Hurricanes are one of the most frightening natural disasters, especially for pet owners. Pet owners fear for their pets’ safety, while pets become very nervous before the storm even hits. Did you know that pets become sensitive to sudden temperature changes? They also become nervous when routines are disrupted, which is what typically happens during a hurricane. One of the most common results of the storm is flooding, and in certain areas it can be significant enough that it puts you and your pets’ life in danger. Preparing for a hurricane is not only important for you and your family, but your dog, too. If you aren’t sure what you can do to prepare your dog, then keep reading to learn the top ten tips to prepare your dog for a hurricane.
1. Collar, tag, harness, and leash
The best way to be in control of and keep control of your dog at any time, is always with a collar and leash. When dogs get nervous, they can become harder to control and keep close. A dog’s first instinct may to run and hide when scared. If you have your dog’s collar securely on, you are better prepared to put his leash on if you need to. It also helps rescuers to lead a dog to safety if they are wearing their collar. Your dog’s collar should also have a good, readable tag with your pet’s name, telephone number and address on it for identification purposes.
2. Lost dog fliers
If you get separated from your dog, you’ll want to begin posting fliers around your area as soon as you can. Having fliers already printed up before the storm arrives saves you time so you can start posting right away. It also means you’re ready to start posting without worrying about a power outage and not having use of a printer. Print 15-25 fliers ahead of time to help you get started.
3. Pet emergency sticker
Post a Pet Emergency sticker on your home (front door is recommended), that includes your dog’s name and recent picture so that rescuers can spot and identify them quicker. There are templates available online to help make it easier. If you have multiple entrances to your home, it may be a good idea to post one on a couple of the doors where a rescuer may enter.
4. Emergency meds
If your dog is on medication, it’s a good idea to get an emergency portion of it’s medications to keep in your car. If you have to separate from your dog, this will help you to be able to turn your pet over to safer conditions on unexpected, or quick circumstances. When conditions prevent you from being able to return to the home to get things you forgot, your dog’s medications won’t be something you will have to worry about. It is recommended that you have a two-week emergency supply of their meds.
5. Lighted collar
Hurricanes can commonly cause poor visibility and you want your dog to be able to be seen easily, if they should get separated from you. An LED light is the brightest seen light in poor visibility, including smoky conditions. The light should be a collar light that attaches securely, and waterproof. One brand that creates a beacon, making your dog more visible than a steady burning light, is Bright Guardian Dog Light.
6. Extra dog bed or crate
Along with pet medications, keep an extra bed or crate in your car for when the situation calls for you having to evacuate in a hurry. If you use a crate, be sure to bring crate straps, too. Along with the crate or bed, pack an extra leash in your car as well. The more extra supplies you have stowed away and ready in your car, the better prepared you are to leave with your dog without worrying you don’t have everything they need to take care of them, or drop them at a safer place, if you have to separate from them.
7. Keep them calm
Dogs don’t understand what is going on. If you think you are nervous, think how a pet feels when they don’t understand. You want to help keep your dog as calm as possible, and thanks to innovation, new technology has come up with ways to help calm dogs in thunderstorms and frightening situations. Use a Thundershirt to help calm your dog’s fears, or if you choose, there are natural calming drops for dogs, too.
8. Stock up on food and water
Not all hurricanes warrant evacuations, so if you are not ordered to evacuate, along with stocking up on plenty of food and water for your family, be sure you have plenty of food and water for your dog. When you go to the store for bottled water for your pantry, remember to include your dog and the water they will need during the storm and afterwards, should there be an interruption of water service, and especially for traveling, if you are evacuated.
One way to help keep your dog’s mind off of the situation is to try to keep them entertained. Be sure to take toys with you if you have to evacuate or even if you don’t, make sure you have entertainment for them to help soothe their worries and keep their minds focused on playing rather than the stressful situation.
10. Call evacuation center ahead of time
If you have an evacuation shelter you know you will go to if you are ordered to evacuate, be sure to call them ahead of time to find out if they accept pets. If they don’t, you will want to make arrangements for your pet’s safety ahead of time. Find an evacuation shelter that accepts pets, or a shelter that is specifically for pets. Rather than trying to scramble at the last minute to find a safe place for your dog, it’s always recommended you have your plan ahead of time.