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Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods and hazardous or toxic material spills are just a few of the disasters we face living along the Texas Gulf Coast. Preparing your pet for a disaster today might save his or her life tomorrow.
ID: Ensure your pet is microchipped with your updated contact information, along with a collar and tag.
Vaccinations: All pets should be current on their shots. Keep a copy of the vaccination records along with other veterinary documents sealed in a plastic bag.
Sleeping quarters: Keep your pets’ beds away from windows or shelving to protect them from shattering glass or falling objects.
Crates: Every pet should have a crate or kennel. Be sure to familiarize your pets with their crates before a disaster strikes.
Check your yard: Make sure all fencing is secure and all holes and potential escape routes are blocked.
Plan ahead: Identify boarding facilities, veterinarians, pet-friendly lodging, and friends/relatives now who may temporarily house your pets.
Use this checklist as a guide for building your own Pet Preparedness Kit for your pet(s).
- Molded plastic carrier
- Copy of rabies and vaccination records in a sealed plastic bag
- Pet first aid book and kit
- Two-week supply of pet food
- Bottled water
- One-month supply of your pet’s regular medications
- Non-spill food and water bowls
- Extra collars and leashes
- Plastic bags (for scooping poop)
- Cat litter pan and litter
- Sheets and blankets
- Manual can opener
- Newspaper/Puppy Pads
- Disinfectants and paper towels
- Grooming supplies
IF YOU EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU!
The Houston SPCA is the lead non-profit agency for animal-related disaster rescue, relief and resources in the region. Our reach is wide, as we are called to step in when hurricanes, fires and storms ravage the region and state. We have lent our assistance, equipment and shelter in such emergencies as the Great Houston Floods in May of 2015; Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike; the Gulf Oil spill of 2010; and the Tri-County Wildfires of 2011, where our rescue teams went behind the fire lines to rescue pets and farm animals.
Injured Animal Rescue Ambulance. The Houston SPCA is the only agency providing injured animal rescue ambulance service 24-hours a day, every day of the year. Last year we rescued over 3,100 animals from immediate danger and distress, and our ambulances logged over 120,000 miles saving the innocent. Call 713-869-SPCA (7722) seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours and holidays, please call 713-880-HELP (4357).
Cruelty Investigations. The Houston SPCA has nine full-time, highly trained animal cruelty investigators. We respond to more than 7,000 cases of cruelty, abuse and neglect each year.
Download your copy of the Hurricane & Severe Weather Guide from the National Weather Service of Houston/Galveston.
Keep Pets Indoors
Provide proper shelter for your pets whether they live indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts. Room and floor heaters should be kept away from your pet, as they present a fire hazard and can cause serious injuries. Outdoor pets should have a well-insulated house that is wind-resistant, waterproof and elevated. Install a door flap to protect against drafts and gusts of wind as well as extra blankets and straw to keep your pet warm and dry.
Provide Plenty of Food and Water
Outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Consult your veterinarian to determine your pet’s nutritional needs. Make sure to provide fresh water for your pet every day and consider using plastic food and water bowls as your pet’s tongue can stick to metal. Also periodically check to ensure the water has not frozen.
Exercise Care with Cats, Canines and Cars
A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the winter months. Keep your cats indoors during cold weather as they may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
If you have a short-haired breed, consider getting them a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. Never shave your dog to the skin in the winter months, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
Avoid Antifreeze and Rodenticide Poisoning
When taking care of your car’s winter needs, be sure to use ‘pet safe’ antifreeze since most cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, which is lethal to your pets. Also keep rat and mouse poisons out of reach, as they can cause fatal bleeding or organ failure in your pet.
Be sure horses have access to a barn or a three-sided structure with roof so they can escape the wind and cold. While not all horses will need to be blanketed, blankets will help horses keep warm and dry, especially if there is rain or freezing temperatures. Frequently check water troughs and buckets to ensure the water is not frozen. Provide access to grain and hay if no grazing is available. Feed your horse unlimited forage during extreme cold to help them increase and regulate their body temperatures.
Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
The Houston SPCA encourages pet owners to keep phone numbers to their veterinarian and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location. If you notice an injured animal or animal in distress, call Houston SPCA’s 24-hr injured animal rescue ambulance at 713-880-HELP (4357).
Intervening on behalf of nearly 50,000 animals in need each year is an expensive endeavor, and your generous donation today will help further our mission. Donating to the Houston SPCA is an investment in your community because your entire donation is used locally to benefit the animals of our area.