June is the start of hurricane season. And while we love the summer (it’s one of our busiest quarters, when we pet sit, walk, and run dogs the most!), it also means the possibility of hurricanes. We know our blog post’s title is a little strange, as hurricane season is typically not something to celebrate… but we’re excited to bring you important information to help make this year’s hurricane season a breeze!
Our pack includes large dogs, one of which weighs over 100 pounds. Evacuating with our big pups can be tricky business, so we are always prepared for what may come. We are going to share what we’ve learned about emergency preparedness with you in the coming weeks. As we mentioned in our first post on hurricane preparedness, we will be following the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) standards for dealing with emergencies: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Let’s talk mitigation.
The FEMA Emergency Management Institute equates mitigation with prevention. For your home, that means purchasing the proper hurricane and flood insurance, and any activities that prevent an emergency or reduce the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. This is also where you prevent lost pets in an emergency, by following these basic steps:
1. Always keep your pets’ identification and rabies tags either on them or in a handy spot. Make sure to have a file with your pet’s records handy, as well. Have your dogs and cats microchipped. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “the detection of a microchip by an animal shelter yielded a 74.1% rate of return to owners.” That’s huge!
2. If you’re a bird owner, make sure your feathered soul mate has either leg bands, a microchip, or identifying tattoos. Make sure your bird has its proper vaccinations, if applicable.
3. Fill out the included Pet Identification Form (below).
4. Send photos of pets to relatives or friends who live out-of-state in the event that you lose your pet and all your photos (or make sure to post photos on Facebook, Pinterest, or other program in the cloud).
5. Know your pet’s favorite hiding place, and make sure to tell your pet sitter in case you’re caught out of town or in a shelter that doesn’t accept dogs.
6. Have a list of pet-friendly shelters or hotels (we’ll be providing that next week).
The fifth step is very important. As your pet sitters and dog walkers, we feel like a part of your pack. Often times, we have keys to our clients’ homes and may be able to secure pets or homes if owners are away when disaster strikes. Never hesitate to call us for advice or help in finding a dog. We hope this helps you as much as it has helped us! Next week we’ll talk about preparedness and supply lists of hotels, shelters, and tips on a great pet first aid kit. Birds have a whole set of special needs that we will be addressing, as well, so stay tuned!
We’re very lucky that we get advanced hurricane warnings. How do you prepare for hurricanes? Please let us know in the comments below!
Flavia and Frankie
1. FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency
2. NAPPS: National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
We’re working on providing a better identification form. For now, download the form below and print. Let us know if it’s helpful!
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.