New York State Offers Pet Safety Recommendations as Hurricane Irene Approaches

ALBANY, NY (08/26/2011)(readMedia)-- New York State Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew X. Feeney and Department of Agriculture and Markets State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith today recommended that pet owners in New York State take steps now to care for their pets as Hurricane Irene approaches.

"Now is the time to take steps to protect your loved ones and your pets," said Feeney. "Being prepared in advance will reduce the stress and pressure of being rushed. Whatever the situation, your pets are not safe left alone. Should a disaster occur or appear imminent, it is crucial that you keep your pets with you."

"Plan accordingly," said Dr. Smith. "If you are ordered to evacuate, and you think you may only be required to leave for a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for at least a week. Start preparing your family and pets for evacuation as soon as you have been warned of possible disaster. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials."

Feeney and Smith offered the following tips for pet owners:

• Pets may become stressed during an in-house confinement, so consider crating them for safety and comfort. Crating your pets may also make it easier in your preparation to leave if evacuation becomes necessary. Do not evacuate and leave your pets behind in a crate because they will be rendered helpless until you return or until someone else reaches them.

• Talk to your neighbors, friends, relatives and sitters about designating someone to care for your pets when emergencies occur, if you are unable to get home to do so yourself

• Ask relatives and/or friends if they would be willing to take you and your pets in should you need to evacuate your home

• If you have multiple pets, you may need to consider making arrangements with several friends

• Make sure pet caretakers are comfortable handling your pets

• Share your evacuation plan, pet evacuation kit location (see below), an extra set of keys, and emergency contact list with your designated pet caretakers

• Look into pet-friendly hotels, veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels and animal shelters outside your area and call these facilities to find out if they can accommodate your pets

• Know the phone numbers of your local animal control agency, humane society, local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and local emergency veterinary hospital

• Consider keeping a pet evacuation kit close at hand. Be sure it is clearly labeled, easy to carry and water-resistant.

Items to consider keeping in your home for your pet evacuation kit are:

Control & Confinement

• On the carrier and harness, write your pet's name, your name and contact information with a permanent marker; include a picture of your pet

• Extra harness for safety

• Crate, cage or carrier for each pet

• Post your pet's behavioral or medical issues on the carrier and harness


• Seven (7) days' worth of pet food in a plastic, airtight container

• Rotate food every two months

• Store canned pet food in pull-top cans

• Food that requires refrigeration is not recommended, as it may not be possible to keep it at a safe temperature

• Consider purchasing collapsible water and food dishes at your local pet supply store for easier travel


• Always have drinking water on hand in case of possible loss of water supply

• Store seven (7) days' worth of drinking water for each pet (specific amount based on individual pets' needs) in a cool, dark place

• Replace every two months

• Before impending disruption in water service, fill tubs and sinks with potable water


• Roll of paper towels

• Liquid dish soap

• Hand sanitizer

• Household bleach

• A week's worth of litter

• Cage liner and/or bedding for your pet

• Garbage bags (for clean-up)

First Aid Kit

• Ask your veterinarian for recommendations about what to include in your pet's first aid kit

• Prepackaged first aid kits and manuals are available at pet supply stores and through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Medical Records & Photographs

• Keep a copy of your pet's medical records, feeding and medication requirements, and a recent photo of your family with your pet in a zip-lock bag

Additional Supplies

• Dogs: long leash, blanket, yard stake, toys, chew toys, newspaper

• Cats: carrier, harness, leash, blanket, toys, small litter pan

• Other Animals

• Birds: carrier, Catch net, heavy towel, cuttlebone, blanket or sheet to cover cage, newspaper

• Small animals: carrier, salt lick, water bottle, small hide-box or cardboard tube (for cage)

• Reptiles: pillowcase or "EvackSack," carrier, warming device (hot water bottle, heating pad), soaking dish


• Cats, dogs and other large pets should wear identification. Collar, tags, microchips and tattoos are forms of identification that will increase the chances of your pet's safe return home should they become separated from you.