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Taking Care of Your Pets During Hurricanes and Floods


The best thing you can do for your pets is to plan ahead so you are ready to care for them during a disaster. Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say a storm is coming and have your pet emergency preparedness kit ready.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, Miami-Dade County and the National Weather Service share the following tips to help you and your pets stay safe:

  • Monitor your radio or television for weather updates and instructions from local public safety officials.
  • Stay indoors on the lowest level, preferably in a small interior room, closet, or hallway with few or no windows. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
  • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
  • Take your emergency kits and disaster supplies with you if you move from room to room or if you evacuate to a shelter.
  • If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
  • Use flashlights, not candles or kerosene lamps, as your light source.
  • If you lose power, turn off all major appliances.
  • Avoid using the phone and do not take a bath or shower during the storm.
  • Fight the temptation to go outside during the “eye of the storm.” There will be a brief period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly returns to hurricane-force winds coming from the opposite direction.
  • Keep children informed about what’s happening and watch them for signs of stress.
  • Keep animals in their carriers or crates.
  • Get in the tub and pull a mattress over you to protect yourself from debris if your home begins to come apart.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if you live in an area at risk of a storm surge (fast and dangerous flooding caused by hurricane winds). Give yourself enough time to pack and to inform your friends and family that you’re leaving your home. Listen for advisories from local public safety officials about closed roadways and bridges. 

Evacuating During a Hurricane with Pets

The No. 1 instruction for pet owners is to bring your pets with you when evacuating. Pets that help people with disabilities are allowed in General Population Shelters and Red Cross Shelters as long as they meet the requirements for service animals under federal law (see ADA Requirements for Service Animals). However, only select emergency shelters accept regular pets (non-service animals), so finding a pet-friendly shelter may be difficult.

Contact your local emergency management agency for information about which emergency shelters allow pets. Try to call the shelter before you go, as some pet-friendly shelters may require advance notice. Your local humane society or veterinary hospital may also have information about where you can take your pets during an evacuation.

Instead of a shelter, you can also go to a pet-friendly hotel or motel. Have a list of pet-friendly lodging handy in case you need to evacuate quickly.

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