Keeping animals safe during hurricane season

Charlotte Guedry
Dr.?Amy Grayson is a local veterinarian with Dutchtown Animal Hospital. Originally from an animal hospital in the New Orleans area, Grayson has adapted to life in the parish since Hurricane Katrina. She is seen here with an assistant and one of her many animal friends.

Hurricane season is upon us, and as we all stock up on water and non-perishables, let’s not forget our four-legged friends.

This time of year is crucial for ensuring that our animals are as protected as ourselves when the weather strikes.

Local veterinarian, Dr.?Amy Grayson with Dutchtown Animal Hospital explains the importance of looking after the well-being of our pets.

“It is so important that animals are looked after during hurricane season,” she said. “If  the weather turns, and you need to evacuate, your animals need to go with you, and proper procedures need to be followed.”

Grayson states that the most important way to be ready for an evacuation with your pet is to prepare now.

“Make sure your pet is up to date on immunizations, and obtain a copy of your animal’s medical records,” she said. “It’s important to have your animal microchipped, and include all of your information. If that’s not possible, the animal must have a collar with your details on it,” she said.

Grayson also stresses the importance of talking to your veterinarian about any medical concerns you may have, as “veterinarians can prescribe medications for any concerns you may have.”

“Finally, for preparedness, make sure you know where your animal will be staying before you leave. That way, a plan is in place for your pet’s safety early on.”

Making sure to take what your pet needs is as important as what we take for ourselves, states Grayson.

“Enough food for one week, along with bowls is important,” she said. “Also, a two week supply of any medications your pet is on, portable kennel with newspaper for lining, litter box and litter for cats, leash and collar with identification tag, small first aid kit-cotton roll bandage and tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, peroxide, and any favorite toy, blanket or bed that will make your pet more comfortable.”

What about trips for travel as you and your animal head out on the evacuation route?

These are also important, says Grayson, as “the comfort of the animal is incredibly important.”

“Don’t feed your pet the morning  of travel,” she said. “This will cut down on motion sickness and accidents. Keep a small bowl of ice cubes in pet’s kennel so that they can keep cool and hydrated on the trip. Also, you want to always travel with your pet in a crate or kennel. Evacuations can be long and this will keep your pet calmer and insure their safety.”

Grayson also feels the need to ensure that animals are secure outside the car, as well. “When you make pit stops, always walk your dog on a tight leash. There may be a lot of commotion along the evacuation route and the last thing you want is for your pet to become startled and get separated from you ,” she said. “Keep in mind that some pets, especially cats, can become very nervous when out of their environment, so when you reach your destination, create a ‘safe place’ for your pet, like a small room or bathroom. It may even be best to keep your pet in its crate until it becomes accustomed to its new surroundings.”

Grayson also stresses the importance of preparing your animal for an evacuation, even if you cannot take it with you.

“If you have no means of transportation during an evacuation event, the Louisiana State Animal Response Team will assist pet owners in evacuating with their pets.”

Whatever the reason for evacuation, by following these simple tips, both you and your animal will get through the process as safely as possible.