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Pawsible Scenarios: Hurricane Prep for Pets

Hurricane season started today, and the media is abuzz with suggestions about prep, go-bags, and the like. The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LaSPCA) took the opportunity to remind locals not to forget their furry friends while preparing for the worst.


LaSPCA Communications Director Alicia Haefele stresses that just like humans, pets needs some advance planning. “It’s the start of the season and it takes some preparation and specifically some advance preparation to make sure that your pets will be safe. Pet owners need to research pet-friendly evacuation spots in multiple locations and stock up. This all takes some time.”


According to the LaSCPA, a good owner should prepare in advance. Steps include getting pets immunized, collecting proof of those immunizations, making sure ID tags are current, and locating safe pet friendly shelters outside of hurricane strike zones. 


Immunization is important because all boarding facilities or veterinarian offices require proof of immunizations before accepting the animals. 


Keeping ID tags up to date, owners ensure that if Rover is lost, whoever finds them can contact the owner. Haefele notes that it is essential to talk to your vet about microchipping or enrolling your pet in a recovery database. She says, “If for whatever reason, you get separated from your pet, this is what will help you and your pet get reunited.”


The LaSPCA also stresses some points that should be obvious. Don’t leave your pet tied up outside during a storm. Never leave your pet behind.


For those in need of help evacuating, NOLA created the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP) after Katrina. The system can also help with your pets. Simply, call 311 and register. If evacuation is needed, participants will be assigned pickup points and buses will carry them and their pets to safety.


“Almost 10 years ago the Louisiana SPCA, along with partners from across the country, created the largest animal rescue effort our nation has ever seen,” says LaSPCA CEO Ana Zorrilla said in a statement. “Nearly 44 percent of people who stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina did so because they refused to leave their pets behind. Now, with the City Assisted Evacuation Plan, our community has a safe place for their pets to go.”


Before hurricane season:

  • Current vaccinations – Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current. Make copies of your records to take with you and put them in an air-tight container. All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices require proof of immunization before accepting animals.
  • Identification – Update your pet’s ID tags if needed. Talk to your veterinarian about permanent identification such as microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database. This simple step could be your pet’s round-trip ticket home in the event they get lost.
  • Compile a list of places to go – Consider staying with family or friends who reside outside of the affected area and are comfortable with pets, or look into pet-friendly hotels, shelters or boarding facilities outside of the hurricane strike zone. Please note that the Louisiana SPCA does not board animals.


What your pet needs for an evacuation:

  • Food and water – Keep food in an airtight, waterproof container. Water should be in addition to the water you need for yourself and family.
  • Medicine and medical records – Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container. All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices require proof of immunization before accepting animals.
  • Collar with ID tags, harness or leash – Your pet should wear a collar with an up-to-date rabies tag and ID tag at all times. Include a backup leash, collar and ID tag.
  • Crate or other pet carrier – Get a portable, secure and covered pet carrier in advance. The carrier should be large enough so your pet can completely turn around and lie down. Mark your name, address, phone number and alternate contact information on the carrier.
  • Sanitation – Include pet litter, small litter box, newspaper, towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach. Do not use scented or color safe bleaches or those with added cleaners. Use 16 drops of regular bleach per gallon of water.


For more information about how to prepare for your pets for hurricane season, visit or call 1-800-BE-READY. For more information about planning for an evacuation with your pet, visit For a printable pet evacuation checklist, click here.

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