When a storm approaches, it's important to remember to look out for your pets, too. After all, they are members of the family.
Here are some things to think about both before and after a storm hits to keep your pets safe.
Before the storm
Pet owners need to have a plan of action for their pets. Most public shelters in the Tampa Bay area cannot admit persons with pets, so you'll need to plan ahead. Determine your best option for where to leave your pet. Here are some ideas:
Some kennels have certain requirements for boarding your pet. Please familiarize yourself with these and make arrangements accordingly. Be prepared to show proof of vaccinations when dropping your pet off at a kennel.
Remember, don't leave your pet alone during a storm. The Humane Society of the United States warns that animals left behind in a disaster can easily get hurt, lost, or worse. And if you evacuate, you have no idea how long you'll be gone, so it's not safe to leave your pets alone. They also say if you must evacuate, go early, so that you'll be able to do so with your animals safely in tow.
After the storm
The Humane Society recommends making sure your pets aren't allowed to run loose after a storm. Even if they do on a regular basis, familiar landmarks and smells might be displaced by the storm, meaning pets can easily get lost. They say you should keep your dogs on a leash and your cats inside.
Experts also say to be patient with pets after a disaster. They recommend trying to get them back into their normal routines as quickly as possible, but be ready for any behavioral problems that may develop as a result of the stress they experience.
Pet owner's pre-storm shopping list
When a hurricane threatens, you'll need to have essential supplies on hand for your pet, whether you are away from home for a day or a week. Get these items in advance so you'll be prepared in the event of a storm.
The following is a checklist of items to keep in your pet supply kit, according to the SPCA of Tampa Bay:
For more information and a free brochure for pet owners, contact the SPCA of Tampa Bay
Large animals mean extra planning
People with large animals need to make special plans in case a hurricane strikes. Here are some recommendations from the Sunshine State's Horse Council:
For information on disaster preparations for large animal owners and a searchable emergency evacuation resource list, please click here to visit the Sunshine State Horse Council's website .
Need help finding more info on how to get your pet prepared for hurricane season? Here's a list of links that can help:
Some Bay Area counties have specific instructions and advice for pet owners to follow when it comes to hurricanes. For specific information on pet-friendly shelters and county-by-county tips to keep your pet safe during a storm, click on your county's name:
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