This article was featured in WYDaily on 9/2/22.
Virginia is now in the peak of the annual hurricane season ending Nov. 30. Planning ahead is critical and the Heritage Humane Society is helping provide tips to include the family pets.

Peak hurricane season is here, Virginia

While it’s been calm so far, historically, the most devastating storms have been in late summer through early fall of the Atlantic hurricane season. Living in coastal Virginia, it is not “if,” but “when” a hurricane hits. Part of having a hurricane preparedness plan includes pets.

Pet plan and emergency kit

It is critical to make sure pets have collars with identification tags and are microchipped. Should a pet get separated from its family, ID tags and microchips make it faster to be reunited. Know your pet’s microchip number and company and make sure your information is up to date with the issuing company.
Prepare an emergency kit for your pet with the following:
  • Food. At least a seven-day supply for each pet in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. At least- seven days of water specifically for your pet.
  • Medicines and medical records. Contact your veterinarian to get pet prescription refills ahead of time.
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is ideal.
  • Collar and leash. Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  • Litter. Clean your litter boxes right before the storm arrives. A shoe box or cardboard box may be used for a temporary litter pan. A kiddie pool with hay or sod in your garage makes a great bathroom area.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Comfort items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.


If you evacuate, take your pets. The Heritage Humane Society does not take in owned pets.
Prepare ahead by asking if family or friends outside of the hurricane path can help shelter your pet. If staying in a hotel, researching and knowing three hotels that are pet friendly.

Choosing to stay

If you choose to stay, prepare with these tips:
  • Choose a location where you and your pet can stay safe together. Create a buddy system for friends or neighbors. Ask if they can take care of your pet if you become unable.
  • Keep your pet’s emergency kit in a water-tight container.
  • Keep your dogs on secure leashes, and cats (other small pets) in carriers.
  • Be sure each pet is wearing secure collars with updated ID Tags.
  • Bring them inside to a secure location with you. Do not leave them outside to fend for themselves. Do not tie or chain your pet outside.
Additional resources for preparing for National Disaster Preparedness Month include:
To learn more, visit or call 757-221-0150. Heritage Humane Society is located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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