The recent flooding disaster in neighboring parishes has been described as “epic” and “horrific” because of the amount of property that was destroyed and the number of families displaced. In the wake of the aftermath, the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter took in 21 dogs from a shelter in Ascension Parish. The dogs brought to Thibodaux were not flood victims but were instead residents of the shelter. These dogs were either surrendered by their former owner or found abandoned prior to the flood.
Many families had to evacuate to emergency shelters. It is important to note that disaster shelters often do not accept pets. The pets were taken to animal shelters in neighboring areas that were not in danger of flooding. When preparing to evacuate, it is important that you have a plan for your pets. After all, they should never have to fend to themselves or be separated from their family.
An evacuation plan is not only needed for humans. Pets need one too. Key things to do include having a location in advance that will accept you and your pets. For example, I have arrangements in place with cousins that live in north Louisiana. My dogs are crate trained so that they can stay contained in their new location. When evacuating, it is also important to pack enough of their regular food and snacks. Do not take the chance of switching their food in this transition.
Also make sure that you have necessary medication packed. One of my dogs used to get very nervous during travel and bad weather. There are over the counter medications for dogs that can help with this. One such medication is called Petease, an herbal remedy that helps to calm nervousness. Dramamine or Benadryl can also be used to alleviate nervousness. Always consult your veterinarian for recommendations on dosages for pets prior to use.
When traveling, pets should be secured in the vehicle and have collars with current identification tags. In addition to their collars, my dogs wear walking harnesses, and I leave their leashes attached to make handling easier. Be sure to plan frequent stops for exercise, water, and bathroom breaks.
By planning ahead, evacuation with your pets can be stress-free for all involved.