Hurricane season will be different this year as we prepare in the wake of an unprecedented pandemic. Giving yourself extra time by prepping now – before news of an approaching hurricane– will be the best way to keep your pet & family safe in these uncertain times.

Vaccinations

One of the first things you need to do is make sure all your pets are up-to-date on their vaccines—if your animals are in a situation where they have to travel, be boarded or placed in an evacuation shelter, making sure they are current on vaccines is paramount for their health, as well as the health of other animals.

Have your pet’s most recent vaccine records available now. Existing Essentials PetCare clients may use our online pet portal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to access vaccine records. On this site you can conveniently view/print your pet’s vaccination records, access their microchip number, view/print receipts and update your contact information.

If your pet is due for vaccines, check to see if your local Essentials PetCare clinic is available for a visit.

Keep Your Pet Safe from Getting Lost & Other Hurricane Hazards

Your pets should also already be microchipped, but if they aren’t, it’s extremely important to have them chipped this time of the year, in case they get lost or separated from you.

After a disaster, landmarks and familiar scents may be altered, which can cause animals to become confused and lost. When all pets do go outside, please keep them on a leash and close to you, as they may be unaware of their surroundings. Additionally, beware of snakes and other potentially dangerous animals that may have migrated to your area. Be also on the lookout for other hazards, such as broken sidewalks and downed power lines.

Set Evacuation Plans

Research local recommendations and plans for evacuation. Be mindful that previously designated evacuation sites and set procedures may have changed due to the pandemic. If you think you may need to board your pet during an evacuation, search for a boarding facility now to make sure they are open and to see if they have any additional preparations and policy updates at this time.

Gather All Emergency Supplies

Have a crate for each pet and store supplies in an Evac-Pack. Place everything at an easily accessible location for everyone in your household. We recommend preparing this now, because it may be especially challenging to get supplies in the wake of the pandemic. Ensure that everything is clearly labeled and ready to go. A good idea is to label your pet’s crate with your name and full contact information. Essentials to have handy are:

Water, water, water, and more water. Have at least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet.

Enough food for everyone for at least a week, if not longer. Ensure that food is stored in water-tight containers, and only use canned food if you are desperate. Please note that changing your pets’ diet can lead to diarrhea and dehydration.

Pet first-aid kit and guidebook. Know what to have and do in case of an emergency. You can find a list of first aid supplies and tips here.

Pet medical supplies. Store photocopies of medical records as well as a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires.

Other miscellaneous essentials. Include a flashlight, blanket, recent photos of your pet, liquid dish soap, disinfectant, and a long leash and yard stake.

Another helpful thing to keep in mind is having proper transport for each pet—ideally a traveling bag, crate, or sturdy carrier.

Finally, you should have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items you should include are facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, batteries, duct tape, a flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information, a signal mirror, compass, human first aid kit, several portable power banks, matches, and spray paint for visible messages in case of a communication outage. Also consider having books and board games to kill time in case there is a power outage.

Additional helpful resources include:

FEMA

Ready.Gov

ASPCA

CDC

CDC: Preparing for Hurricanes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

EPC FAQ During COVID-19

Being prepared is not difficult and having a plan and proper supplies will help your family and pets in case the worst happens.If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local clinic.