With hurricane season underway, it’s important to think about and plan to keep your pets safe when the weather gets bad. FoMA is here to help by providing some important tips and resources in the Miami-Dade area so your beloved pets aren’t forgotten.
How to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Hurricane
1. Plan Ahead: We know you don’t want to be separated from your family pets and doing some planning on the front end could help prevent that scenario. Stay informed on the weather developments and have an evacuation plan in place. Which route will you take to safely leave your home? Will you be evacuating to a family member’s house in a safe area? A friends? Or will you be staying in a hotel or hurricane shelter instead? These are all important questions to ask yourself before the storm is too close and the situation becomes too dangerous for evacuation. That is the best way to ensure you and your pets are safe.
2. Find a Shelter or Pet Friendly Hotel: If you can’t safely evacuate before the hurricane comes to your area, there are shelters in Miami-Dade County that will allow pets; however, the two listed below do require registration in advance of evacuation for a guaranteed spot, as space is limited. Call the County hotline 3-1-1 to register in advance.
- The Sunshine Pavilion on the grounds of the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition: 10901 SW 24th St.
- Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 NE 215th St. Aventura.
3. Purchase a Pet Carrier or Crate: It is always a good idea to have a pet carrier with you when you evacuate, as most shelters require that pets be kept inside a crate or carrier. Remember, having supplies in place before the storm is one of the first steps in effective planning for the safety of your pet . Don’t get caught in a situation where you do not have a crate or carrier and stores are sold out due to high demand.
4. Keep Up-to-Date ID and Vaccination Records: Make sure that your furry friend has an up-to-date tag with their information and yours, so that in the worst-case scenario that they are separated from you, they could be identified and returned to you. For some of the pet-friendly shelters, up-to-date medical records are also required to show that your pet has been vaccinated, so be sure to get your pet a clean bill of health prior to the storm and keep printed and digital copies with you at all times. Remember that microchipping is the best way to be reunited with your pets if you’re separated.
5. Hunker Down: If you can’t leave your house to evacuate but are still in a zone with a hurricane watch or warning, make sure you have enough food and water stocked up for you and your pet for at least five days. Dogs drink approximately 1 ounce (⅛ cup of water) of water per pound of body weight a day. So for a 50 pound dog you need around 32 cups of water for five days, or two gallons. Cats drink about 3.5-4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. So a 10 pound cat would drink about half a water bottle a day (7-9 oz), which would mean about 3 water bottles for 5 days would be a safe amount for your cat. Stock up on emergency supplies and medical supplies ahead of time as well. For your emergency pet kit you should include:
- Collar and tag(s) with a sturdy leash (include extras)
- ID tags, microchip ID and rabies tag
- Pet medications (ask your vet about keeping extra supplies/medications or a copy of prescriptions for your emergency kit)
- Medical records and current vaccinations
- Current photo of each pet with owner to prove ownership in case of separation
- Manual can opener if your pet eats food from a can
- Canned or dried pet food to last the 5 or so days recommended
- Cat litter, liners and a pan
- Plastic trash bags, newspaper, paper towels and disinfectant for waste and clean up
- Toys and any special comfort item for even a small amount of stress relief
6. Breathe: Hurricanes can be frightening, especially when you have loved ones to care for. But with the right preparation, you can weather the storm and come out the other end safely. Use this blog as reference for your pet preparedness needs during a hurricane or any other potential emergencies.
7. Stay Safe: Remember that shelters typically increase the stray hold in Miami Dade to five days during hurricanes and other natural disasters. So, if you are separated from your pet, immediately notify our County shelter to make sure they know your pup is lost and can facilitate reunion.