OK. We know Tropical Storm Andrea might not be that big of a deal in the scheme of things. Especially when compared to, let’s say, Hurricane Hugo. But a little planning never hurt. And if you’re a pet owner, you have more than just yourself to look out for.

We reached to out to veterinarian Dick Patrick at Patrick Veterinary Clinic for some tips on weathering a storm when you’ve got dogs and cats to contend with too.

•Just like you would for yourself, have an ample supply of food and water for your pet, plus their medication. “If they are effected, then the veterinarians will be effected as well, and the offices might be closed,” Patrick points out, so refill prescriptions before the storm hits. Charleston County recommends 1 gallon of water for every 10 pounds a dog weighs, or a half-gallon of water per day per cat, plus one to two pounds of food per pet.

•If you live in an evacuation zone, make sure you have a contingency plan for pets. The only shelter that accepts animals in the area is at the North Charleston Coliseum, and it only allows one pet per person. You’ll have to stay with your pet, and you’ll have to provide it with food, water, and shelter (i.e. a crate or kennel). Make sure you have tags and paperwork too.

•Speaking of paperwork, if you plan to leave the Charleston area, you’ll need copies of your pets’ vaccination status. Kennels outside of the city will want that information, and if the veterinary office is closed, you won’t be able to get them.

•Patrick doesn’t want to make any broad recommendations for traveling with pets, and instead recommends that owners talk to their own veterinarians for advice on their animals.

•Same thing for noise. Vets can prescribe diazepam or valium on an as-needed basis to keep pets calm, but that’s up to your vet.

•Don’t wait to the last minute to do any of this. Patrick says that’s usually the biggest problem in storm situations. Even though Andrea shouldn’t be too much of a problem, get food, water, medication, paperwork, and other supplies now instead of waiting until August right before a big storm hits.

•And what if your dog needs to use the restroom in the midst of the worst weather? “Most dogs are very well house rained,” Patrick points out “It’s unbelievable how well a dog can hold it.” Or you could just wait until the calm of the eye of the storm. Otherwise, “There’s no way you can control mother nature and her need to eliminate tings,” he laughs.

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