WTVY Hurricane Center -> Be Prepared -> Protecting Pets & Livestock

Protecting Your Pets

Preparing Before the Storm Hits

  • Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
  • Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
  • Nervous pets and those that don’t travel often may become stressed during a storm. Get tranquilizers from your veterinarian before the season starts.
  • If You Evacuate With Your Pet

  • For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets -- well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point.
  • Have a well-ventilated carrier for each pet. It should be large enough for the animal to be able to stand up and turn around, but not so big that the animal can be jostled.
  • Make sure you have a secure leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
  • If You Don’t Evacuate

  • If your pet requires other medication, be sure to have a good supply on hand when a hurricane enters the Gulf.
  • Prepare your pets’ disaster survival kit.
  • When stocking up on bottled water, make sure to include extra for pets. Animals need an ounce of water for every pound of body weight each day. That means a 30-pound dog needs almost a quart of water each day. Also, have plenty of your pet’s regular food on hand.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
  • If You Must Leave Your Pet

  • To board an animal, you will need to have proof that it is current on all vaccinations.
  • During periods of evacuation, some kennels require pet owners to bring water/food bowls and enough food to last at least two days.
  • Pets under medication should be sheltered at a veterinary hospital.
  • NOTE: Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be considered only as a last resort.
  • If you must leave them alone at home, leave your pet in a safe part of the house. Don’t lock pets in a bathroom or other small space where they cannot escape from rising water or falling trees. Leave lots of food and water for them.
  • Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.
  • After the Storm

  • Be careful in letting your pet outside after the storm has passed. Familiar scents and landmarks may be changed and your pet could easily be confused and get lost. There is also a danger from downed power lines, cuts from broken glass and snakes that come with high water. Be careful not to let your pet eat food or drink water that may have become contaminated.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and keep cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, they could escape and become lost.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
  • For additional information, contact The Humane Society of the United States.

    Livestock & Farm Animals

    Lessons From Past Hurricanes:

  • Collapsed Barns - Owners thought their animals were safe inside their barn.
  • Kidney Failure - Due to dehydration, wandering animals were deprived of water for days.
  • Electrocution - Horses sought the lowest areas, in many cases this was a drainage ditch. The power lines that were blown down during the storm were strung over drainage ditches.
  • Fencing Failure - Wandering animals, although unharmed during the storm, were hit and killed on the roadways.
  • Debris caused the most severe injuries...

  • Many horses required euthanasia due to entanglement in barbed wire and the result was severe injuries.
  • Debris injuries were found most often in the hindquarters, because horses turn their tail to the storm.
  • Don't keep your animals in the barn to prevent debris injury. If your barn collapses - and there is no way to insure that it won't, large animals have no chance to save themselves and are likely to panic if they can't follow their instincts.
  • Before hurricane season begins...

    • Make sure all animals have current immunizations and coggins test.
    • Locate safe areas within your county and make arrangements now to move your animals to that location.
    • Develop a specific Disaster Plan including evacuation and rescue plans for your property...Start with the farthest point of your property and move toward the house, listing all the things that need to be done.
    • Install a hand pump on your well. You will never make a better investment. Well water will not become contaminated unless your well is submerged by flood waters.
    • Prepare an Evacuation kit
      • Medical history/conditions
      • Have copies of proof of ownership
      • List animals and their species, breed, age, sex, color and characteristics
      • Current photographs of animal
      • Emergency contact list
      • 3-7 day supply food, hoof pick, leg wraps, halters, leads, twitch, water buckets, map of local are and alternate routes, rope or lariat, radio, trash cans for water.
    • Know Food and Water Requirements for Your Animals
    • Create an Animal Identification System
      • ID leg bands
      • Attach luggage tag to halter or braid into mane or tail
      • Body clip phone number
      • Livestock marking crayon/spray paint
      • Ear tags, tattoos, branding
      • Permanent marker to hooves
      • Mane clip
    • Have a list of Emergency Contacts
    • Purchase mobile home tie downs for your livestock trailer and other vehicles. They cost about $6.00 each.

    When a Hurricane Enters the Gulf

    • Even if you are not in an area subject to flooding, you may want to consider evacuating your horses if they are maintained in stables or pastures, of less than one acre, because this will not be enough area for them to avoid debris and collapsing buildings.
    • If you decide you must evacuate -- Do not try to evacuate with your livestock trailer, unless there is sufficient time!
    • If you cannot be on the road 72 hours before the storm is due to hit, you could be easily caught in traffic and high winds. Traffic on the highways will be moving very slowly, if at all. A livestock trailer is a very unstable vehicle in high winds, and high winds will arrive 8-10 hours or more before the storm hits. Remember, a fire engine loaded with water is a very stable emergency vehicle and it is considered out of service when sustained winds reach 40 mph.
    • The safest place for large animals to weather a storm is in a large pasture. The pasture should meet as many of the following guidelines as possible:
      • It should be free of exotic trees.
      • No overhead power lines.
      • It should be well away from areas that might generate wind driven debris.
      • It should have both low areas that animals can shelter in during the storm (preferably a pond) and higher areas that will not be flooded after the storm.
      • Should have woven wire fencing.
    • Scout your property and barn structures– where are your animals the safest? Check the condition of the barn including the roof., if the barn is not safe consider open fields but check for location of power lines and number of trees. Further, check your fence rows for weak areas or if trees can fall on your fence line allowing animals to escape. Take steps to secure your fence if needed. Remove any poisonous plants and trees, trees that have fallen or flooded areas may force animals to nibble on other forages they may not normally eat that can be toxic to them.
    • Pick up all debris/limbs from pastures and around home– objects such as tree limbs and jumps can become flying objects and injure animals.
    • Move vehicles, livestock trailers, etc., into the middle of the largest open area away from trees and tie them down.
    • Have a box filled with halters, leads, tapes, ropes, tarps and plastic. Keep this box stored inside your home.
    • Fill any large, outside vessels (row boats, canoes, feed troughs, dumpsters, etc.) with water. This keeps vessels from becoming debris and provides a source of water for animals, after the storm.
    • Place a First-aid kit in a central location
      • Wound ointment, saline solution
      • Eye ointment (wash)
      • Bandages, scissors, tape, cotton rolls, vet wrap
      • Peroxide, 1% iodine wound
      • Mineral oil, Pepto-Bismol
      • Tweezers, towel/washcloth/latex gloves, thermometer
      • All medications, Bute, linoment ointment
      • Fly spray
    • Emergency barn kit– Chainsaw, fuel, chain lubricant, saw, hammers, nails, screws, duct tape, screwdrivers, fencing materials, tarps, flashlights, batteries, ladder– Place kit in a secure area before the storm
    • Leave extra buckets of water– you may be gone longer than 24 hrs or farm is inaccessible
    • Leave supply of hay
    • Before leaving the farm, attach identification to animals
    • Have a destination and at least two routes thought out in advance (remember everyone else is leaving at same time and it can become more stressful if transporting livestock)
    • Turn off circuit breakers to the barn and shut off well
    • Arrange transportation of livestock in advance if not transporting your self
    • Have temporary fencing on hand and in plain sight (in case emergency workers have to secure animals etc.)
    • Label and secure any hazardous material containers that may be on your property.
    • A two week supply of animal feed and medications should be brought into your house and stored in waterproof containers.

    After the Storm

  • See to your animals, keep them calm as possible
  • Allow your animals to rest/sleep
  • Check for live wires
  • Survey property and barn to identify sharp or damaged objects, dangerous wildlife, contaminated water, damaged fences or other hazards.
  • Release livestock in safe/dry place, watch for fire ants and other dangerous insects they will look for dry places to nest.
  • If lost animals post notices locally and contact code enforcement and animal control.
  • Put out “livestock need assistance” flag, if you have an emergency only, at end of driveway.

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