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.