Tips For Boarding Your Pets During A Hurricane Evacuation

Dated: May 12 2021

Views: 3374

Tips for Boarding Your Pets During a Hurricane Evacuation


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As many of you know, the Florida hurricane season officially begins on June 1st and runs through November 30th. Many of us Florida Residents make it an annual routine to stock up on bottled water, non-perishable foods, and more, to prepare in the event a big storm heads our way in Tampa Bay. However, it’s also a good idea to make sure you have a plan for your pets (think cats, dogs, birds, etc) during a storm or mandatory evacuation.

At The Sandy Hartmann Group, we’d like to share some info with our community that will make planning for a hurricane evacuation with a pet a little easier. 


Here’s a list of things to know:


  • Don’t plan on dropping off your pet at a local animal shelter during an evacuation or a storm. In Pinellas County, for example, the SPCA and Humane Society cannot accept your pets for temporary boarding during a storm.

  • Instead, Know where the pet-friendly emergency shelters are in your county. For Pinellas County, you currently have the following options for pet-friendly hurricane shelters:

    • Largo High School
      410 Missouri Ave. N., Largo

    • Gibbs High School
      850 34th St. S., St. Petersburg

According to the Pinellas County Emergency Management Website, “The facilities are substantially-built, have large indoor gyms, and separate air handlers to ensure the comfort and safety of allergic citizens who shelter there.” 


  • To bring a pet into a pet-friendly hurricane shelter, you’ll need to have a Pet-Friendly Shelter Registration Form filled out when you arrive at the facility. This is a GREAT form to print out and complete prior to a storm so you can grab it fast if an evacuation situation occurs.

  • You’ll also need to have proper identification for your pet when you arrived at a pet-friendly hurricane shelter, including a collar tag and proof of a current rabies vaccination. Be sure to print out a copy of this identification form as well & attach it to your pet’s crate before arriving at a shelter.

  • Other items you’ll want to bring for your pet to a pet-friendly hurricane shelter include:


  • Immunization records (make sure your pet’s vaccines are current!)

  • County Rabies Tag

  • Food and Water (2 weeks supply)

  • A carrier or portable kennel

  • Medications

  • Muzzle, collar, and leash

  • Manual can opener

  • Current photo of pet

  • Feeding and water bowls

  • Favorite toys and blanket or bedding for the kennel

  • Cat litter/pan and scoop

  • Grooming items

  • Plastic bags for waste


  • Remember, you will not be able to stay in the same area of the shelter as your pets. Pets will be kept in a separate area of the shelter to protect people with allergies who are staying at the shelter.

  • Other options for taking care of a pet during a hurricane evacuation, include leaving your pet with a trusted friend or family member that’s not in an evacuation zone or calling local boarding kennels that are not in an evac zone (as a last resort). If you're planning on using a local kennel, be sure to make reservations for your pet as soon as possible, as many boarding kennels will fill up immediately when a storm is nearby.

  • Lastly, always have a written plan for your pets in the event of a storm, so you can safely and quickly make decisions once evacuations are ordered. The best thing you can do is take your pet with you of course, but if that’s not possible, what will your plan be? The more you’re prepared you are, the easier it will be managing your safety as well as your loved ones.  

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Andrea Hartmann

Andrea is the Managing Partner of The Sandy Hartmann Group and runs the team alongside Sandy Hartmann. She would love to talk to you about real estate! Andrea was born and raised in the Tampa Bay a....

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