As hurricane season looms in the near future I, as a native Long Islander want to help you keep your furry babies safe in case of evacuation or in case you need to hunker down inside your home. As you might all remember, New York was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy last year. My family and pets were luckily able to remain safe but it was definitely by the grace of the universe that we did so. Here is a list of things we need to know/do and items we may need to have on hand (and should throughout the year) in case of a natural disaster.
1. 10-15 Gallons of filtered water
Store bottles in a dark closet or pantry. You never know how long you could be without water for your family and your pets. I know families who had brown water coming out of the tap for a few days after the storm last fall…no one wants to drink that.
2. 5-10 cans of pet food that your pet is familiar with
Preparing for the worst starts with stocking food and water, but make sure that the food you stock for your pet is a. not going to expire soon and b. is a brand that your pet’s digestive system is already familiar with. You don’t want to worry about your pet’s health on top of everything else.
3. Make sure your pet has proper identification
In case of displacement, groups like the ASPCA and local rescue organizations try to rescue as many pets as they can from the streets after a natural disaster. Make it easier for them to reunite you and a lost pet by making sure your pet is either micro-chipped and registered in a national database like Home Again, or is wearing sturdy, well-attached tags that list your contact information, at ALL times.
I can’t say enough about this one. Following Hurricane Sandy last year, SO many homes were without heat and hot water for weeks. Their homes were still standing but as any New Yorker can tell you, they were certainly NOT warm at night. Keep your pets and family warm by keeping some old blankets and towels sealed in a waterproof bag near the rest of your gear.
Side Note: Make sure any emergency kit is kept on the second floor or at least 3-4 feet above the ground on a first floor in case of flood and flood damage.
5. Leashes & Crates
This is an important one that can be easily overlooked. During and after a storm can be extremely chaotic. If you are rushing around or rushing to a shelter it is important to have an extra leash handy in order to keep you pet near you at all times. If you have a cat or another small animal, make sure you have a crate set up in a closet or an attic so that you can easily place your pet in a safe and enclosed environment for easy transport. Pets too can be caught up in the stress of the situation and can quickly run off. Also, many storm shelters will not allow you to bring a dog or cat unless he or she is in a crate or on a leash. Which brings me to my next point, probably the most important point of all….
6. Keep a list of local pet-friendly shelters handy (in your car glove box works well.)
Thankfully many churches, local schools and colleges set up as shelters during the hurricane last year, but many could not accommodate pets as well. However, there were several that did. Find out which ones in your area are typically open during every natural disaster and are willing to accept pets as well. This is a list of the local pet-friendly storm shelters on the East Coast. Jot some down and head out as soon as there is an evacuation recommendation.
Most importantly, keep calm (or try). Your pet is extremely in tune with your feelings, emotions and mental state so be cautious of this and try your very best to keep a level head during evacuation or during the storm in case you remain at home. Keep your family and pets clear of any windows or doors and stay on the ground floor unless there is a chance for flooding. Rely on the radio and television to keep you updated on what your next move should be. Never try to wait it out if local officials are suggesting evacuation. You don’t want to wait until it is too late.
More love for your animals: Check out Kate’s brand new online store Wednesday Cafe offering homemade organic vegan dog treats! (pictured right)
Photo: Downtown Traveler via Flickr; Kate Coffey/Forever Fascinated
Kate Coffey is the founder of Forever Fascinated Blog, a vegan, the lucky co-parent to Miss Wednesday the Wonder Pup, a French speaker/lover of anything French, U.S. Army Wife who is on a mission to spread the good word about living life to its fullest!