Getting your pets ready for hurricane season in South Florida

Getting your pets ready for hurricane season in South Florida

There are many things to consider in preparing your pet for hurricane season.

Before the Storm

"Do everything for your dog or your cat that you would do for yourself. The supplies you need to survive, get the supplies they need to survive," said Lauree Simmons, President and Founder, Big Dog Ranch.

"A lot of times people don't make their own plans far enough in advance so suddenly they're panicking about getting themselves ready and the pets end up being secondary," said Rich Anderson, Executive Director & CEO, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.

"Make sure your dogs or cats are microchipped. That's number one," said Pat Deshong, President, Furry Friends.

Anderson recommended, "One, you want to have physical identification on your pets."

If you are leaving town make a reservation before space fills up, "If you are going to take your pet with you know where you are going to go. Find out ahead of time which hotels are dog friendly," said Simmons. La Quinta hotels, for example, usually have pet-friendly rooms.

Only a few storm shelters on the Treasure Coast and in Palm Beach take pets so you may have to make alternate plans. "Call the boarding places now," Simmons said.

The main takeaway is to plan ahead make sure you have all your animal's information, "Medical records, proof of vaccinations get those together and put them in a waterproof bag," said Anderson.

"Most boarding places will not take your pet if you don't have a copy of your pet being current on vaccines," said Simmons.

Deshong recommends keeping copies of their records on your phone, "Take pictures of it, absolutely, that's the easiest thing you could do."

In case of an emergency evacuation, "Now is the time to get them used to using a crate," said Anderson.

"It wouldn't hurt to do that, put a treat in [the crate] and make them start to feel that it's their home... it's their safe place," said Deshong.

If tensions from the storm are high, your pet is calmer, "Put maybe your t-shirt with your scent on it in there so they feel comfortable," Deshong said.

Cody is a nervous Chiwawa up for adoption and Furry Friends in Jupiter. He uses a Thunder vest to reduce his stress during stormy weather. "What it is is it feels like he's being hugged... goes around his body," said Deshong.

During The Storm When it's time to go outside, "Some people put grass in their shower stall when they are about to hunker down," said Anderson.

"Sometimes you can even set up a little area in your home. Like, put the fake grass there in case something like that happens or if you have a screened-in patio," said Deshong.

On one issue, all three of these animal experts say the same thing.

"Whatever you do, please do not abandon and leave your dog or cat behind," said Deshong, "They're family members, please don't do that, please please."

"Bad pet owners leave their dogs," said Simmons.

Simmons rescued an abandoned animal during a hurricane. "Somebody had tied a dog to a fence, and the water was rising around the fence, near the canal they were concern the dog was going to drown. And I just thought 'what heartless person could leave this dog in this situation?' Get your dog to a safe place, have a plan," said Simmons.

Simmons has a simple request, "If you're going to do that, don't own an animal."

After The Storm After the storm have photos of you and your pet together. "I know that many times we will have an animal, like a stray, will come and will have an owner that will want to claim it, we need proof," said Deshong.

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