How to keep your pets safe in a hurricane

As Tropical Storm Idalia heads toward Florida, it is important to have a plan to keep your whole family safe
(Ian Mason/KNOP)
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 12:53 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As Tropical Storm Idalia approaches, we have some tips for how homes with furry, feathered, scaley or other four-legged friends should prepare.

Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare group, said it is good for individuals to create an emergency plan for their families that includes their pets. That includes home preparations, evacuation ideas and being informed on where to go and what to do. The advocacy organization said packing a “go-bag” for your pets is a good idea.

“Developing and practicing emergency preparedness for hurricanes provides the peace of mind that all of your family members, including your pets will be okay when disaster strikes,” said Sharon Hawa, Senior Manager of Emergency Services at Best Friends Animal Society. “Many times, evacuations are required with little to no notice. Having items on hand that you and your pet may need allows for an efficient exit.”

First, it’s important to bring your animals inside if severe weather is expected. Additionally, the organization says it’s a good idea for pet parents to get in touch with neighbors to see if they can check in on pets if their owner is not able to do so.

It’s important to have your pets microchipped with the most up-to-date information. And in the case of an emergency, covering your fur baby’s crate with a sheet can help them remain calm, Best Friends Animal Society advised.

When forming emergency plans, the group said it is important to be prepared for inaccessible or closed roads by determining multiple possible evacuation routes. And if you need to seek shelter, make sure to look for the nearest pet-friendly disaster shelter or emergency pet shelter, the advocacy group advises.

“Organizations such as the Red Cross will often provide support to residents displaced during a disaster, and local animal welfare groups may provide emergency shelter for displaced pets, or even temporary foster homes until owners can recover,” the group wrote in a statement.

A good resource to locating those places is or to call 211 or 511.

“Keep copies of your pets’ microchip information, current photos, vaccination records and contact information, and a list of phone numbers for animal shelters, animal hospitals and hotels in one easily accessible place where they can be grabbed at a moment’s notice for a quick exit,” Best Friends Animal Society advised.

Additionally, Best Friends Animal Society said in a pet go-bag, one should include: “3-5 days of their food and water, a collar and current ID tag, a crate labeled with their name, towels and blankets, and a pet first-aid kit.

For additional details on preparing pets for weather-related emergencies, along with information about adoption and fostering, visit

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