Hurricane 2012: Before the storm - Protect your loved ones and history

Preparing pets

Emergency Management and Animal Services officials recommend pet owners create a checklist when assembling their own hurricane supply kits. Here are some tips compiled from websites across the nation:

■ Make sure pet vaccinations are up to date.

■ Arrange for family or friends to shelter you and your pet inland, away from the storm if you cannot leave or cannot find alternative pet-friendly lodging. If your pet is on medications, ask if your vet offers shelter.

■ Bring extra food, water and medications — enough to last several days to three weeks.

■ Include pictures of you and your pet in the emergency kit.

■ Bring an appropriate-sized carrier for your pet with identification information on the sides. Keep each pet in a separate carrier, confining smaller animals away from larger ones.

■ Carry important pet paperwork and veterinarian records in plastic, watertight bags.

■ Bring food and water dishes, a can opener, utensils, cat litter, litter box, pooper-scooper and bags, first-aid kit, leashes, dish soap, paper towels, blankets, some favorite toys or treats, flea collars or flea-repellent drops.

■ Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags and label all your pet’s belongings. Also consider microchipping your pet.

■ Transport hamsters, gerbils, ferrets and other small mammals in carriers that can maintain the animals while at the boarding location. Take food, water, bowls, bottles, bedding and other necessary items.

■ For birds or lizards, transport them in secure travel cages or carriers without water. Keep the cage in a quiet area and don’t let them out. Take a photo for identification and either leg band or microchip the bird. Bring medicine, medical records, water, food, toys, newspapers or cage lining and cleaning supplies.

■ For reptiles, a pillowcase is a good transport carrier for snakes, as long as the snake is immediately transferred to a more secure cage once you reach the boarding location. Bring adequate food — especially if the reptile requires frequent feedings — along with a water bowl and heating pad.

If you remain at home with your pet:

■ Noise from a storm can frighten a pet. If possible, keep the pet within sight.

■ Use the supplies in your pet survival kit for your pet’s sanitary and food needs.

■ Never leave your pet chained outside.

■ Never tranquilize pets. They need to use survival instincts to escape potential danger.

■ Anchor outside objects that cannot be brought inside to avoid injury to animals, humans or property.

■ Walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home. Often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets can easily be confused and become lost.

■ Downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris also can pose a threat for animals after a disaster.

■ Pets can become aggressive or defensive after a hurricane, so monitor their behavior.

■ If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. If possible, bring a picture of your pet.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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