BATON ROUGE, LA. - If you are forced to evacuate your home because of a hurricane or other emergency, don’t forget to make preparations for your pets. Pets, just like any other member of your family, have their own special needs. Here are some tips from the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART – www.lsart.org) and LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (www.vetmed.lsu.edu) to help you prepare for an evacuation.
WHAT TO DO:
• Don’t leave your pet at home! While most evacuations last only a few days, there are times that you may not be able to return quickly. The safest place for your pet is with you.
• If you are going to a hotel, call ahead and make sure, in advance, that animals are welcome. Many hotels relax their policies during times of crisis, but don’t assume that this will be the case. For on-line information about pet-friendly hotels, check out www.petswelcome.com or www.pets-allowed-hotels.com.
• If you are staying with friends or family, make sure that your pets are invited as well. If not, ask for recommendations of nearby veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels and make reservations in advance.
• Be sure that your pets are up-to-date on all vaccinations and bring proof of vaccinations with you. It is a good idea to ask your veterinarian now for a copy of your pet’s vaccination record. Keep this with your emergency kit.
• If your pet is on medication, bring at least a two week supply.
• Identification of your pet is crucial! The ideal form of identification is a microchip* or a tattoo. At minimum, your pet should have a tag with his name, your name, and your phone number on it. Pictures of your pet that capture identifying features are also a good idea.
*A microchip is a tiny permanent identification tag, placed under your pet’s skin by your veterinarian. By registering your name and address with the microchip company, your pet can be scanned and instantly identified at any animal facility.
WHAT TO BRING:
• Enough pet food for one week
• Food bowl
• Water bowl
• Bottled water
• Harness or collar
• Proof of vaccinations
• Rabies tag
• Portable kennel
• Litter box and litter for cats
• Trash bags for stool disposal
• Newspaper or towels for crate lining
• Heartworm preventative
• Flea and tick protection
• All medications
• For exotic pets, bring their entire habitat, including heat lamps and extension cords
Your pet’s kennel should be large enough for him to stand and turn around. Collapsible wire crates are best if your pets might be in a non-air conditioned environment for an extended period. A battery-operated fan that can attach to the cage can be a much appreciated addition. Molded plastic airline-approved crates make for easier transport and are best for animals that don’t travel well in the car.
People with special needs or people without transportation who have pets contact their parish emergency managers (e.g. the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) well ahead of time so that they can be registered for requiring special assistance in a disaster situation. You may need to contact the parish emergency manager via the parish sheriff’s office. For a list of parish emergency preparedness offices and contacts, go to the http://www.gohsep.la.gov/regions.aspx.
If your pet requires emergency medical care after-hours, you can bring your pet to the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Skip Bertman Drive; the hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for emergency cases. For pets and small exotics, call 225-578-9600, and for horses and farm animals call 225-578-9500. The LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital typically stays open during hurricanes, but please call first to be sure that the hospital is accessible and we are able to accept patients following a disaster. Information about the school and the hospital can be found at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.