LEE COUNTY, Fla. — June is National Pet Preparedness Month and the first month of hurricane season here in Southwest Florida.
As you're preparing for any potential storms this season, it's important to have a plan for your pets too.
PetSitters International, has created a list of ways you can make a family emergency plan that includes your pets when preparing for an emergency:
1. Understand the possibilities. Recognize the different types of natural and man-made disasters that can occur in your area and know how to effectively plan for them.
2. Plan your response. Different disasters require different courses of action. The sooner you create a disaster plan, the more time you have to prepare.
3. Update identification. Make sure your pet wears current identification at all times that includes his name, rabies tag and your cell phone number since you will not be at home.
4. Keep your pet’s records handy. Create a file for each pet that contains health history, vaccination dates and a recent photo. Keep the file in a safe and secure place.
5. Research animal-friendly places. If a disaster forces you to evacuate, the best thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them as well. Know where you can take your pet in the event of an emergency. Evacuation shelters and pet-friendly hotels outside a 60-mile radius of your home are good places to start. Websites like BringFido.com and GoPetFriendly.com offer searchable directories of pet-friendly lodging options.
6. Stock up on emergency supplies. Keep extra leashes, bowls, newspapers, trash bags, cat litter, litter pans and at least a five-day supply of pet food and water on hand. Be sure you have a pet first aid kit as well.
7. Get a carrier. Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each pet. Carriers should be large enough for the pet to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
8. Communicate your plan. Make sure that the other people you rely on for your pet’s care, like your pet sitter, are privy to your specific pet-care plan in case you are away from home when a disaster strikes.
FEMA says it's also important to build a kit for your pet that includes several days worth of food and water, any medicine your pet takes, a first aid kit, and a back-up leash, ID tag and coller. To view the full list of supplies to include in that kit, click here.