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Guide To Preparing Your Pets For A Storm

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Your pets are members of your family. Don't leave them out of your hurricane plans. Just as you would have a plan for protecting the life and safety of your spouse and your children, you need to have a plan in place to make sure your pets are safe should you have to leave your home.

You also need to understand what needs to be done if you stay at home, in case your house is damaged and your frightened pets get outside.

  • Make sure your dogs and cats have collars and tags with updated information so that you can be contacted if they get loose. All vaccinations should be up to date before a hurricane threatens.
  • You can make arrangements NOW with your veterinarian or a kennel to board your pets during a storm. But remember that space is very limited. Make sure you know the policy regarding how long the kennel or vet will keep your pet, what vaccinations your pet will need, and if they will provide any of your pet's medications. Allow yourself enough time in your hurricane plan to take your pets to be boarded.
  • Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse.
  • If you are staying at your home, bring all outside pets inside for the storm. Don't let them out again until you hear the "all clear." Check your yard for hazards, such as broken glass, debris with sharp edges, or downed wires, before you let your pets out.
  • Pet owners in qualified evacuation zones, unsafe structures or trailers should evacuate to a pet-friendly evacuation center. They accept cats, dogs, birds, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats and rabbits.
  • A pet-friendly hotel in a safe zone is another option.
  • If you live in an evacuation zone or a mobile home in Broward, you may stay at the Broward County pet-friendly shelter at Millennium Middle School, located at 5803 NW 94 Avenue in Tamarac.
  • Pet Friendly evacuation centers in Miami-Dade will be announced as needed.
  • Pet Friendly Shelters In Monroe County: Pets must be pre-registered.

Make sure that you have sufficient food and medications for each pet as part of your hurricane kit. Don't forget the needs of your pets when you are planning for your family's water supply. Each animal needs a half-gallon of water per day.

Don't forget that a hurricane can be just as traumatic for animals as it is for people. You will need to keep your pets calm during the storm. Afterwards, they may need time to adjust to changes in their daily routines.

Note about pets: You must pre-register your pets in order to take them to a pet-friendly shelter in Broward and Monroe Counties.

  • In Miami-Dade, Animal Services operates pet-friendly shelters during emergencies. Pre-registration is not required to use the evacuation center. Evacuation centers will be announced as needed.  All animals must have current vaccination, and medical records.
  • In Broward, call the Humane Society of Broward County at 954-989-3977. Pets must be current on their vaccinations and must be registered with the County.
  • In Monroe, pre-registration is also required.

Special Note: If you take refuge in a pet-friendly shelter, you must stay with your pet and care for him while there. The shelters DO NOT operate as a boarding facility.

For additional information on helping your pets through a hurricane, you can call

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