly shelters and you need to pre-register because space is limited.  Priority is given to mobile home residents. 

Our pets are our furry children and it is so important to ensure they are part of every evacuation plan and trip. Comprehensive pet identification, a pet evacuation kit and having a well thought out “flight plan” ahead of time can keep everyone safe and sound during challenging times. 

Here are a few links for additional information from emergency resources:

Sources for this blog include personal experiences, the FEMA and Pinellas County Emergency Management sites above and the amazing folks at Pet Hub. Many thanks to all!  This is such an important topic that it's vital to spread the message!

Copyright © 2019 Karen Bartoszek

Karen Bartoszek