VIRGINIA BEACH - As Hurricane Sandy threatens to the East Coast, forecasters are urging people to get ready for the bad weather. That preparation needs to include caring for your pets.

The Humane Society of the United States says 62-percent of American households own a pet.

Officials give this rule of thumb: if it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets.

With any storm, pets should be brought inside to protect them from heavy downpours, storm surge or high winds.

While Hurricane Sandy at this point isn't likely to cause localities to order evacuations, arecent Zogby International poll found that 61 percent of pet owners said they will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.

Remember, many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so you'll need to have plans to care for your animals if you're told to leave your home.

Storm preps for pets:
Collar with visible ID on all pets
Have current photos if the animals gets lost
Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes
Create a list of hotels that allow pets

Pet emergency kit should include:
Three-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water
Bowls for food and water
Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings
Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies
Comfort items such as a toy and blanket
Small garbage bags
For dogs include: leash, harness and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area
For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport

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