Pet Safety Tips
We want everyone to be prepared for a tropical weather event. Hurricanes can be unpredictable but planning and preparing for one is in your control. For pet owners, that means knowing how you are going to take care of your pet during a storm and having supplies and travel documents ready at a moment’s notice.
Before a storm develops, stock up on supplies that will keep you and your pet safe and comfortable for up to five days. We recommend packing a large bag that you can easily grab should you need to leave your home and shelter with AUC.
- An appropriately sized crate or pet carrier to contain your pet(s)
- Enough pet food to last up to five days
- Food and water bowls
- Clean bedding
- Collar and leash
- Vaccination and other associated travel documents
- Any necessary medication
Where to Purchase Pet Supplies
You can easily find litter, dog and cat food, and toys at larger grocery stores in Sint Maarten like Le Grand Marche. For specialty pet food and accessories, visit the St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic in Cay Hill or Island Pet Store in Cole Bay.
AUC will open Building 2 as a shelter for students, staff, faculty, and family members in advance of a hurricane. If you and a pet plan to shelter at AUC, please be mindful of the rules and policies that we have in place.
- There will be a designated space in Building 2 for all animals. Upon arriving, please check in with the information table to let them know you have a pet and to find out where to place them.
- All pets must be kept inside their crate or carrier while at the shelter. We will let you know when it is safe to take your pet outside.
- Make sure to bring copies of all important pet documentation, including registration, vaccination records, and a recent health certificate.
Calling all animal lovers: Are you planning to shelter with AUC during a storm? We are always looking for student volunteers to help with pet care. If you are interested in helping, fill out our online volunteer form.
If a hurricane approaches and evacuation becomes necessary, you need to have a plan for your pet. All pet owners should have a functioning carrier that can safely hold the animal during flight. There are no fees associated with bringing a pet to the United States or Canada; however, if you are flying on a commercial airline, there may be additional charges.
Depending on the animal, you may need to show certain documentation upon entry to the United States and/or Canada. For more information regarding pet travel into the United States, visit the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service website.
Travel Requirements for Dogs
Dog owners must have documentation of ownership and a valid rabies vaccination certificate.
- If you are vaccinating your dog for the first time, the vaccination must be completed at least 4 weeks (28 days) prior to travel.
- If your dog is 15 months or older and has previously been vaccinated, you must show proof of vaccination and a record of all boosters. With these records, adult dogs don't need to wait 4 weeks before traveling.
- Puppies less than 3 months old cannot be vaccinated. A veterinarian can provide a rabies exemption certificate for travel.
- If your dog has not received a vaccination, or his/her vaccination is less than 30 days old, you can apply for an unimmunized dog permit ahead of arrival.
Travel Requirements for Cats
Cat owners do not need to show proof of rabies vaccination; however, some states and airlines may require additional documentation. We suggest checking with your state’s local health authority for their specific requirements. Though not required, it’s a good idea to have a recent health certificate from your veterinarian stating that your pet is in good health.
Returning to Sint Maarten with your Pet
Upon returning to Sint Maarten from international travel, you will be required to show the following documents:
- Import or re-import certificate issues by the government of Sint Maarten
- Up-to-date rabies vaccination certificate
- Up-to-date 5-in-1 vaccination record for dogs or 3-in-1 vaccination record for cats.
Several nearby veterinarians and clinics offer immunizations and other travel-related pet care. If your dog needs a rabies immunization, schedule an appointment as soon as possible so your paperwork is in order.