Don't forget about your animals when preparing for an emergency event. Your preparedness activities should include ensuring that your dog or cat has proper identification, assembling a pet survival kit and creating a shelter plan. This web page also offers tips on preparing for other pets, including fish, birds, hamsters and other small mammals, and reptiles.
Ensure that your dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination and Broward County pet registration tag. The heart-shaped tag on a secure collar is your pet's ticket home. In the event your animal becomes lost, the tag confirms your ownership so you can be contacted and reunited with your pet. Both Florida Statute 828.30 and Broward County ordinances 4-10 and 4-11 require your dog or cat be vaccinated against rabies and registered. A second form of identification is also recommended, such as a microchip, tattoo or separate identification tag with the name of a friend or relative engraved on it.
Obtain "Pets Inside" stickers and place them on your doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets in your home to alert firefighters and rescue workers. If time permits, remember to write the words "Evacuated with Pets" across the sticker, should you flee with your pets.
Pet Survival Kit
While the sun is still shining, consider packing a pet survival kit which could be easily put to use if disaster hits. Recommended items for a pet survival kit include:
Store all items in waterproof containers that are easy to transport and won't easily tear or break. Do not use plastic or paper bags or pillow cases.
Pet Shelter Plan
If you plan to evacuate, leave as early as possible. The best options include staying with family or friends who do not have to evacuate, or evacuating to a pet-friendly hotel or motel.
Pet-friendly hotels and motels fill quickly before a storm. It is important to call the hotel or motel for reservations before you evacuate, and make sure they allow pets. Many change their pet policies during an emergency.
Kennels have limited space and most require proof of current vaccinations. Select a kennel not in the emergency evacuation zone. Ask your veterinarian if they offer boarding services because as a client, your pet will be given preference over a non-client.
Staying with family, friends or at a pet friendly hotel outside an evacuation zone should be your first and best option. Pet-friendly shelter(s) is available on a first-come basis. Pets accepted include: dogs, cats, domestic birds, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice and hamsters. All pets must be in a carrier/crate and all dogs must have a collar with leash. Evacuees must show proof of rabies certificate for dogs and cats. Residents should also be prepared to show their pet’s Broward County Registration Tag. Evacuees should bring necessary care supplies such as, supply of food and water, food/water bowls, cat litter and litter box, medicine, cleaning supplies, etc. There are three pet-friendly shelters in Broward:
Service animals are permitted in General Population Shelters so long as the pet meets the requirements under Federal law. Visit ADA Requirements for Service Animals for additional information.
Keep in mind that you may be unable to return to your home after the storm or emergency and you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities are closed.
Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your pet survival kit along with a photo of your pet.
Sheltering At Home
Caring for Other Pets
Tropical or Fresh Water Fish
Electrical power can go off in an emergency and stop the aeration pump in fish tanks. If the tank has an adapter, aeration pumps can be operated by battery, so be sure to include in your emergency preparedness kit plenty of batteries. If you have a generator, you can run the tank's cycle pump. If you have a big tank, a marine bait pump can be used with a 12-volt car battery to aerate the water.
If you are evacuating, transport birds in secure travel cages or carriers without water. Keep the cage in a quiet area. Do not let the bird out of the cage. Take a photo for identification and either leg band or microchip the bird. Bring medicine, medical records, water, food, toys, newspaper or cage liner, and cleaning supplies. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
Transport hamsters, gerbils, ferrets and other small mammals in carriers suitable for maintaining the animals while at the boarding location. Take food, water, bowls, bottles, bedding and other care items.
A pillowcase makes an excellent transport carrier for reptiles. Immediately transfer the reptile to a more secure cage when you reach the boarding location. Bring adequate food, a water bowl and heating pad.
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Updated May 2018