Hurricane season might start on June 1, but this is the time of year when the threat is highest for a storm to make landfall. Last week we talked about planning for an evacuation with your pet and making sure you have proper transportation to get you, your family and your pets out of harm’s way safely. This week, we will talk about finding a place to evacuate to once you get out of town.
I cannot stress enough that early evacuation is key. When you are leaving with children and pets, you are encouraged 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 cell phone 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.
Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. You should have a plan in place 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. Some hotels that do not normally allow pets will make an exception in the event of an emergency. However, never assume that an exception will be made once you arrive. Call ahead so that there are no surprises. A couple of online resources for pet-friendly lodging include Bringfido.com and Petswelcome.com.
Make sure to pack the proper provisions for your pets. Bring their food, treats, food bowls, medications, bedding, toys and other items your pet will need. Your pets will be unsure of what is going on and you will want to make them as comfortable as possible. Make sure to have collars, leashes, poop bags and other necessary items. You will also want to have your pet’s updated rabies tags and paperwork, should you have to board them at any point during your evacuation.
Evacuating for a hurricane is a stressful time for everyone, including your pets. Having a proper plan that includes transportation and a safe destination that will accept all of your family members will help to make an evacuation a little easier on everyone.
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 the generosity of people from all over the country who have followed them since Katrina. Contact ARNO at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org, or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.