ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A nonprofit animal clinic in Northeast Florida offers four tips to prepare pets for a hurricane.
The Clay Humane in Orange Park advises pet owners to get ready early for storms.
“When a hurricane strikes, it is vital to take care of your entire family, including the family pets,” said Dr. Christian Broadhurst, senior staff veterinarian at Clay Humane. “It is also very important to ensure you make preparations for reptiles, birds and other small animals because they have different needs than dogs and cats.”
Broadhurst recommends the following four emergency-preparedness tips:
PREPARE: Have a storm plan for pets
1. Create an emergency kit
Pack a pet first-aid kit, a three or four-day supply of your pet's food, and medications, bottled water, feeding dishes, and litter. You can also pack disposable garbage bags, extra leashes and harnesses.
Remember to pack copies of your pet's medical records and pictures of your pet in case you are separated.
Bring a spray bottle filled with water for birds' wings.
Carry a sturdy bowl for reptiles to soak in and ample bedding for small animals, such as hamsters or guinea pigs.
2. Make sure you have proper crates and carriers
Identify which crates or carriers you will take in the event you evacuate and put them in a place where they are easy to access in case of emergency.
Make sure crates and carriers are labeled with your name and your pet's name.
Additionally, make sure your pet is comfortable on long evacuation drives.
If your bird’s carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels for easy cleaning.
3. Create a list of pet-friendly shelters
Many areas offer emergency shelters open to animals. Some shelters require registration prior to arriving.
Below are links to shelters in the Jacksonville area:
St. Johns County
4. Know evacuation routes
Research evacuation routes from your home, and pack up your pet's emergency kit and carriers as soon as you learn of a storm.
Make sure your pets are wearing proper and up-to-date identification.
If you cannot find a shelter that houses pets, research boarding facilities or pet-friendly hotels.
Clay Humane also has a Disaster Animal Response Team that lends assistance to animals in need after a storm. Click here to learn more about the Clay Humane DART team.