Evacuating with your pet in the event of a hurricane

Published: Jun. 6, 2012 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM CDT
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LA SPCA workers prepare cats for evacuation in advance of Hurricane Gustav, 2008-WVUE FOX 8
LA SPCA workers prepare cats for evacuation in advance of Hurricane Gustav, 2008-WVUE FOX 8

New Orleans, La. - Pet owners' hurricane season planning must include making arrangements for how to evacuate with a pet if necessary.

The heartbreaking experiences after Hurricane Katrina taught people the importance of planning ahead.

The Louisiana SPCA offers this suggested list of what your pet will need:

1) A secure, unbreakable, covered carrier for each animal - Clearly mark your name, address, and phone number on the cage. The carrier should be large enough that your pet can completely turn around.

2) Leashes and harnesses that are strong and secure around your pet - Keep your pet on a leash at all times so that your pet can't wander off and hurt themselves or others. Fasten current rabies tags and address information on your pet's collar. Consider having your pet micro chipped for identification.

3) Food and water bowls - Food should be in plastic containers so that water can't get in. There should be enough food and water to last for at least two weeks. Include feeding instructions. For canned food, be sure to bring a manual can opener.

4) Health records - Before hurricane season begins, make sure your pet has current immunizations and records handy for evacuation.

5) Current photo of pet - Bring photos of you and your pet together to show proof of ownership if you become separated.

6) Household bleach and plastic bags - If you end up staying in a shelter, you will be responsible for cleaning up after your pet.

7) Pet toys - Your pet will need some type of entertainment, and toys may help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings.

8) Other pets - Hamsters and birds can be transported in their normal housing, but avoid glass enclosures. You can transport snakes in a well-secured pillowcase, if necessary. Bring any supplies and food they need, along with feeding instructions.

9) Bring any outdoor pets inside well before the hurricane gets close to help them stay calm.