August and September may signal the end of summer and the start of school for many parts of the United States, but for southeast Texas, these months also represent peak hurricane season. Ensure your pet is included in your storm or evacuation plans with these helpful tips from the Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team.

#1: Microchip and register your pet 

Stormy conditions and evacuation preparations can be stressful and frightening for pets, many of whom become a higher escape risk. So, you must not only ensure that your pet’s collar fits well and carries current identification or tags, but also that you have your pet microchipped, which our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team strongly recommends. If your pet is already microchipped, visit your nearest Neighborhood Veterinary Centers location to have the chip scanned and ensure it’s in good working order. Also, ensure your chip number is registered in the microchip manufacturer’s database and your pet’s profile reflects your current contact information. 

#2: Update your pet’s wellness care services

Before the storms roll in, update your pet’s preventive health needs, including any overdue or upcoming services, such as their physical examination, vaccines, and parasite prevention. This ensures that they will be welcomed at pet-friendly lodgings, such as boarding or veterinary facilities, and pet-friendly hotels, motels and emergency evacuation shelters, along your evacuation route.  

#3: Stay stocked on your pet’s medication, food, and supplies

Impending hurricanes can impact delivery routes and you may not be able to get to the veterinary clinic or nearby pet store or have time to refill your pet’s prescription medication or special dietary food during an emergency evacuation. Therefore, we recommend maintaining  extra supplies that your pet needs throughout hurricane season. Request that your pet’s veterinarian include a larger quantity of medication in your pet’s next refill, and purchase extra food and litter that you store in small bags or containers for easier transport during an evacuation.

#4: Prepare an emergency kit for your pet

If you’ve lived in southeast Texas during hurricane season, you probably have a well-honed supply list for evacuation and sheltering-in-place. The Neighborhood Veterinary Centers team recommends preparing a similar kit for your pet. Suggested supplies include:

  • Food 
  • Bottled water
  • Medications
  • Can opener for canned food
  • Pet health and vaccine records, including microchip number
  • Emergency contact information
  • Current pet photo and a photo of you with your pet for proof of ownership
  • Pet dishes
  • Disposable litter box and litter
  • Clean up supplies (e.g., poop bags, paper towels, stain cleaner)
  • Favorite toys 
  • Bedding
  • Long-lasting treat or chew 
  • Spare leash and collar
  • Crate, carrier, or pet seat belt
  • Pet first aid kit

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you keep at least seven days of food and water and a 14-day supply of medication. Check your pet’s supply kit monthly and rotate or dispose of unused or expired products.

#5: Make a pet-friendly evacuation plan

Waiting to plan your evacuation until a hurricane is on the horizon can leave you and your pet with limited options. Sadly, some pet owners panic and leave their four-legged friends behind.

Avoid this unnecessary tragedy by planning your evacuation route and destination in advance. Scout potential lodging along your route and list the pet-friendly options. Be aware that obvious locations, such as pet boarding facilities, tend to fill up quickly, so if you intend to temporarily house your companion at a pet-based business, you must call as soon as you know you’re evacuating. Alternatively, ask friends and family who live outside the traditional storm zone if they would be willing to shelter you and your pet during an emergency.

#6: Keep your pets safe during and after the storm

Flying debris, violent winds, and torrential rain can quickly lead to property and life loss. If you choose to ride out the storm at home, protect your pets during and after the hurricane with extra precautions, including:

  • Securing fences, gates, and barriers and checking for damage before letting pets outside
  • Keeping pets away from windows and doors in case of flying debris 
  • Inspecting yards and trees for debris, broken limbs, or fence damage
  • Keeping refrigerated medications cold during power outages (e.g., a cooler, generator-powered refrigerator)

Your pet is part of the family, so they should be part of your disaster preparedness plan. For additional hurricane preparation information, or to update your pet’s preventive care, contact Neighborhood Veterinary Centers.