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Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th, and if emergency evacuations are required, arrangements for your pet are best thought of now. Bartram Trail Veterinary Hospital would like to offer our facility as a location you could board your pet in the event of an evacuation. As we have limited cage/kennel space, once we are full we will not be able to take on more pets.
Regular boarding charges will apply as our staff will be coming out minimally twice a day to clean, feed, medicate, exercise (as able) and generally give some TLC to the pets being boarded!
In preparation for an emergency, check your pet's vaccines and have a copy of their most recent vaccines available. If any are due, we will be happy to help keep their status current. You will also want a copy of current vaccines in case you evacuate as some hotels and shelters will require them.
Please see our Online Forms page to print a Hurricane Boarding Release to have filled out and keep it with your evacuation kit.
The only way to reduce the devastation of a hurricane is to be prepared. The more you prepare, the better your chances of reducing suffering and risk for yourself, your family, your animals, and your community. While 38% of U.S. households have children, 43% have pets. Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S., with over 80% of its population within 10 miles of the coast. There is no geographical point in Florida that is far from saltwater. If you live in Florida, you must plan for hurricanes - and that planning should include your pets. Any disaster that threatens humans, threatens animals as well. When any Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico storm is named, all Floridians should take it seriously, watch it closely, and begin implementation of their disaster plan.
Most public shelters will not accept pets. If you wait until the last minute to evacuate, you may have no choice but to go to a public shelter and the ones that accept pets often fill first. If such a situation should force you to leave your pets behind, please prepare your children and other family members for the fact that their pets may not survive or may be lost before you are able or permitted to return to your home. There is no way to know how long it will be before you are permitted back after the storm. Frightened animals quickly slip out open doors, broken windows or other damaged areas of your home opened by the storm. Released pets are likely to die from exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food and water or on the road where they can also endanger others. Even normally friendly animals of different species should not be allowed together unattended since the stress of the storm may cause distinct behavior changes.
If you must evacuate...then conditions are not only unsafe for you, but for animals as well.
A written disaster plan will help you and your pets survive. Identify your evacuation zone and level to determine if and when you have to evacuate. Always be prepared for one category higher than the one being forecast because a hurricane often increases in strength just before making landfall. If the storm suddenly upgrades, you will not have time to change your plan as winds will have already reached speeds that will make travel unsafe. ALL MOBILE HOME RESIDENTS SHOULD EVACUATE - regardless of location. Your goal should be to evacuate to a safe location close to home. Long-distance evacuation is not recommended as highways will be crowded. Friends or relatives in a safe location are your best choice.
The comfort of knowing you are safe together, far outweighs any inconvenience. If you are unable to house both you and your pets, arrange shelter at a veterinarian or kennel close to your evacuation location so that you will have as much contact with them as possible. You and your pets will fare better if you are together. If you plan to go to a motel, determine in advance whether pets are welcome and what, if any, special rules are applicable. There are several motel chains that are pet-friendly.
LEAVE EARLY! An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely. Before hurricane season begins on June 1 every year, make sure your pets have current vaccines and take these records with you if you evacuate. Attach a current photo of your pet to their vaccine record. Train your pets to become familiar with their carriers ahead of time. Then the carrier will be a safe and comforting refuge if the animal is required to live in it for days after the storm. You will need...
You may not be at home if an evacuation order comes. Find a trusted friend who is willing to take your pets and meet you at a prearranged location. This person should be comfortable with your pets, know where the pets should be, know where your disaster kit is, and have a key to your home.
It is just as important to adequately plan for pets even if you don't have to evacuate. Carriers, collars with proper ID, and leashes should be maintained for your pets at all times. Your pets will be most comfortable and secure in their carriers in a safe area of your home until the storm has passed. (Bring outdoor pets indoors!) If they are not secure during the storm, and your home is damaged, your pets may escape and become disoriented, since normal landmarks and scent trails will be obliterated. If your pets become lost, proper ID will ensure their return to you. Place your pet food and medications in water tight containers in a cool, dry place. Store adequate water for your pets. Your water source may become contaminated. Add 2 drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water, mix, seal, and let stand for 30 minutes before drinking. If you bring plants in the house before a storm, do not allow pets access to them since many may be poisonous.
Make sure each pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag.
Walk your pets on a leash until they become reoriented. CAUTION: Downed power lines and other debris pose real dangers to you and your pets. Do not allow pets to consume food or water that may be contaminated. Be careful using candles and oil lamps around pets, never leave them unattended.
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