Yes, it's that time again. Though many of us in New Orleans may shudder at the thought post K, living so close to the Gulf Coast means living with the ongoing threat of a "tropical" system occurring being very much of a reality. While the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1, hurricanes can actually happen at any time of the year.
As stated in our recent newsletter, as we get closer to August and September hurricanes can become more active. Petit Pet Care could potentially be caring for as many as 20 pets on a given day, and in the event of a mandatory evacuation it would be impossible to move them all to safety. It is extremely important that you have a plan in case a storm arises when you are out of town.
It is equally important that you have a storm plan in case a system heads our way that does not require an evacuation. High winds are known to bring down tree limbs and wreak havoc on power lines. It's not unheard of to be without electricity for days after a storm has exited the area.
Our client, Milo, with the hurricane kit his mom put together.
That means that both people and pets could have to suffer through some very hot days and dark nights. Lanterns for each room as well as battery operated fans are must-have. Other important battery operated items include radios and televisions to be able to keep up with weather reports. (Of course you'll need batteries too...)
New Orleans hasn't been directly impacted by a storm since about 2012. This is both a good thing and a bad thing because those who moved to the city post K and have not experienced a storm first hand will not understand the necessity of advance preparation for something that may not even happen. It's important not only to gather supplies, but to do so early in the season so that you don't run the risk of important items being out of stock should a storm threat arise.
Even when there is no tropical system, rainstorms frequently cause flooding and ponding on metro area roads making them impassible. That means that in addition to the possibility of a power outage, you have to plan for the possibility of your route to or from home being inaccessible or even the need to move your vehicle to higher ground temporarily.
Make sure you have several gallons of bottled water for you and your fur babies. If they require medications, make sure you have extra on hand as well as additional food, potty pads, kitty litter - anything you might need if you were cut off from replenishing household supplies for a few days. Be sure to include cleaning supplies in your storm prep shopping.
If for some reason you are out of town when a storm hits arrangements may have to be made to move your pet to safety. Be sure to provide an emergency contact who would be willing to evacuate with your pet should the need arise. If no one is available and Petit Pet Care has to evacuate your pet we will need access to your pet's most recent vaccination records, up-to-date vaccination tags, and their carrier/crate as well. (Note there will be a per pet, per day charge.)
If you are new to the area, or haven't experienced hurricane season with a pet before, you may find the following helpful in the event you have to evacuate:
Pro tips for evacuating with pets:
- For cats, pick up a couple of disposable litter boxes and make sure to have extra litter.
- If your pet gets anxious while traveling, talk to your vet about a sedative. Dogs can safely be given Benedryl, but speak to your vet about the proper dosage.
- Music can help soothe an anxious pet while in the car. Try playing some classical music or something like Frank Sinatra.
- Keep your cats in their carriers when in the car and transporting. They feel safer in their carriers than loose. If loose in the car, they will try to hide under seats and may bolt once a door is open. Make sure the carrier is big enough for your cat to move around and has a towel or blanket for them to lie on.
- Make sure your cat or dog has a collar on with their rabies tags and contact info in case they do get lost. Have your pet microchipped if they aren't already. Tags can fall off, so you can try this low-tech trick: write your phone number on the inside of your dog's collar with a permanent marker.
For more tips and information about hurricanes and how to prepare for them, please see our Pinterest board, Hurricane Season and Disaster Preparedness.
Have some tips you'd like to share? Please post them in the comments.
Red Cross Pet and Disaster Safety Checklist
Get A Game Plan
LASPCA Disaster Preparedness