Hurricane Planning Tips From A Veterinarian

By Mary Giron, DVM, SPCA Tampa Bay Veterinary Center

There are a lot of stressful things going on in the world today. Many of those stressors
are out of your control, but being pro-active in your hurricane planning can save you the
stress of creating one during a major storm threat.

Here are some tips, beyond the normal hurricane kit supplies like pet food and water, to
help you prepare your pets:

 Know your flood and evacuation zones. Visit the Pinellas County website
at to check the flood and evacuation zones near you. Never leave
pets behind if you have to evacuate.

 Plan where you’d go if evacuation were necessary. A list of pet-friendly emergency
shelters, and protocols for going to one, can be found at

 Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Current records are a requirement
in order to be considered for a pet-friendly shelter. Be sure your pets’ vaccinations are
current and get a copy of their records for your hurricane kit. Also ensure your Pinellas
County Rabies License is on your pet’s collar.

 Make sure your pet is microchipped and the owner records are up-to-date. A
microchip is the fastest and most reliable way to reunite you with your pet if you become
separated. It’s a cheap and easy procedure that is priceless in a time of crisis. As an
owner, remember that you need to keep your contact information up-to-date by calling
the microchip company.

Lastly, start planning now. We’ve assembled some resources such as printable packing lists, pet-friendly hotel databases and evacuation planning tools at

Hurricane season in the Tampa Bay area started on June 1
and lasts until November 30. Don’t wait for another storm to hit to figure out your plan for
hurricane season.