With Hurricane Isaac churning in the Gulf, there's no better time to review these evacuation tips from LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART).
Even if you decide to stay home and ride out this Cat 1, it's good to have an evacuation plan and kit ready for the rest of the season.
Also, sharing these suggestions with your incoming hurricane houseguests will help pets and their owners ride out the storm with less stress.
Devising a Pet Evacuation Plan Requires:
• Determination: Resolve to do whatever is necessary to evacuate with your pet. While leaving a car-anxious animal at home may be tempting, you may not be able to return quickly. The safest place for your pet is with you.
• Confirmation: If you are staying with friends or family, make sure your pets are invited long before you arrive on the doorstep. If not, ask for recommendations of nearby veterinary or boarding kennels and make reservations in advance.
• Destination: If you are going to a hotel, call ahead and make sure animals are welcome. Many hotels relax their policies during times of crisis, but don't assume that this will be the case. For online information about pet-friendly hotels, visit bringyourpet.com, petswelcome.com pets-allowed-hotels.com.
Information: Pet owners with special needs or without transportation can receive evacuation assistance in a disaster. All they need to do is contact their parish emergency managers (such as the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) to register. For a list of parish emergency preparedness offices and contacts, click here.
Also, remember: If your pet requires medical care, the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive is open 24/7 and even during disasters such as hurricanes. For more information, click here or call 578-9900.
Evacuation Kits Should Contain:
• A one-week supply of pet food
• Food bowl
• Water bowl
• Bottled water
• Cat litter box and litter
• Guinea pig, gerbil or other rodent cage and shavings
• Trash bags for stool disposal
• Newspaper or towels for crate lining
• Heartworm preventative
• Flea and tick protection
• A two-week supply of medications
• An entire exotic pet habitat including heat lamps and extension cords
• Rabies tag
• Proof of vaccinations: Keep a copy of the current year's annual exam records in your evacuation kit. That way you don't have to scramble to get to the vet, when a disturbance threatens the Gulf.
• Portable kennel: Find a model large enough for the pet to stand and turn around. Collapsible wire crates are best if your pet might be in a non-air conditioned environment for a long time. Molded-plastic airline-approved crates make for easier transport pets who don't travel well in the car.
• Identification: While current pictures that capture your pet's identifying features are helpful, the best form of identification is a tattoo or microchip, which is a tiny permanent computer chip that is injected under your pet's skin by a vet. By registering your name and address with the microchip company, your pet can be scanned and instantly identified at any shelter, vet or other animal facility.
At the very least, your pet should have a collar and tag with your name and your phone number. If communication lines are down in your region, your lost pet's rescuer may stand a better chance of getting through to a relative or friend outside the disaster zone, so it's best to add an out-of-area contact number as well.
Come rain or come shine, Project Purr can provide a great companion for weather—or even bird—watching. Click here to see a few the cats and kittens available for snuggling during the storm.
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