Don’t wait for the last minute to prepare both you and your pets for an emergency! The following is a vital part of pre-emergency preparations for every pet owner:
- Pre-plan shelter arrangements: St. Lucie County does not presently have a pet shelter in place during an emergency. The Humane Society of St. Lucie County has prepared a list of local veterinarian offices that offer shelter for pets in an emergency. Most require reservations in advance of a storm, so contact your own veterinarian or one of those listed here for further information well in advance. We have also collected a list of pet-friendly hotels in the area. If you plan to evacuate outside the Treasure Coast area, research pet-friendly hotels well in advance.
- Microchip your pet: This is vital even without an impending storm. A microchip dramatically increases the chances you will be reunited with your pet if separated. Remember to keep your address and phone number updated with the company that issues the chip. Contact the Humane Society of SLC for a microchip. If you absolutely cannot microchip your pet, make sure they are wearing a collar and tag with your cell phone number and address, and take updated photos and a description of your pet with you. Please note, however, that your pet can become separated from its collar; one more reason a microchip is so vital.
- Make sure vaccinations are updated: Many vets require proof of up-to-date vaccinations for your pet before sheltering them, as do pet-friendly hotels. These vaccination records should be kept in a safe place with all your other important paperwork so they’re easily accessible and safe. If you evacuate your home, take these records with you!
- Include pet needs with hurricane supplies: A 5-day supply of pet food, water, bowls, leash/harness, cat box/litter, pet medications (in airtight container) and pet first-aid supplies should be part of your emergency preparations. If using canned food, don’t forget the can opener! Dry food should be in an airtight container. Plastic or travel-size bowls are easiest to transport.
- Pet crates: Many vets and hotels require that your pet be transported in a crate/carrier. In addition, pets will be safer in your vehicle inside a crate, and often feel more secure and less frightened inside a crate or kennel during a storm. Make sure the carrier is large enough for the pet to stand, turn-around and comfortably sleep in. A favorite blanket or toy can also reduce your pet’s stress.