We’ve all been watching the weather carefully with Hurricane Isaac in the offing. We may catch a little break with the storm shifting to the west – but as we saw with Hurricane Charley – we can never be absolutely certain about the track until it is over! Before he gets to close, here are a couple of reminders about being prepared for hurricane force winds and the ensuing possible damage.
For your important pet records – you can use the cloud for extra insurance. If you have a gmail account or yahoo account. . .you are already virtually using “the cloud”. This means that all of the data that you’ve uploaded, emailed or attached on an email is living “up there” in the ether.
So while its important to have your records in hard copy, its just an important to have them stored permanently in a place where you can retrieve them – no matter where you are.
- If you have a scanner, scan your dog’s records (and for that matter any important records that you have personally regarding your home or health).
- Then email these documents to yourself with a gmail, yahoo or another address that you can access from any computer.
- Copy someone from out of state on the email, just for extra protection.
- Be sure to include a photograph of your dog. A couple of pictures and especially if they highlight a distinguishing mark.
- If you don’t have a scanner, take your files to an office supply store like Staples or OfficeMax, they’ll do the scanning and hand everything back to you on a disc, which you can upload to your gmail account or some other resource.
The Importance of Being Prepared.
- Make sure your dog is wearing her identification tags: Chipped or not, the very fastest way for your dog to find her way home is for someone to get your phone number right off of her tag. You need to have a special scanner to reach a chip and most likely be a shelter or a veterinarian. In the case of an emergency – your dog might have to wait. Make sure the information on the tag is correct!
- Your dog’s medical records. Pet shelters, if you end up needing one, will require proof of vaccination. Tip: Pet shelters fill up very quickly during disaster situations. Call ahead, for sure.
- A leash and a collar with identification tags (and Rabies tags, if possible). You might also consider getting a muzzle. Your dog may be the most gentle animal on this earth, but, in the face of a hurricane, his or her nature may change. Pets experiencing extreme fear have been known to act out of character.
- Your dog’s crate, if you own one (for easier travel) If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one. Lots of local stores have them but you can also check garage sales, Goodwill and other resale stores. If you happen to buy a used crate, make sure you thoroughly clean it with disinfectant and hot(we mean really hot) soapy water.
- A current photograph of your dog. If possible, scan it in and save a copy onto two separate flash drives—save one for yourself and send one to a trusted friend or relative.
- Food and water. You probably already have some “emergency kit” food and water set aside for yourself—Do the same for your dog!
- A WRITTEN COPY OF YOUR EVACUATION PLAN. Yes, you’ve got a plan; however, if disaster strikes, you may be too panicked to remember it! Write it all down and keep it with the rest of your evacuation items. And don’t forget to include your pooch in on the plan: Take note of the names of pet shelters, local vets, and any other potential doggie sanctuaries in your area.
Tip: Keep all paperwork in waterproof containers
After the Storm
Depending on how hard your area is hit by the storm, things in and around your house may change severely. Dogs are creatures of habit and this can be just as frightening for them as the hurricane itself! Stay calm and walk your doggie on his leash and reintroduce him to his home and neighborhood. Over the next few days, monitor his behavior closely until you’re sure he’s “cool” with everything. And, good luck!
For a list of shelters including those that are pet-friendly in the case of a hurricane, click here.