June first is the beginning of hurricane season. Now is the time to prepare for hurricanes. This is Part Two of our simple action plan to get cat and canine guardians ready for storm season.
Part one of our public service announcement can be found here: PSA: Hurricane Preparedness Action Guide for Pet Guardians. It lists key steps every responsible guardian should take now and during a storm threat. This second action guide covers important preparations to take to be ready for the aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm, which is often just as difficult, if not more so, for many families. We also provide a checklist for your fur-baby go-bag! Don’t miss this important preparedness step!
Before the Storm: Part One Summary
- Make sure vaccinations are current.
- Have an appropriately-sized carrier ready.
- Locate and list safe, animal-friendly places to leave your fur baby in an evacuation.
- Find places where you and the fur-babies can take refuge together.
- Have an emergency bag packed and stored near the primary exit.
- Know the plans of those around you.
During the Storm: Part One Summary
- Call ahead to confirm shelter arrangements for you and your pets.
- Gather pets inside and get them ready.
- Put those collars on, and attach the right information.
- Double check all disaster supplies and place the go-bag by the door or in the car.
After the Storm
During the storm, we do our best to keep our families safe from clear threats like rising water, wind and debris, and the trauma of fear and uncertainty. After the storm, we face a whole different type of challenge. In some cases it may just be the process of recovery and finding a routine again. For others, recovery can involve clearing debris, finding clean water, and connecting with loved ones. Even if damage is minimal, everything smells different after a storm, which can be disconcerting for both, cats and dogs. Something as benign as a rain puddle can actually be a dangerous place. Bacteria can build up, or chemicals may have drained from damaged pipes or flooded cars. Keeping these items on hand and these tips in mind will be some of the best ways to help fur-babies through these tough times.
Have a pet first-aid kit ready and keep it nearby. A pet first aid kit should have fresh water for irrigating wounds. Gauze and bandages to wrap wounds that won’t stick to hair. Add an oral syringe for medication and another for irrigating wounds. If possible, have a cone collar available in case Fido or Socks tries to chew on bandages. Have vet-recommended painkillers on-hand as well as the numbers for the local vet, the ASPCA poison control center, and any local friends and family who can look after cats and canines while their guardians are tending to damaged property, work, and community services.
Avoid getting angry and bad or unusual behavior from pets. During any emergency, stress levels are high, routines are disrupted, and many scents are unusual. Many animals can end up acting out, running away, or reacting in unusual ways to the changes that are happening. Instead, make sure fur-babies have familiar toys or beds. Create a safe place for them and be compassionate, rather than punitive when they act out. Don’t forget to take time for games and play. Most dogs and cats are similar in intellect and maturity to children, ages 2-5 years. All children, furry or otherwise, need play, compassion, and safety.
Create a Go-bag!
A backpack with basic essentials are important for all families. They should be customized to the needs of each family and the potential disasters they may face in their area, but the need to have one stored by the main exit of a home doesn’t change. When fur-babies are involved there are additional items to include.
- Pet identification including description, current photos, and microchip information.
- Include photos of yourself with your pet. If you are separated and need to prove guardianship, anyone trying to ID your pet can also easily see that you are the guardian.
- Hurricanes often cause lengthy outages and shortages of food and water. Always include a two week supply of food and water for pets.
- Bring a can opener if you are bringing any canned pet food.
- Veterinarian offices also often evacuate, so include two weeks of any pet medications.
- The correct-sized carrier.
- This is an important time for supplements, in particular, immunity and nutrition because cats and canines are often stressed out and coping with diet changes, upset stomach, and access to contaminated water puddles.
- Pet first aid kit.
- Extra collar and leash for each pet.
- Familiar comforts for rest and for playtime: toys, favorite treats, comfortable bed.
- Poo bags, litter and small box, paper towels and cleaning supplies for any accidents.
- Collapsable water and food bowls for each pet.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers recommendations to help guardians prepare for disasters.
Healthy and important pet pantry staples are some of the most important additions to pet go-bags.
EcoEats® is the perfect dehydrated dog food for everyday use, but it’s also great for the go-bag. It’s lightweight and provides several meals in one bag with the addition of water and a protein. In emergency situations, protein can be something as simple as canned tuna. It’s grain-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, free from by-products, vet approved, and great for all life stages.
EcoImmune is an immune booster supplement and pet pantry staple that keeps dogs and cats ready to combat attacks on their immune systems. Stress, different foods, changes to schedules and routines, and other immune stressors mean immunity support is critical.
EcoDigestive™ probiotic and enzyme support formula for dogs and cats improves the absorption of nutrients. Commercial food can be difficult to digest. By providing essential digestive enzymes, dogs and cats experience relief from the common digestive troubles caused by most commercial diets including, upset stomach, digestive discomfort, flatulence, and more.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause a myriad of problems and damage. By planning and creating a healthy set of food and supplement options, every cat and canine guardian can minimize stress, and ensure resilience and recovery for the whole family.