Small dog sitting next to stack of toys and supplies

For those who have them, pets are an important member of your family and should not be forgotten with your hurricane preparedness plans. With the Atlantic hurricane season running from June 1 to Nov. 30, be ready for the unexpected and follow these tips with your furry friends in mind.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when putting together a disaster preparedness plan for your pets.

Make a Plan

If you must evacuate before a hurricane, that means your pet should evacuate, too. Never leave them behind. Ensure your evacuation plan includes knowing where you will be able to take your pets.

Develop a buddy system. See if you have friends or family that can shelter your pets before a storm or hurricane.

Evacuation centers may be activated in the event of an emergency. Although the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center no longer offers emergency pet sheltering, there are two locations that could be set up as a pet shelter during an emergency. Those location names would be released to the public once established.

Build an Emergency Kit for Your Pet

When assembling an emergency kit for your furry friend, think about the basics for survival.

  • Food and water. Have Several days supply of food in an airtight container. Don’t forget your pet’s water and food bowl!
  • Medicine. Keep an ample supply of the medications your pet takes in waterproof container.
  • First aid kit.
  • Backup ID tag and leash.
  • Traveling bag, crate or pet carrier.
  • Grooming items.
  • Sanitation needs. Litter box, pup pads, paper towels, dog waster bags.
  • Recent picture of you and your pet, in case you’re separated.
  • Any of your pet’s favorite items. These can help reduce stress for your pet.

Pet ID Tag & Microchipping

An ID tag helps to identify pet and owner in the event of separation during an emergency evacuation. By keeping your address and phone number updated, it ensures someone can contact you if your pet is found. Microchipping your pet is also valuable.

The Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center hosts quarterly walk-in rabies and microchip clinics. Microchips are $10 and rabies vaccines are $5 during the clinic. Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be transported in a carrier. There is no sign-up, walk-in service only.

Your pet’s medical records are documents you might want to safeguard along with yours as part of your emergency preparedness planning.

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