Living in Florida means sunshine, beaches, and hurricanes. So when a hurricane does hit, you need to have a plan for both you and your dog. Let’s talk about what you can do to prepare your dog for a hurricane.
When does the Atlantic hurricane season start?
The hurricane season starts on June 1 and goes to November 30.
What do I need to do to prepare my dog for the next hurricane?
Most of what you can do for your dog to get them ready will happen before the storm hits.
1. Update your dog’s identification info & gather documentation
The first step towards preparing your dog for a hurricane is to have all of your dog’s information updated and in one place. Here are some steps you can take:
- Update your dog’s ID tags and microchips with your current contact information.
- If your dog isn’t chipped, consider getting them microchipped.
- Have a copy of your dog’s medical records and extra medications.
- Have recent pictures of your dog on your phone & printed out (in case your phone stops working).
- Create a list of all your emergency contacts, including your veterinarian’s information, local animal shelter, and animal control.
Then take all the pictures, paperwork, and meds, and put them in a waterproof container or bag.
2. Put together a dog emergency kit
Just like you do for yourself and your family, you’ll need to create a dog-specific hurricane emergency kit for your puppers.
You’ll want to have enough supplies to last your dog 3 to 7 days:
- Dog food
- Collar with tags
- First aid kit
- Chew toys
- Sanitation materials
You may also want to include calming aids that help your dog deal with loud noises and changes in the environment. You could use items like Thundershirts or a calming supplement recommended by your vet.
3. Know your safe shelter options
Before a hurricane hits, you’ll want to know where you can stay during the storm. It’s important to know which shelters and hotels are pet-friendly in case you have to evacuate. You could also ask a friend or family member about staying with them.
But wherever you go, make sure the location works for your dog’s size and needs.
4. Work on your dog’s training
Make sure your dog knows basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This will keep them safe during emergencies since you can be sure they’ll listen when you give a command.
It can also be helpful to work on desensitizing your dog to loud noises and unfamiliar situations. This can help them stay calm and reduce their anxiety during an evacuation. Check out this blog for some tips to help with loud noises.
And if your dog gets scared, know their hiding places should they decide to run. This is when those calming aids can come in handy.
5. Secure your home
Just as important as it is to prepare your dog for a hurricane, you’ll need to prepare your home too.
- Secure any loose objects that can become flying debris.
- Designate a safe space for your dog in your home away from windows & exterior walls.
NEVER leave any pets outside during a hurricane. ALWAYS bring pets indoors.
6. Have a travel crate or carrier
Should you need to evacuate, have a sturdy and correct-sized crate or carrier ready for your dog.
If your dog isn’t crate trained or the carrier is brand new, work with your dog to get them familiar with it. A bit of practice will reduce their anxiety and stress! And don’t forget to add some comfort items like a favorite toy or blanket.
7. Practice your excavation drills
Just like you practiced fire drills in school, practice hurricane evacuation drills with your dog. This will make both of you familiar with the process and move efficiently when the time comes to evacuate.
Can I tranquilize my dog during a hurricane to help keep them calm?
DO NOT tranquilize your dog! If the storm gets worse, your dog will need to be alert to use their survival instincts.
Living in Florida means dealing with stormy weather – and it’s up to you to prepare your dog for the next hurricane.
If you need recommendations from pet supplies to crate training and behavior training, let us know. We’ll get you to the right resources.