(WLOX) - Hurricane season is among us. And while many people stock up on water and batteries, officials with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) want to remind people to start preparing their pets too!
Many families have a solid hurricane plan when storms hit, but what about the pets? Often times, pet owners don’t have a pet plan, which can lead to difficult decisions or worse options for pets.
MEMA officials say when creating a pet plan, ask yourself two questions.
- Do you have enough food and water in th house dedicated for your pet(s)?
- Can you take your pet(s) with you to a shelter or hotel?
Here are some important things to remember when putting together your plan.
Before the disaster:
• Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
• Have a current photograph of your pet.
• Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash to control your pet.
• Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal – carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
• Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet. Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics, friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
• If you plan to shelter your pet, work it into your evacuation route planning.
During the disaster:
• Animals brought to a pet shelter could be required to have: proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and newspapers, litter boxes or trash bags for clean-up.
• Bring pets indoors well in advance of a storm – reassure them and remain calm.
• Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
After the disaster:
• Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home. Often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and pets could easily be confused or become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water along with debris can pose threats for animals after a disaster.
• If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
• After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive – monitor their behavior.
Pet disaster supply kit:
• Proper identification including immunization records.
• Ample supply of food and water.
• A carrier or cage.
• Muzzle, collar and leash.
• Clean-up materials (trash bags, old newspapers, litter box, etc.)