Friday, March 1, 2024

Food, crates, medical records: Get your pets ready for Hurricane Dorian

Don't forget to plan for your pets as you make final preparations for Hurricane Dorian (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
Don’t forget to plan for your pets as you make final preparations for Hurricane Dorian. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON — While residents in the Cape Fear Region continue to prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Dorian it’s important to not forget about your four-legged friends while making preparations.

Whether you plan on evacuating or riding out the storm, life with pets brings new complications into the mix.

For those planning on staying in the area, each county will have a shelter that will accept pets. According to New Hanover county, “During an emergency event in which the county opens shelters for residents, at least one of the shelters will be designated as a pet co-location.”

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Things to remember if taking your pet to a shelter

  • Bring enough food for 5-7 days
  • Only cats and dogs will be accepted at the county’s pet co-location shelter
  • Owners must stay at the shelter with their pets
  • Pets will be housed in a separate area of the shelter because of health and safety concerns
  • Owners must provide a cage/crate for their pets
  • Owners should have proof that their pet(s)’s rabies vaccine is up-to-date

Make a Plan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency website states, “Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:

  • Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
  • Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
    • Find pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit.
    • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
    • Consider an out-of-town friend or relative
  • Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
  • Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
  • Add contact information to your pet’s collar.
  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger

Tips for Large Animals

If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs on your property, be sure to prepare before a disaster.

  • Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
  • Evacuate animals whenever possible. Map out primary and secondary routes in advance.
  • Make available vehicles and trailers needed for transporting and supporting each type of animal. Also make available experienced handlers and drivers.
  • Ensure destinations have food, water, veterinary care and handling equipment.
  • If evacuation is not possible, animal owners must decide whether to move large animals to shelter or turn them outside.

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