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Disaster Preparedness

Tips for pet-owners during hurricane season.

Plan with your pet in mind: if it’s not safe for you to stay, it’s not safe for your pet!
Leaving a pet behind in a disaster dramatically decreases its chance of survival. Decide on a course of action and make sure you can initiate it at a moment’s notice.
Suncoast Humane Society is NOT an option for boarding your pet during a disaster.
Sarasota and Charlotte County has designated a few pet friendly shelters (list below), however, they too will fill rapidly. Prepare in advance by identifying evacuation and shelter locations, make sure you know how to get there.

Make sure your pet is microchipped. A lost pet can be scanned and returned to you as long as your information is recorded and up to date. You may have your pet microchipped at Suncoast Humane Society for a low fee; call 941-474-7884 to schedule an appointment.

If you choose NOT to evacuate… Stay tuned to the news reports and have everything packed and ready in case you have to evacuate at a moments notice. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, wearing identification – make sure your pet is ready. Keep your pet’s food, water, and medical supplies in watertight containers. Stay calm – your pets can sense your emotions, so a calming demeanor can make your pet feel more at ease. Speak to your pet in a calm, soothing voice.

After the storm…
Following the storm animals may be very disoriented. Flooding, downed fences and power lines, will pose serious dangers to you and your pet. Keep your pet secure during this time. Do not allow them to roam loose. Do not allow them to consume food or water which may have become contaminated.

Your Pet Disaster Kit Should Include:

Collar with tag(s) and a sturdy Leash
ID tags, rabies tag, microchip ID and company contact information
Extra collars, harnesses and leashes

Any pet medications (ask your vet about keeping extra supplies or medication, or a copy of prescriptions for these medications in your kit; be sure to replace medications before they expire)

Medical records and current vaccinations (boarding facilities and shelters won’t admit animals without current vaccines)
Current (less than a year old) photograph of each pet with owner to prove ownership if you are separated from your pet
Secure carrier, or collapsible cage for large dogs, for each pet and bedding (carriers should be large enough for your pet to stand comfortably, turn around and house a litter box if appropriate; allow your pets to become familiar with their carriers ahead of time so they will feel comfortable in case they need to live in them for several days or even weeks after a storm)
Food (at least a 2-week supply), stored in watertight containers in a cool, dry place
Water (at least a 2-week supply)
Manual can opener
Cat litter, liners and a pan
Plastic trash bags to handle waste
Newspaper, paper towels and disinfectant for clean-up
Toys and any special comfort items that can fit in the crate with the animal
Muzzle, if necessary (use extra precaution handling your pet, as in a disaster they may not act normally)

Out of area contact name and phone number

Local Pet-Friendly Shelters:

Packing for a Pet-Friendly Shelter It’s important to know what you can and cannot bring to a pet-friendly shelter. Always check with the shelter about their requirements. Here are some recommended items to pack and bring to a pet-friendly shelter:
Leash and collar with name tag and owner’s contact info
2-weeks worth of supply of food and water
Your pet’s vaccination records & a current rabies vaccination tag
Medications & written instructions for feeding & administering medication
Kitty litter & an appropriate container

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