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Emergency Pet Travel Tips

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Hurricane season. Tornado watch. Winter storm warning. Those words alone, cause a ripple of fear in individuals who live in the areas where hurricanes, tornadoes and winter storms are a fact of life, but they may be a new experience for those who don’t live in areas prone to those weather events. If you have planned a family vacation to an area that might experience a weather emergencies, how will you respond?

June is National Pet Preparedness Month and coincides with hurricane season as well as any other weather emergency that you may run into.

Emergency pet travel tips are for those pet parents who may be on vacation or those who may need to evacuate their homes with their pets. Evacuating your home is stressful for the humans alone; when you add in the thought of, “what do I need to take for my pet” you’re adding to the stress and to the steps you need to take prior to any emergency travel.

Pet identification is critical. Microchip your pet. Make certain your pets wear harnesses and/or collars with identification tags and your current contact information on them. Take photos of your pet, from different angles, in case you need to identify him as yours if you’re separated. Take photos of you with your pet as proof that the pet is yours. Keep your pets on leashes or in carriers in an emergency situation as their fear may make them frantic and they might run away.

If you’re at home during an emergency, we’ll bet you know:

  1. The evacuation routes to take
  2. Hotels that are pet-friendly
  3. Where you and your pets will go if you have to leave your home
  4. To keep your car’s gas tank full and to keep some cash on hand in case ATMs stop working because there is no electricity
  5. That you need to keep a three-day supply of human and pet food and water on hand for everyone in the family

If you’re on vacation and away from home, how can you be prepared for an emergency if you don’t know the area? How can you pack a three-day supply of food and water for everyone in the family -- especially if your car is packed with vacation-centric items? It’s not easy, but it can be done!

Evacuating means you will have to have your pets in the car with you -- make certain they are safely secured while you travel with them.

Research before you leave home. If you’re planning a trip to the Carolinas or Florida, for example, and you know it’s hurricane season get online and do a deep dive into your vacation destination to gain an understanding of:

  1. Is the area to which you’re traveling prone to hurricanes?
  2. When is the last time there was a hurricane?
  3. Is the hotel/AirBnB/resort in a hurricane zone?
  4. Call the place you’re staying and ask questions about hurricanes, what to do in an emergency evacuation, etc.
  5. Map out an escape route and plan on leaving as soon as a warning is issued. It may be tempting to “ride out the storm” but what if it’s worse than predicted? Could you and your family and pets afford to be trapped and isolated until the threat passed and roads were reopened?

These tips are the same if you’re traveling to a tornado or winter storm prone area. Do you have an emergency plan in place to either evacuate or shelter in place if you live in an area of the country that is subject to weather events? Don’t leave pet emergency travel preparations up in the air, preparation is crucial to you and your pets safely making it through a weather emergency.

We’d love to know your best tips and your emergency pet travel tips.

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