Traveling with ESAs & Pets During a Texas Hurricane {Must Read}

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Do you know what to do when there is a Texas Hurricane looming? You need to be prepared! When any storm or natural disaster strikes, safety is always the number one priority for both you and your emotional support animal (ESA) or any other pets.

That means knowing when to evacuate both you and your animals and having some emergency supplies at the ready!

Mandatory Evacuation Texas: ESA Protocol for When You’re in an Evacuation Zone

If you are ever in an area facing mandatory evacuation orders from local officials or Sherrif’s Office during a severe storm or disaster, have a plan in place for taking your ESA in Texas with you or to another safe location.

Animals left behind can become lost and injured, and may not survive on their own. Besides that, having your emotional support animal with you or knowing they are in a safe place will bring comfort to you both during a frightening time such as a Texas hurricane.

During a hurricane or disaster, local authorities will be coordinating emergency shelters to accommodate people if they need to evacuate from your homes. If you are evacuating to an emergency shelter they may not be able to accept your ESA.

This does depend on the shelter, sometimes they can take animals too. However, an emergency center can limit animals to service animals only (that is animals trained to do specific tasks, like guide dogs).

There are a couple of ways to ensure you ESA stays safe during a hurricane.

  • One is to have an ESA letter to show an airline or potential short-term landlord that you have the documentation necessary to allow your ESA on a flight or rented accommodation.
  • The other is to find pet-friendly accommodation, animal organizations or clinics in advance, that are able to take shelter animals during emergencies.

evacuation zone mandatory evacuation plan hurricane texas or texas storm

How to Get An ESA Letter To Make Traveling with Your Furkid Easier!

Having an ESA letter can make it easier to travel with your emotional support animal during a Texas hurricane. This paperwork verifies you have an emotional or psychological condition or disability that qualifies you for an emotional support animal. The first step to seeing whether you qualify for an emotional support animal is by taking CertaPet’s simple 5-minute pre-screening.

Know Your Rights! The 2 Vital Emotional Support Animal Laws

There are two federal laws that offer people with emotional support animals some legal protection in terms of travel and housing. These are:

  • The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA): This law allows people with ESAs to fly with their animals on commercial airlines. In normal circumstances, airlines usually need 48 hours advance notice, and your ESA letter to confirm your eligibility.
  • The Fair Housing Act (FHA)This Act protects people’s right to live with an emotional support animal in residential accommodation. Landlords and property owners must provide “reasonable accommodation” principles for people with ESAs. This means they cannot refuse a person with an ESA rental accommodation on the basis they have an animal.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal Before the Hurricane Strikes: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

Certapet offers a free initial online pre-screening. This takes around five minutes to complete. From there, if your answers indicate you may benefit from an emotional support animal, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in Texas.

Certapet’s services are available to help you before and during a hurricane.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal with You During Scary Times

The value of an emotional support animal is that they provide reassurance to a person in times of psychological or emotional stress. Storms, adverse weather, hurricanes – they’re frightening for everyone – so this is even more likely to be a time when your ESA can bring you comfort.

The Calming Comfort of an ESA

Emotional support animals provide therapeutic value to many types of emotional and psychological conditions – depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

The most common types of emotional support animals are dogs and cats. Many people feel a bond, and get a form of emotional support from the presence of other types of animals as well, but those animals are generally not accepted as official Emotional Support Animals, and are not protected by the ACAA or FHA!

You cannot bring your emotional support snake or cow onto a plane! A cat or a dog, however, should not be a problem!

golden retriever emotional support dog in packed car ready for tropical storm texas

Hurricane Season Texas: Know Your Hurricane Categories!

Wind speeds are the main determinants of hurricane categories. The rating scale used, the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, ranks hurricanes from Category 1-5.

At the lower end of the scale, Category 1 hurricanes have winds from 96-110 miles per hour that can damage mobile homes, uplift trees, and cause flooding in coastal areas. The highest classification, a Category 5 hurricane, can have winds greater than 157 miles per hour and cause severe flooding, and damage to buildings and the environment.

Storms 101: Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones!

Are you confused about the difference between a tropical storm, hurricane, typhoon, or a cyclone? Basically, they are all the same type of adverse weather conditions involving extreme wind and thunderstorms that have originated from the ocean. It’s the location of the storm that determines the name.

The term hurricane is used for tropical storms over 74 miles per hour in the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific. In the Northwest Pacific, it would be called a typhoon, and in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean a tropical cyclone.

Be Prepared! NHC and NOAA: Hurricane Tracking Made Easy!

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provide the national weather service and regular updates of hurricanes online and over the radio. They are also great sources of advice and resources to help with planning and being prepared for a storm.

Storm damage is not only about strong winds. Storm surge and the inches of rainwater from torrential rains can cause flash flooding. There may be power outages, and residents may need assistance from search and rescue services and Red Cross.

These organizations all provide vital information for people and communities at all stages of a Texas hurricane, including disaster recovery after the event.

When is Hurricane Season in Texas?

The hurricane season in Texas is officially June to November, with the peak season around mid-August until the end of October. This is when the tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Parts of Texas particularly vulnerable are the areas along the Texas Coast, such as Port Isabel, Rockport Texas, and the upper Texas Coast.

5 of the Worst US and Texas Hurricanes that Hit the U.S. in Recent Years!

Most people are aware of the devastation that a hurricane can cause. Names of Hurricane’s from the 2000s are familiar to many – for example, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Ike. Hurricanes have also hit some areas of the United States hard in more recent times.

Hurricane Michael

The most recent hurricane, Hurricane Michael, made landfall in October 2018 and has caused massive damage in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Hurricane Florence

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, hit North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. Mandatory evacuations affected well over a million people. Across the four States, 53 people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm.

Hurricane Harvey

Texans will be familiar with Hurricane Harvey that hit in August 2017. A Category 4 hurricane, or tropical storm Harvey, resulted in mandatory evacuations in Texas and Louisiana. The Houston area and Harris County were flooded.

emotional support dog sad for texas evacuation hurricane

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017. It was a Category 5 hurricane that affected Florida on the U.S. mainland, as well as Central and South America, and Florida. Mandatory evacuations affected over six million people in Florida and Georgia. In the U.S. a total of 92 people lost their lives.

Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico suffered serious damage from Hurricane Maria in September 2017. In the United States, this hurricane affected North Carolina and Florida.

Have Your Dog Emergency Kit Ready for When Those Gulf Winds Pick Up!

Just like an emergency kit for the humans in your home, an emergency animal kit is always a good thing to have at the ready during a Texas hurricane.

It can be reassuring just knowing that if there is a hurricane in Texas or another emergency, you have everything you need for your emotional support animal ready to take with you on short notice.

8 Things to Have in Your Pet’s Kit

  • Dry or canned food, water, and bowls
  • Their medications, vaccination records and the name of their vet
  • Leads, collars, harnesses and a crate, cage, and litterbox (depending on your type of animal)
  • A list of any pet-friendly accommodation such as hotels, shelters or friends could stay with
  • A photo of yourself and your emotional support animal – if you do get separated this can help you be reunited
  • Pet insurance information and contact numbers
  • Blankets and toys – items that your emotional support animal is familiar with that will help comfort them too
  • Calming supplements such as CBD oil for dogs
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Make Sure Your Pets Have Clear Identification!

One of the best forms of IDs an emotional support animal can be equipped with is a microchip. That way they can always be identified, and their ID won’t get lost during a Texas hurricane.

For visible ID have an emergency tag to use with a collar. The emergency tag should give your name, your animal’s name, and your mobile number.

Stay Safe and Do NOT Leave Your Pet/ESA Behind!

Even if you think you may only need to be away from your home for a few hours during a tropical storm or hurricane – take your animal support with you! They are safer with you than left alone in the eye of a storm.

Plan ahead in case you do need to evacuate during the hurricane season in Texas. It will be less worrying to know that you have identified where you can go and what you need to take with you for your ESA.

emotional support animal and pet left behind during one of the hurricanes in texas

Traveling with ESAs During a Texas Hurricane: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!

You can always reach out to us if you think you need to obtain an ESA letter. We have a free online pre-screening to get started. This takes around five minutes. We then connect you with a Licensed Mental Health Professional if you qualify. When you are already away from home or relocating during an emergency your contact with an LMHP can be via video!

Common Questions about traveling with an ESA during a Texas Hurricane

Can I take my ESA to an emergency shelter during a Texas hurricane?

In the case of a Texas hurricane: should I leave my ESA at home?

What should I have in an emergency evacuation kit for my ESA?

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