MIAMI (CBS4) – Your pets are members of your family. Don’t leave them out of your hurricane plans. Just as you would have a plan for protecting the life and safety of your spouse and your children, you need to have a plan in place to make sure your pets are safe should you have to leave your home.

You also need to understand what needs to be done if you stay at home, in case your house is damaged and your frightened pets are free to get outside.

IMPORTANT: Shelters and evacuation centers DO NOT allow pets. There are exceptions in Miami-Dade & Broward. Seeing eye dogs are permitted in special needs facilities.

  • Make sure your dogs and cats have collars and tags with updated information so that you can be contacted if they get loose in the confusion of a hurricane. All vaccinations should be up to date before a hurricane threatens.
  • If you live in an evacuation zone, make plans NOW to stay with a friend or relative who will let you bring your pets. Have food, medication, and other items for your pet ready to go.
  • You can make arrangements NOW with your veterinarian or a kennel to board your pets during a storm. But remember that space is very limited. Make sure you know the policy regarding how long the kennel or vet will keep your pet, what vaccinations your pet will need, and if they will provide any of your pet’s medications. Allow yourself enough time in your hurricane plan to take your pets to be boarded.
  • If you must evacuate and you can’t take your pet or board it, you can leave it alone in a secured room, such as a bathroom. Leave sufficient food and water for two weeks. Put plastic covered with newspapers on the floor. DO NOT tranquilize your pet. Animals need to be alert to survive a hurricane. But animals have strong natural survival instincts. DO NOT risk your own life to stay behind with your pet.
  • If you are staying at your home, bring all outside pets inside for the storm. Don’t let them out again until you hear the “all clear.” Check your yard for hazards, such as broken glass, debris with sharp edges, or downed wires, before you let your pets out.

Make sure that you have sufficient food and medications for each pet as part of your hurricane kit. Don’t forget the needs of your pets when you are planning for your family’s water supply. Each animal needs a half-gallon of water per day.
Don’t forget that a hurricane can be just as traumatic for animals as it is for people. You will need to keep your pets calm during the storm. Afterwards, they may need time to adjust to changes in their daily routines.

Note about pets: Miami-Dade & Broward Counties each have 1 shelter where hurricane evacuees can be safe during a storm — and be with their pets!

  • In Miami-Dade, people and pets — dogs, cats, birds, and other small animals — living in an evacuation zone can ride out the storm there, so long as they’ve pre-registered. You should pre-register by calling (786) 331-5354 for the necessary forms. All animals must have current vaccination, and medical records.
  • In Broward, you must also pre-register. Space is extremely limited. To pre-register, you must bring the following with you in person to the Humane Society, 2070 Griffin Road, (one block west of I-95) Fort Lauderdale, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Valid proof of residence in an evacuation area (including mobile home residents) such as an electric, water, or cable bill. A driver’s license is not sufficient proof.
    Valid proof of rabies vaccination and county animal license tag for your pets.
    The name, address, and phone number of your veterinarian.
    A current photo of the pets you are planning to bring to the shelter. These photos will be attached to your registration. They will not be returned.
    Call (954) 989-3977 or go to for more information.

For additional information on helping your pets through a hurricane, you can call


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