The latest prediction for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, calls for 14 to 23 named storms, half of which could become hurricanes. If you own pets, the likelihood you and your animals will survive a natural disaster depends largely on being prepared to vacate at a moment's notice. Here are some tips on how to prepare for an evacuation in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster.
Don't leave your pet at home. Most evacuations last only a few days, but there are times that you may not be able to return to your home quickly. The safest place for your pets is with you. Be prepared to take your pets with you in an evacuation by having a sturdy, safe, comfortable crate or carrier ready for transporting.
Call ahead. If you plan to go to a hotel call ahead to make sure animals are welcome. Most hotels relax their pet policies during times of crises, but do not assume that will happen. Information concerning hotel pet-friendly policies is typically found on their website.
Coordinate shelter. Animal-related businesses often offer shelter for people, family members and animals in the event of an emergency. If you belong to a dog club, contact members outside the affected area by telephone or e-mail to coordinate shelter and transportation for those in need.
Be prepared. Keep copies of your dog license, vaccination documents, health records in a clean plastic bag or waterproof container. Ask your veterinarian to supply you with a copy of all records of your pets so that you can maintain these records at your home.
Keep a bag packed. Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Pack a backup leash, collar and ID tag. The American Kennel Club also recommends a permanent identification, such as a microchip along with enrollment in a pet recovery service. Visit www.akccar.org to learn more about microchips. Also have ready the following items: your pet's health records and medications, food and water bowls, food for one week, a gallon of spring water, a portable kennel/crate and pet bedding.
Additional tips on how to prepare your pets for emergencies can be found on the AKC website at www.akc.org/news/disaster_preparedness/.