Hurricane season has officially started, and now is the time to get your evacuation plan in place — not only for the humans in your family, but also your pets.
If conditions are not going to be safe for you, then they are not going to be safe for your pet. We have come a long way since Hurricane Katrina, and no pet should be left behind if there is the threat of a storm.
Early evacuation is key. When you are leaving with children and pets, it is a good idea to leave early before conditions become severe and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
If you wait for a mandatory evacuation and require the assistance of emergency personnel, there is no guarantee that your pets will be assisted as well.
Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification. Your cellphone number should be on your pets’ tags and an alternate phone number as well. Having your pet microchipped with a chip that is registered and up-to-date will increase your chances of being reunited in the unlikely event that you become separated.
Put together a pet disaster kit. Living in south Louisiana, we all have that evacuation box of important documents, wedding photos, etc. that we can throw in the car at a moment’s notice.
We also need to prepare a kit for our pets.
Basic items for a pet evacuation kit include:
◘ Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener or pop-top canned food
◘ A pet first aid kit
◘ Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop, garbage bags
◘ Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and securely
◘ Pet beds and toys
◘ Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets for identification purposes and proof of ownership in the event you should become separated
◘ Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian
◘ Supplies such as newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and cleaning products
Find a safe place to stay ahead of time. Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter.
You should have a plan in place ahead of time that will include your pets.
Ask family and friends outside of your area if they can shelter you and your pets, if needed. Contact hotels to see what their pet policies are, including any restrictions on the number of pets, size and species.
Ask if any of their pet restrictions would be waived in the event of an emergency.
A couple of online resources for pet-friendly lodging include Bringfido.com and Petswelcome.com.
Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Having a solid evacuation plan in place ahead of time will alleviate stress and allow for a smooth exit should an evacuation be necessary.
SUNDAY: ARNO adoptables (cats and dogs) from noon to 4 p.m. at PETCO, 3520 Veterans Blvd.
JUNE 13: Pause for Dinner (and Lunch!) for the Louisiana SPCA. Restaurants across Greater New Orleans donate 20 percent of their dining proceeds to the LA/SPCA. For participating restaurants and more information, please visit http://www.la-spca.org/pause.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends upon people who have followed them since Katrina. Contact ARNO at firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.animalrescueneworleans.org, or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.