Don't forget your pets' needs during your hurricane prep.

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As Hurricane Dorian prepares to make landfall in Florida—potentially as a Category 4 storm—millions of Floridians are scrambling to prepare, whether by evacuating, battening down their homes' hatches or prepping their kitchens in case the power goes out. 

But what about pets? “Your pets are your responsibility just as much as the other members of your family,” says Dr. Sonja Olson, senior emergency clinician/clinician talent acquisition at Blue Pearl, a chain of specialty/emergency pet hospitals with a Sarasota location. “Part of that responsibility is to be prepared.” 

Here are Blue Pearl's tips for riding out the storm with your furry family members: 

Get familiar with pet-friendly emergency shelters in your area, but remember they should be the last resort.  Staying with friends is better. You may also want to scout out pet-friendly hotels.

Make sure you have pet carriers. And for cats, don’t forget the litter box (portable ones are available). 

All preparations become even more important if your pets include pythons, parrots and other exotic animals. They won’t be welcome at shelters.

Stock a pet hurricane box with leashes, food bowls, water and sealable bags for extra food. And don’t forget favorite blankets, bedding or some toys that will make your animals feel better and remind them of home. Think comfort.

Put together a pet first aid kit, which can include bandaging material, antibiotic cream and tweezers.

Don’t forget to bring important contact information—your veterinarian’s phone number, your pets’ vaccination histories, your pets’ microchip registrations and records detailing any chronic illnesses.

Pack all the medicines your pets take in the original bottles.

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