Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September, Cooler Temps, and Safe Pet Travel

 September has arrived and the air is finally becoming less humid. Plants that were stifled and scorched in the intense heat of July and August are bouncing back and have started putting out new growth. The intermittent breeze has become more frequent, making it far more pleasant to be outside, and a couple mornings this month it almost seemed like long-sleeve weather. While it will still be in the 80s for a while, and we won't see any real fall color in New Orleans until around November, it's nice to be able to be outside without the constant strain of oppressive heat.

While a slight dip in temperature is cause enough for celebration in these parts, about this time of year a number of people often start to relax for another reason - the midpoint of hurricane season. With September being seen as the climax of the period, if we get through the month without any major storms, many folk believe things will be okay for the rest of the time until the official close of the season in November.

Thankfully, 2015 has been a relatively quiet hurricane season with no named storms approaching the area, let alone any need to evacuate. It's always a good idea though to be prepared just in case. For starters, keeping a pet evacuation kit handy can save you from racing around at the last minute trying to get important supplies when store shelves are likely to be empty.

It can be difficult enough to find an available hotel room even a few days out when there is a storm approaching, but evacuating with pets can make it even more of a challenge, particularly if you have more than one. Having a list of pet-friendly hotels on hand will make the process a lot smoother for both you and your animals.

In the event that you are unable to find a hotel to evacuate to that accepts pets, your next best option may be to find one near a PetSmart PetsHotel. This way you can board your pet in a safe location overnight and still be nearby.

Of course, knowing the best way to get out of town when an evacuation is called is also crucial. No one wants to be sitting in gridlock traffic on the Interestate for several hours at what is already a stressful time. Say what you will about Twitter and Facebook, but social media is an excellent resource for keeping up with what is happening on the roads, especially when you don't have access to your favorite local TV or radio broadcasts.

When traveling with pets, The Huff Post recommends taking a trial run. If your pet isn't used to being in the car for long periods of time it could get sick or anxious. Your pet will need frequent bathroom breaks during your road trip out of town as well as plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated. You won't want to feed your pet while the car is moving, so be sure to plan your stops around his or her regular meal times.

When traveling across state lines Web MD recommends bringing a copy of your pet's vaccination papers along as some states require proof at interstate crossings. If your pet isn't microchipped, be sure it is wearing a collar with ID tags that clearly identify it and contain your direct and current contact information. You may also want to get a temporary tag with the information for your travel destination in case you and your pet get separated.

Make sure pets are crated or otherwise properly restrained for the journey. Items like favorite blankets and spill-proof water bowls will help to make time on the road a lot less stressful, and leashes and harnesses will help ensure your pet doesn't get away from you at rest stops. While everyone hopes to never have to evacuate, when it comes to traveling with pets, a little planning will go a long way.

Useful links:

Nola Ready
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
DOTD New Orleans Traffic
Pet Boarding Packing and Tips
Traveling by Car or Truck With Pets

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