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Here’s how to take care of your pets during hurricane season

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – It’s still hurricane season here on the Suncoast, and with the First Alert Weather Team keeping an eye on Hurricane Fiona, the Sarasota County government has released some tips for caring for your pets during inclement weather .

Several secure locations allow animals. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet!

If evacuation is required, take your emergency kit with you wherever you go. The safety and successful evacuation of your family and pets depends on a good plan and preparation with the right equipment.

Land animals pose other problems.

The decision to evacuate your livestock depends on many factors. If you are in a storm surge area, a flood plain, a small pasture, or an urban area where you cannot avoid debris or are at risk of buildings collapsing, you should consider evacuating. The key to a successful evacuation is to do it early.

Decide in advance how you will evacuate and, if you cannot evacuate, how you and your animals can cope without water, electricity and access to assistance for three or four days or more. Write your plan down and keep it in a place with copies of important papers so you are prepared in case you need to act quickly.

Prepare your livestock before a storm:

* Know where to take your livestock in an emergency evacuation. Sarasota County does not house livestock and evacuation centers do not accept livestock as pets.

* Prepare to evacuate early.

* Large vehicles can be difficult and unsafe to drive when winds reach 40 mph.

* Practice loading and unloading your livestock in a trailer. Stressed animals are more difficult to manage (and may react negatively to your own stress) during an actual disaster.

* Pack a box with extra halters and leashes for each animal, blankets, brushes, wire cutters, medication, bandages, fly spray and other first aid items.

* Keep important documents such as medical records, Coggins tests, photos and registration papers in a waterproof envelope.

* A two week supply of pet food for each animal should be stored in watertight containers.

* Prepare to treat contaminated water. (Add two drops of chlorine bleach per quart and leave for half an hour.)

* If you are forced to evacuate and abandon your animals, inform friends and neighbors of your evacuation plans and post detailed instructions in multiple locations around your property. They must have standing water for at least three days and have access to good quality hay. DO NOT ALLOW ANIMALS FREE ACCESS TO GRAIN.

* The safest place for large animals to weather a storm is in a large pasture.

* Label your animals with your phone number using non-toxic grease pencil or spray paint.

* Put your contact details on waterproof luggage tags and attach them to their halters/collars or braid them into their mane or tail.

We have animal care advice in the ABC7 Hurricane Guide, which you can find here.

The Sarasota County Government also issued a guide:

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