Tracking the Tropics
Protecting your pets in a storm
Robbin Simmons is here to show us everything you need to know when it comes to protecting your pets.
WSVN -- You may remember these images after hurricane Katrina. Thousands of dogs, cats and other animals left behind in New Orleans struggling for survival.
Kathy Labrada of Miami-Dade Animal Services: "The most important thing for pet owners is to make sure that if they are evacuating, that their pets aren't left behind."
Now, is the time to make a plan for your pets. First, update their identification, either on an ID tag or microchip, and make sure you have a current picture of them.
Nicole Patterson of the Hollywood Animal Hospital: "If they get lost during a storm, they can end up at a shelter. It's the easiest way for the shelter to find you and contact you."
You also need to prepare a survival kit for your pet. Stock up on a two week supply of pet food, water and any medication.
Dr. Ivan Perez, Miami Veterinary Specialist: "Make sure that you have enough medication your pet needs because you don't know if after the storm your vet is going to be available or not."
Also, include current medical and vaccination records, and a leash. If you have a cat, don't forget litter. Another, important pet safety item is a crate.
Kathy Labrada: "It should be large enough for the pet to make normal postural adjustments, for them to standup and be able to turn around comfortably."
And for your friends with wings...
Nicole Patterson: "Make sure you have a sheet or blanket that you are able to cover the cage with. Also, make sure you have enough food and water for them and also a catch net in case they get out."
Robbin Simmons: "Also, decide now where you and your pets will ride out the storm. If you're staying at home, keep your pets with you at all times. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.
Dr. Ivan Perez: "The place that is going to be safe for you, is going to be safe for your pets."
Both Miami-Dade and Broward counties have pet friendly shelters but you have to pre-register.
Kathy Labrada: "The pets and people are housed in separate areas within the same facility."
In Broward, one pet shelter is at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac, the other at the Human Society.
In Miami-Dade, one shelter is located at the fair grounds, E. Darwin Fuchs pavilion, the other is at Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Kathy Labrada: "Pet owners bringing pets to a pet friendly evacuation center are required to remain onsite with their pets."
You will need to take your own pet supplies along with a crate, and remember, you will be separated from your pets.
Finally, if your pets tend to freak out during storms, you might want to consider medicating them, but that's a decision you should only make with your vet.
Kathy Labrada: It's OK to use some kind of sedation as long as it's recommended by your vet."
Just remember, your pets will be as nervous as you are during a storm, so make sure you do your best to keep them safe and secure.