How to take care of your pets during Hurricane Season

(Nick Nelson)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 12:03 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - We are still in hurricane season here in the Suncoast and as the First Alert Weather Team keeps an eye on Hurricane Fiona, Sarasota County Government has issued some tips on taking care of your animals during inclement weather.

Multiple safe locations allow animals. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet!

If an evacuation is called for, take your emergency kit with you wherever you go. The safety and successful evacuation of your family and pets depends on a good plan and being prepared with the proper supplies.

Rural animals present different issues.

The decision to evacuate your livestock depends on many factors. If they are in a storm-surge area, flood plain, small pasture or urban area where they will be unable to avoid debris or will be in danger of collapsing buildings, you should consider evacuation. The key to a successful evacuation is to do it early.

Decide in advance how you are going to evacuate and, in case you cannot evacuate, how you and your animals are going to cope with potentially no water, electricity and access to assistance for three or four days or more. Write your plan down and keep it in a place with copies of important papers so that you will be ready in the event you must act quickly.

Prepare your livestock before a storm:

* Know where you can take your livestock in an emergency evacuation. Sarasota County does not house livestock and evacuation centers do not accept livestock as pets.

* Be prepared to evacuate early.

* Large vehicles can become difficult and unsafe to drive when winds reach 40 mph.

* Practice loading and unloading your livestock in a trailer. Stressed animals will be harder to handle (and may negatively react to your own stress) during an actual disaster.

* Pack a box with extra halters and leads for each animal, blankets, brushes, wire cutters, medications, bandages, fly spray and other first-aid supplies.

* Keep important documents such as medical records, Coggins tests, photographs and registration papers in a watertight envelope.

* A two-week supply of animal feed for each animal should be stored in waterproof containers.

* Be prepared to treat contaminated water. (Add two drops of chlorine bleach per quart and let stand for half hour.)

* If you are forced to evacuate and leave your animals behind, inform friends and neighbors of your evacuation plans and post detailed instructions in several places on your property. You will need to leave water for at least three days and access to quality hay. DO NOT LEAVE ANIMALS WITH FREE ACCESS TO GRAIN.

* The safest place for large animals to weather a storm is in a large pasture.

* Label your animals with a non-toxic grease pencil or spray paint with your phone number.

* Label your contact information onto waterproof luggage tags and attach them to their halters/collars or braid them into the mane or tail.

We have advice on the care of animals in the ABC7 Hurricane Guide, which you can find here.

The Sarasota County Government has also issued a guide: