Hurricane Season 2018: Pet Preparedness Tips

As a pet-owner, additional precautions are needed when developing your family’s hurricane preparedness plan.  If you must evacuate, do not leave your animals behind. Evacuate them to a prearranged safe location if they cannot stay with you during the evacuation period. Early planning and preparation will make the Hurricane Season experience safer for all in your family.

Here are general tips when preparing your “Pet Plan” for this hurricane season. Contact your veterinarian or local humane society for additional information on preparing your pets for an emergency, and boarding options. And in the event of an emergency, The Pet Emergency Room is here to help you.  Our state-of-the-arts pet emergency facility is fully equipped with emergency generators to ensure uninterrupted services during South Florida’s unpredictable hurricane season.

Don’t forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.



  • Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet!  Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations.  Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Have a current photograph
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal – carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand  and turn around.
  • If you plan to stay at a shelter with your pet, there are a few steps to complete in advance. Please remember that there are only 2 pet friendly evacuation centers in Miami Dade.  Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Contact 311 to request an application or contact your veterinarian for additional boarding options.



  • Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm – reassure them and remain calm.  Plan to have an ample pet food and water supply, newspapers, kitty litter or trash bags at home.
  • Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have:  Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and newspapers, kitty litter or trash bags for clean-up.  It may also be helpful to bring a favorite toy or blanket to help keep the pet calm while in unfamiliar surroundings. Information on feeding schedule, medical conditions and veterinarian’s contact information should also be written on a card in case you have to board or foster your pet during the disaster.
  • Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis.  Call ahead and determine availability.



  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home – often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.  Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
  • If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered.  Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
  • After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive – monitor their behavior.


Planning and preparation will enable you to evacuate with your pets quickly and safely. But bear in mind that animals react differently under stress. Outside your home and in the car, keep dogs securely leashed. Transport cats in carriers. Don’t leave animals unattended anywhere they can run off. The most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, try to escape, or even bite or scratch. And, when you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routines. Consult your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.


The Humane Society of the United States and FEMA.



  • Proper identification including immunization records
  • Ample supply of food and water
  • A carrier or cage
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar and leash
  • A familiar blanket or toy




  • The HUMANE SOCIETY Disaster Center
  • FEMA – Animals and Emergencies
  • Locate PET-FRIENDLY Hotels & Motels
  • Florida Animal Disaster Planning Advisory Committee


  • ASPCA – National Animal Poison Control Center


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