I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I was not ready for Tropical Storm Cindy last week. Anytime a slow moving storm builds up in the gulf, I tend to get a little more stressed as these storms tend to linger in our area and dump a ton of rain. We were very lucky with this recent storm since we missed a lot of the heavy rains and strong winds commonly seen with these slow moving storms. Even with all the rain and strong winds, I’m sure I am like most of my fellow New Orleans neighbors when I say we don’t leave the city for any storm smaller than a category 3 hurricane. Once the decision is made, however, we pack up and go. We can all agree that no one wants to stick around during another big storm. We still hope for a quick, 3-day trip, but we’ve all learned to plan for the potential long term “vacation”. The days of leaving the pets home with enough food and water are gone. Our pets have become an integral part of the evacuation process.
The most important thing to do right now is to make a plan—what will do with your pets if a storm threatens our area? Where will you evacuate to? Can you bring your pets? Is your pet healthy enough for travel? Should you medically board your pet instead? All of these questions should be evaluated when you have time to think about things clearly and make decisions without a storm threatening in the gulf.
Make sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations—place a copy in your car and pack a copy with your pet. The last thing you want to worry about as you stress about getting your family and house prepared is vaccinating your pet. This is also a great time to double check microchip numbers or have a microchip implanted. Be sure to call the company to verify that all of the information if up-to-date and correct.
Get a two week supply of all medications and get a copy of medicals records indicating why your pet is taking these medications. Keep in mind that some evacuations may be longer than expected, and you may need to bring your pet to a new hospital. It is important to have the most recent records with you. This includes two months of heartworm and flea prevention as well.
Getting your pet car ready is the last thing to do. They should not be jumping free all over the car. Keeping them safe and restrained during your evacuation with keep everyone’s stress level a lot lower. Whether this involves a seatbelt-leash attachment or a carrier, practice with you pet once a week by driving short distances in your neighborhood to acclimate them and yourself to what to expect. The last thing I’d want to do is wrangle my maniac Bull into the backseat with a seatbelt leash while trying to evacuate. We practice by going to work once a week—he rides in his crate in the cargo area of my 4Runner.
Hopefully all of these precautions will just be extra precautions you take, and we won’t need to use them this year.
Have a safe and Happy 4th!