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Image: Charles York and his dog
Joe Mahoney  /  AP
Charles York of Alexandria, Va. secures his dog, Bear on Interstate 64 on August 25, 2011. York and his wife, Sherry, cut short their vacation at Rodanthe, N.C. on the Outer Banks by 10 days after officials evacuated the area in advance of Hurricane Irene.
updated 8/26/2011 1:12:53 PM ET 2011-08-26T17:12:53

As the East Coast braces for potential high surf, rains and winds from Hurricane Irene, the Humane Society of the United States recommends that people build their pets into their evacuation plans.

"It is crucial that residents are prepared to take pets with them if asked to evacuate in the face of this potentially destructive storm," Laura Bevan, the Humane Society's Eastern regional director, said in a statement. "If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets."

Irene, now a category 3 storm with winds of up to 115 miles per hour, is forecasted to travel up the East Coast of the U.S. through the weekend, potentially threatening coastal areas from the Carolinas to New England.

Even if there is no immediate evacuation order in your area, residents in potential hurricane impact zones are advised to take a few basic preparedness steps, including knowing where to go in the event of an evacuation, stocking up on food and water, and making sure important documents and medications are easy to access.

How to calm pets during storms

For people with pets, evacuation can be slightly more complicated. Many evacuation shelters don't accept pets, the Humane Society reported, so pet owners should check with their local animal shelter or emergency management service to find out if there will be pet-friendly shelters in the area. Hotels and motels sometimes lift "no pet" restrictions in emergencies, but residents should ask ahead.

Hurricane tracker: Find out Irene’s forecasted path

In addition to an emergency plan, pet owners should have an emergency supply kit for their pets. According to the Humane Society, this kit should include:

  • At least three days of pet food and water in airtight, waterproof containers
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Current photos and physical descriptions of pets, in case they should become lost
  • Medications, vaccination records and any pet first-aid supplies
  • Comfort items such as a toy or blanket
  • Small garbage bags for waste
  • A leash, harness and sturdy carrier large enough to be used as a sleeping area for dogs
  • For cats, a litter box, litter and a sturdy carrier.

For more tips and advice on other pets, visit humanesociety.org/prepare.

In Photos: America's Favorite Pets
In Photos: The Fury of Hurricane Irene
Hurricanes from Above: See Nature's Biggest Storms

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

Video: How to protect yourself, home against Irene

  1. Closed captioning of: How to protect yourself, home against Irene

    >> the host of "this old house" and a contributor to "this old house" magazine. good morning. i want to pick up on this point about this pressure on the windows. we always see people putting wood on the windows. it's not about shattered glass .

    >> you don't want the wind to force its way into the house and pressurize the house. if the pressure gets in it has to come out.

    >> it could literally take the roof off.

    >> so what you want to do is, no tape, put the plywood up over the windows to protect that from being a penetration. we refer that you do it with screws rather than nails because you're going to be taking this off when the storm is over.

    >> all the windows or --

    >> do tul a windows if you can, wind side only first.

    >> let's talk about the roof here and what you can do to make this stronger.

    >> here's the roof. asphalt shingles on the outside. the inside is what you want to focus on. if you can get up into your attic and you can see the sheeting on the bottom of the roof and the rafters right here, you can take adhesive and you can actually run a bead between sheathing and rafters and strengthen these. one on each side. this will actually almost double the adhesion between that sheath and that rafter.

    >> trees outside that can be vulnerable.

    >> if a tree is pruned it's going to do a lot better in a heavy storm. cut off the dead limbs. fruit trees, take the apples off. anything to give it an extra leg will g b. great. stake it down, at an angle. put two or three around the tree. make sure you take it off when the storm is over.

    >> okay. anywhere, if you're on the coast or internally you've got to worry about here flooding in your basement. making sure your gutters are clear is a big part of that.

    >> you have wind issue.

    >> it looks like this.

    >> this is no good.

    >> you've got a system that diverts it away from the house. clear, get it out of here. extend the gutters away from the house so you're not piling all the water into the basement.

    >> a sump pump is also a good idea. kevin o'connor, thank you very much.

Photos: America's worst hurricanes

loading photos...
  1. Ike

    Galveston and neighbors along the Texas coast saw a direct hit by Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008. This view was at Crystal Beach, on the Bolivar Peninsula, on Sept. 18. (Eric Gay / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Ike

    A single home is left standing among the debris of lost homes in Gilchrist, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2008, a day after Ike made landfall. (David J. Phillip / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Wilma

    Key West, Fla., saw storm surge flooding when Hurricane Wilma made landfall in southwest Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. Wilma roared across the Florida peninsula, pounding Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Wilma claimed 5 lives in Florida, 4 in Mexico and 14 in the Caribbean. (Carlos Barria / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Wilma

    Two men sit inside a destroyed mobile home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Oct. 25, 2005, after Hurricane Wilma slammed across the state in about seven hours. Wilma caused $21.5 billion in property losses in the U.S. (Wilfredo Lee / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Rita

    Tens of thousands fled the Houston, Texas, area on Sept. 22, 2005, as Hurricane Rita neared landfall. (Rick Bowmer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Rita

    Residents of Lafite, La., on Sept. 24, 2005, had to deal with waist high flooding as well as a trailer fire after Hurricane Rita passed through the area. Rita caused $11.8 billion in property damages in Louisiana, Texas and Florida. (Kevork Djansezian / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Katrina

    Survivors of 2005's Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans included this trio: Jennifer Cooper, 33, Otis Brown, 67, and Alber Jean, 50, far left. They fought their way up a highway off-ramp after escaping roof-level flood waters with a larger group aboard a motorboat. (Jim Winn / Vellum Media) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Katrina

    Hundreds of New Orleans residents were rescued by helicopter and other means in the aftermath of Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. Some 1,500 people lost their lives due to Katrina, which was the most expensive storm to hit the U.S.: $85 billion in property damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. (Vincent Laforet / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Katrina

    Evelyn Turner cries alongside the body of her common-law husband, Xavier Bowie, after he died in New Orleans on Aug. 30, 2005. Bowie and Turner had decided to ride out Katrina when they could not find a way to leave the city. Bowie, who had lung cancer, died when he ran out of bottled oxygen. (Eric Gay / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Ivan

    The storm surge from Hurricane Ivan cut off this bridge north of Pensacola, Fla., on Sept. 16, 2004. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Ivan

    The owner of this house on Cape San Blas, Fla., kneels to pray after Hurricane Ivan destroyed the property and hundreds more across the coast. U.S. property losses reached $15.5 billion. Ivan also claimed 25 lives in Florida and Alabama. (Phil Coale / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Frances

    The streets of Titusville and other southeast Florida cities were littered with debris after Hurricane Frances made landfall on Sept. 4, 2004. High winds and rain over several days combined to makeFrances a costly storm, with damages estimated at nearly $10 billion. (Bruce Weaver / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Frances

    This mobile home park in Ft. Pierce, Fla., was swamped by storm surge water on Sept. 5, 2004, a day after Hurricane Frances first hit the coast. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Frances

    Pounding waves and storm surge from Frances left stretches of coastal roads in ruins, including this one in Jensen Beach, Fla. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Charley

    Volunteer Buddy Shipp sits in the destroyed Peace River Church of Christ in Punta Gorda, Fla., on August 22, 2004. The church's roof was blown off by Hurricane Charley but church members vowed to rebuild. Property damage from Charley reached $16.3 billion. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Charley

    The roof of a garage is blown onto sheriff's cruisers in Punta Gorda, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2004. (Scott Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Andrew

    Tens of thousands were made homeless by Hurricane Andrew, including Janny Vancedarfield of Florida City, Fla., seen here on Sept. 1, 1992, in front of debris that was once his house. Andrew was the second most expensive storm in U.S. history with property damage of $48 billion. (Lynn Sladky / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Andrew

    A tornado spawned by Hurricane Andrew destroyed this home on Aug. 26, 1992. (Paul J. Richards / AFP-Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Hugo

    Shrimp boats lie wrecked on the beach in McClellanville, S.C., on Sept. 26, 1989, after Hurricane Hugo hit. The storm caused $13.5 billion in property damage. (Jeff Amberg / Associated Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Hugo

    This bridge on Sullivan's Island, S.C., was knocked out by Hurricane Hugo. The main span of a swing bridge was wrenched off its foundation during Hurricane Hugo's 135 mph winds. (Wade Spees / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Agnes

    Senior citizens are rescued in Wilkes Barre, Pa., on June 23, 1972, after Hurricane Agnes made the Susquehanna River overflow its banks. Property damage from the storm was estimated at $12.4 billion. (Phil Butler / Scranton Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Agnes

    Floodwaters triggered by rain from Agnes submerge homes in Pottstown, Pa., on June 23, 1972. Agnes was blamed for 122 deaths. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Agnes

    Residents of Harrisburg, Pa., flee floodwaters from Agnes on June 23, 1972. (Paul Vathis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Camille

    A boy takes a break after returning to the remains of his home in Buras, La., on Aug. 22, 1969, four days after Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast and caused nearly $10 billion in property damage. (Jack Thornell / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Camille

    An 85-foot boat slumps in a Biloxi, Miss., yard after Camille's storm surge carried it more than 100 yards from its moorage. (Joe Holloway Jr. / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Betsy

    U.S. Highway 90 at Biloxi, Miss., went under several feet of water as powerful Hurricane Betsy slammed into the coast on Sept. 10, 1965. Betsy was responsible for 75 deaths and $11.9 billion in property damages. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Audrey

    Crowds gather graveside for unidentified seaman killed during Hurricane Audrey, which made landfall on June 27, 1957, near the Texas-Louisiana border. The storm was the seventh deadliest in the U.S., claiming at least 416 lives. (Robert W. Kelley / Time & Life Pictures via Getty Image) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Audrey

    Louisiana residents clean up wreckage in the aftermath of Audrey, which ripped through the southwest part of the state as well as eastern Texas. (Shel Hershorn / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Galveston

    A large part of of Galveston, Texas, was reduced to rubble after being hit by a hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900. Between 8,000 and 12,000 people were killed and 10,000 left homeless from the storm, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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