The beginning of summer means school holidays, long sunny days, outdoor concerts, picnics, and many other fun activities. However, the flip side of the summer coin is the devastating hurricane activity that could afflict much of the country.
June marks the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are forecasting above-average hurricane activity again.
“Hurricanes continue to become more destructive, and after last year’s deadly storms, many families have been tragically separated from their beloved pets,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, CEO and President of American Humane. “It is essential that you plan accordingly to protect your entire family — including pets.”
Hurricane Ida was one such summer storm that was disastrous for humans, but horrific and tragic for the local fauna. Many innocent animals have been separated from their families – leaving them frightened and alone. In response, the American Humane Rescue Team deployed to Louisiana Parish of Trebonne and Lafourche to care for hundreds of displaced animals in the aftermath of the deadly storm. The goal was to reunite as many animals as possible with their families and loved ones.
In addition to the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic, June is also Pet Preparedness Month. It is our duty to protect not only ourselves, but also those who depend on us the most — including our pets. In an emergency, every second counts and it is crucial that you are ready to protect your entire family.
Refer to our top tips below for preparing your pets for this hurricane season.
Before the storm:
- Microchip pets and/or have a tag on their collar with your name, current address, and mobile phone number.
- Tie down or secure external objects that could fly off and injure someone.
- Bring all pets inside and make sure you have emergency supplies – extra pet food, water and a prepared carrier that’s large enough for your pet to turn around and lie down comfortably.
- Review your evacuation plan and get a pet disaster preparedness kit, including a pet carrier, first aid supplies, leashes, bowls, sanitation materials, chew toys and food, medicine and water (minimum three days, but ideally seven to 10 days).
- If your family must be evacuated, take your pets with you and leave as soon as possible. Remember to take a pet disaster preparedness kit with you.
During the storm…. If you cannot evacuate:
- Choose a safe room to ride out the storm—an interior room without windows—and take your entire family there, including your pets.
- Stay with pets. If they are stored in crates, they depend on you for food and water.
- Keep your emergency kit in that room with you (food, water, trash, and medicine).
- Know where your pets are hiding. This is where they can run; Keep it with you.
- Secure exits and cat doors so pets cannot escape in the storm.
- Don’t calm your pets. They will need their instincts to survive if the storm demands it.
After the storm:
- Make sure the storm has completely passed before you go outside and assess the damage before letting the animals out.
- Put dogs on a leash and cats on a carrier. Displaced trees and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris can harm them.
- Give the pet time to re-route. Familiar smells and sights may be altered and cause a pet to become disoriented or lost.
- Keep animals away from downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affects animals as well, creating new stresses and risks. Your pet’s behavior may change after the crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more space between her and other animals, children or strangers. Animals need rest, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and calm environment, even if it is not their home.
Dangerous summer storms are just as much a part of the summer season as baseball games and fireworks, and making sure you have a plan that includes your pets will not only help save the lives of our beloved animals but also the lives of owners, volunteers, and first responders.