Can you believe that we are already in June? That means most schools are out for summer vacation, blushing brides are anxiously awaiting their walk down the aisle, and families are firing up the grill for barbecues.
June is also the beginning of something more frightening than swimsuit season and that is the Atlantic hurricane season! The forecasters are predicting a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 m.p.h. or more. Out of those storms, forecasters predict 5 to 9 could become hurricanes which include 1 to 4 major ones. Of course, there is no way to tell whether any of these potential storms will strike the U.S. coastline.
Growing up in Louisiana, hurricanes were a fact of life. Hurricane Katrina was devastating to the New Orleans area and impacted life for years. As a new resident of Texas, last year’s Hurricane Harvey is fresh on everyone’s mind. Many families are still displaced as the rebuilding continues. Since we can never know whether a major hurricane will hit, it is always best to be prepared.
That includes having an evacuation plan for your pets. Hurricane Katrina served as a wake-up call for animal shelters after more than 200,000 pets were displaced. It is estimated that at least 44% of residents refused to evacuate because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind. This caused many shelters to change their rules and accept families with their pets. Always check the area where you will evacuate to find a place that will allow you to bring your pets.
6 Tips to Ensure Your Pet’s Safety During a Disaster
1. Have your pet microchipped. A collar with your information printed on it is important but collars and tags are easily lost in disasters. A microchip can be the difference in reuniting you with your pet. Make sure the chip’s information is up-to-date.
2. Prepare a “Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is accessible in an emergency. Things to include:
- first aid supplies & emergency care guidebook
- a minimum of 3-days supply of pet food in a waterproof container & bowls
- bottle water
- a safety harness & leash
- waste clean-up bags
- medications/medical records in plastic bag
- veterinarian name/number taped to inside of your container
- any information on your pet’s feeding or behavioral issues
- comfort toys
3. Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window so first responders know there is a pet in the house.
4. Know where your pets hide when they are frightened. You will need to be able to find them quickly during an evacuation.
5. Have an up-to-date photo of your pet in the event you get separated.
6. Have a crate or kennel that you can transport your pets in during an evacuation. It is helpful to crate-train your pet in advance to reduce the stress on both of you.
It is easy to put off preparing for a disaster thinking that it either won’t happen to you or you’ll have time to get everything together. That is a nice thought but the reality of hurricanes or any natural disaster is that they are indiscriminate. Take a little time to make an emergency kit for your pets. I hope that you never have to use it but it’s always best to be prepared.
M. K. Clinton
M. K. Clinton is an award-winning author of The Returns book series and lifestyle dog blogger at Barking from the Bayou. She lives in Texas with her husband of thirty-five years and their two dogs, Bentley Basset Hound and Pierre Westie. A quote from her second book The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers, “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” has become a favorite with dog lovers around the world.