Tips for Pet Parents and Hurricane Irene

6 years ago

Hurricane Irene and Pet Safety:

This pet post includes tips from a variety of sources. Please feel free to share more links and tips in the comments section.

pet photo by Chris Olson

If you are not safe to stay in your home during a hurricane, then your pet is not safe either. The best advice to pet owners in the path of a hurricane may be to evacuate early. Remember to share your evacuation plans with relatives and friends.

My dogs seem to sense when a storm comes and they will sometimes hide. Make sure you keep track of your pet as the storm approaches. Some animals even try to go outside to flee the situation.

Stay indoors if you are in the direct path of the storm. Keep your pets indoors. Even if you think the weather appears safe for walking outdoors, a wind gust may cause branches to fall, debris to fly around, etc.

If you experience a power outage use flashlights. Using candles is NOT the best choice because of the risk of fire and city fire departments may not be able to respond quickly due to the weather.

Check your pet's collar for an ID tag
It seems obvious, but if you change collars you might not remember to have the correct pet ID tags on the collars. (Also, remember to place proper identification and vaccination identification in Pet "Go Bag"). 

Make a Pet "Go Bag" 
Place the following in a pet "go bag" and have it ready

  • proper backup identification of your pet: proof of ownership, copy of vaccine records, dog license, etc.
  • special medical instructions written out now, in case you have to leave your pet at an animal shelter temporarily
  • photo of your pet and OWNER 
  • list of identifying marks or features of your pet
  • 2 leashes 
  • extra pet collar or pet harness
  • pet food items (3 to 7-day supply)
  • jugs of water or water bottles (3 to 7-day supply)
  • pet bowls (lightweight and portable types are best)
  • pet medicine and pet first aid kit (first aid kit tips here)
  • 2 pet blankets and a few favorite toys
  • cat litter and cat litter box
  • pet crate or a pet travelling case for your pet
  • lightweight blanket or sheet to cover the pet travel case and calm down your pet if needed
  • Top 10 Pet Emergency Kit Items | petMD
  • If your pet is microchipped, have a copy of the microchip information 

The ASPCA offers the following tips:

  • Bring pets indoors at the first sign of the storm. Animals can become disoriented and wander away from home during a disaster.
  • Arrange a safe haven for yourself and your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave pets behind.
  • Store an emergency kit—with items such as pet food, bottled water, medical records, a blanket, a flashlight and leashes—as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification.
  • Affix a rescue alert sticker to your front door or window to let rescuers know that there are pets inside your home.
  • Choose a designated caregiver to take care of your pet in the event you are unable to do so.
  • For more information on how to keep yourself and your pet safe in the event of an emergency, please read our complete list of Disaster Readiness tips. Stay tuned to for the latest on this developing story.


More pet safety tips from around the region:

• Twitter updates via @NYCMayorsOffice@NYTMetro@aspca.
Update via Jennifer Preston at New York Times: Pets May Ride in Taxis and Buses during
• Update via Jim Roberts at New York Times: Find changes to some evacuation center locations and other updated Irene info at our severe weather site:
There has been changes to some of the Shelter information. All NYC Shelters are now accepting pets with their owners.


• New York City Pet Safety information via Office of Emergency Management:

For families who must leave their homes, evacuation centers and emergency shelters in New York City will be pet friendly, and people are encouraged to evacuate with their pets. Please call 311 to find an evacuation center. Evacuation Centers in NYC will be open Friday at 4 PM for residents who have no alternative shelter. 

• Pet Preparedness in NYC via WSJ

If pet owners are required to leave their homes in an emergency, the city advises owners to arrange for family or friends outside the danger area to shelter their pet. Only “legal pets with proper identification” will be admitted into city shelters with their owners, the city says on its website.

• NYC news about pets and hurricane via CBS New York



• via @PhiladelphiaGov: @HumaneSociety Yes - pets allowed in shelters. Bringing supplies and cages is recommended



• NJ and PA shelters for pets and people ahead of Irene 


• via @pwoodreporter: Shelter at #Annapolis HS opening at 1pm. Pet-friendly. #Irene #MDHurricane


All Irene regions

• The Associated Press: Getting ready for the storm? Don't forget your pet

• US FDA tips: Taking Care of Pets During a Disaster or Emergency

• Pet news from North Carolina: The latest news from Hurricane Irene |

Pet friendly shelters in NC 

  • New Hanover County: Johnson Elementary School at 1100 McRae Street in Wilmington. A pet friendly shelter will be open at Noble Middle School 6520 Market Street.

    Pender County officials plan to open three shelters sometime Friday afternoon: Malpass Corner Elementary School, 4992 Malpass Corner Road, Burgaw; Burgaw Middle School, 500 S. Wright Street, Burgaw; and Topsail Middle School, 17385 U.S. 17, Hampstead. The Burgaw Middle School shelter will accept cats and dogs.

    Brunswick County entered into a state of emergency this morning. It will open three shelters at 2 p.m. today: North Brunswick High School, 114 Scorpion Drive, Leland; South Brunswick High School, 280 Cougar Road, Southport (Boiling Spring Lakes); and West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road, Shallotte. 

    West Brunswick is a pet-friendly shelter.



Twitter updates for pets and hurricane:

@WSJNY An update from Weather Journal (@wxrisk): Irene's center projected to pass 8.4 miles from NYC, at 1:30 pm EDT

@NYTMetro Bloomberg: Stay inside. #irene


@NYT_JenPreston. RT @thelede: Pets May Ride in Taxis and Buses during #irene via @nytjim


City living -- NYC subway allowing pets for people evacuating:

MT @grynbaum: Evacuating pets? MTA says will take 'em. "Dogs must be leashed and, if possible, muzzled. Cats in carriers." #irene

Check out Disaster Preparedness for Pets : The Humane Society of the United States at (from @HumaneSociety

@PhiladelphiaGov: @HumaneSociety Yes - pets allowed in shelters. Bringing supplies and cages is recommended


• The Humane Society of the United States: Disaster Preparedness for Pets  

• USDA Pet Safety tips


Photo above by me, Chris Olson

This is an article written by one of the incredible members of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

More from living

by Kimberly Peta Dewhirst
| 5 days ago
by Christina Marfice
| 8 days ago
by Christina Marfice
| 10 days ago
by Justina Huddleston
| 11 days ago
by Kimberly Peta Dewhirst
| 12 days ago