By now, most people are keeping tabs on Hurricane Dorian updates, the storm on track to hit Florida on Tuesday, Sept. 3 as a Category 4 storm.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for all 67 Florida counties—shutters are being put up, gas stations have hour-plus wait times, and sandbags are being distributed.
For those who have one or multiple pets, it’s important to take extra steps in order to keep them safe during a hurricane, such as designating a place in your home or garage for your pet’s bathroom needs.
Chewy vet expert Jennifer Coates, DVM, has several tips to make storm season with pets go as smoothly as possible.
Prepare an emergency pet kit
Emergency pet kits should contain three days worth of food and water, as well as vaccination history and a two-week supply of any prescription medications your pet needs. If you use a pet carrier, make sure to line it with old towels at the bottom for smaller pets.
Other necessary items include bowls for food and water, leashes and collars, as well as a pet toy or bed to reduce stress. If you own a cat, make sure to keep a small litter pan and extra litter on-hand, too.
For more information, review PetMD’s pet safety hurricane checklist:
Plan for an evacuation
It’s important to make sure that your pet is comfortable being walked on a leash or held in a carrier. Evacuating with a pet is easier when they are sociable and comfortable in various situations, and things go more smoothly when they get along with other people and animals.
For more information, contact the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center at 954-359-1313.
ID your pet
Make sure your pet can be easily identified with a visible ID tag or collar, as well as having a microchip linked to your contact information. Have a copy of their picture, license number and microchip information on-hand at all times. Microchips can be registered for free online.
In the case that you and your pet get separated, immediately contact nearby animal shelters and your microchip company. Post photos of your pet with information of their last-known location on social media to spread the word and have people keep an eye out for reports of free-roaming animals.
When it is safe to go outside after the storm, post fliers in the area your pet was last located.
According to Caitlin Ultimo, resident pet expert at Chewy, the best way to handle an emergency is to stay calm. Being prepared helps you stay at ease.
Equip yourself from now with the necessities your family and your pet will need if the electricity is out for an extended amount of time, such as a generator, flashlights, water, nonperishable food and portable chargers.