Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness For Pets

Surrounded by litter left by refugees, a dog remained tied to the railing of a highway ramp in New Orleans on September 3, 2005, six days after Hurricane Katrina. Like many of the city's newly stranded pets, the dog may have been refused passage by rescuers as they evacuated its owners.

In one such instance reported by the Associated Press the previous week, a police officer took a dog from a sobbing young boy as he was waiting to board an evacuation vehicle. The officer had no idea what would become of the dog, he told an AP reporter.

 U.S. Air Force Lt. Nathan Brosheal held a kitten that had been rescued and airlifted to Louisiana's New Orleans International Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on August 29.

Thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals have been stranded along the U.S. Gulf Coast as a result of the hurricane. Rescue workers in New Orleans denied pets entry to some shelters and often refused to allow animals aboard evacuation vehicles, according to reports. 

The ASPCA advises residents to bring all pets inside their home in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather emergency. This includes dogs in outdoor kennels and outdoor cats. Prepare a space for them away from windows where they will be protected from falling debris.
Remember, if the space is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pet.
Prepare an emergency kit for each animal in your home. The kit should include:
•           Pet first aid kit and manual
•           One week supply of food, water and medications
•           Copies of vaccination records with your veterinarian’s contact number
•           Photographs of pets in case they become lost and you need to create a “missing” flyer
•           Sturdy carrier for each pet
•           Leash and collars
•           Comforting blanket
•           Disposable litter trays
•           Litter
•           Pet food and water bowls
•           Garbage bags for cleanup
•           Toys
•           Always take your animals with you when there is an emergency. If disaster strikes and you cannot get to your home, use a pre-planned “buddy system” and call your neighbor to get your pet. If you are forced to evacuate your home, don't leave your pet behind. Find out if any local hotels take pets. Call area veterinarians and kennels who might board your pet. Find out who does this in advance.
•           Keep one carrier per pet in an easily accessible place in your home.
•           If you absolutely must leave your dog or cat behind, bring them inside; do not leave a dog tied outside. Put a large sign on the door to notify rescue crews to the presence of pets; leave plenty of water in a large open container; leave food in a dispenser-style bowl (so your pet can't eat it all at once); and do not tie or cage your dog or cat.
•           Make sure pets are properly restrained:
o   Cats: Have a properly fitting harness and leash in your supplies so that if your cat must be confined in a cage for an extended period of time, you can take it out for exercise.
o   Dogs: Have a properly fitting harness and at least a 6-foot leash in your supplies for walking your dog. Disasters are stressful for dogs, and a frightened dog can slip out of a collar, but not a harness.
•           Maintain up-to-date copies of your pets’ medical records. Keep medical records and photos with the important insurance papers that you would take with you if you had to evacuate.
•           If your pet requires medication, always have a two-week supply available in case there is a disaster and you cannot get to an animal hospital.
•           Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag and if possible, have them microchipped. Collars should include your pet’s name, your telephone number(s) and an emergency contact. Remember that proper identification will greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your pet if she becomes lost.


  1. What shameful villainy, throwing your animals to the wind like that. If I have to bug out, mine are going with me. If for some reason they can't, I will stay with them.

    There's a pic making the rounds of a squaddie's coffin with his dog parked right beside it, refusing to leave. Loyalty like that is not free; it has to be reciprocated. A fella has to look in the mirror in the morning and that is really hard to do when you betray animals that love you.

  2. I agree with the above comment. I could not leave my pets behind, just abandon them in the middle of nowhere like that.

    Very good advice and I hope everyone reads it and heeds it. Here's to hoping that Irene calms down somewhat.

  3. Yea. I love my dog all too much to leave him behind.

    I couldnt do it. Wouldnt even try.

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  4. I would never leave and leave Sissy behind. I would stay and hold onto her as she is scared of a lot of things, including storms. I would sleep in a box, eat out of trash cans and risk the wind, but not leave ms. Sissy Dog. She comes first, always. Love you and your love for animals. Sissy is running for President, you know! Thanks, Richard from My Old Historic House.

  5. Good info! I'm sure some just did not plan ahead, which makes this blog post even more timely.

  6. No way would I leave any of my dogs or birds behind! I rescued a mourning dove 6 years ago, when I found a sanctuary that would take her my daughter and I couldn't part with her!
    We tried releasing her out here a couple of times when she was young, but everytime I threw her into the air she flew away and flew back landing on my head! So since she thinks I'm her mom she's got a home here.
    Have a nice weekend!

  7. The reminder of what happened to these poor animals is heartbreaking...I still don't get how anyone could leave their pet behind, it's just not an option. The authorities needed to allow for's criminal what happened to so many of them, being left behind with no care or thought to what should happen to them.
    Maybe a special shelter, with caring workers is the answer, it wouldn't take much to set up and I'm sure there would be many volunteers.
    I hope there were no animal casualties or abandonments from Irene...haven't heard yet.
    xo J~

  8. While pet owners increasingly view their house pets much like their minor "children," most overwhelmingly fail to make any estate planning that includes their Cat and Cats, frequently leaving them no protections when their owners are not around. Hardly the way we would treat our own human minor children! The message? Employ the "pet trust" remedy and provide for the care of your pets when you become seriously ill, incapacitated, or death...

  9. The unconditional love that pets show their female owners seem to be paying off. In a recent survey done by the English animal charity group, The Brooke, more than 1/3 of the 2,000 women surveyed reported that they loved their Cat names as much as their significant other. This overwhelming show of love may not be surprising, especially considering that our modern pets have become members of our human families.

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