Hurricane Prep Series: Pre-Planning

Fortune favors the prepared.

This is certainly true for going through an emergency situation with your pets. Hurricane season can get really stressful, really quick, but you can prevent lots of issues by making sure that you have an emergency plan for your pets. This plan should include everything from finding a pet friendly place to evacuate to, to stocking up on supplies you will need, to training your dog on some important skills that will make weathering the storm easier.

  • Hurricane Kit For Your Dog
    • Waterproof Container to Store Supplies
    • Copies of Medical Records
    • Copy of Rabies Certificate
    • Copy of Dog License
    • Emergency Contact Information
    • Proof of Ownership and Microchip Info
    • One Week Supply of Food
    • One Week Supply of Water
    • Bowls (We recommend collapsible.)
    • Flea/Tick and Heartworm Prevention
    • First Aid Kit with Extras of Any Prescription Medication or Supplements
    • Leash, Collar, ID Tags
    • Busy Toys (Kongs, Nylabones, etc)
    • Crate/Kennel

When preparing your supplies, keep in mind the type of situation you could be in. Some dogs get panicked when traveling or in storms, so a normal collar with leash combo could be risky if your dog gets spooked and slips out of the collar. A slip leash or martingale collar can prevent this.

Staying Put

If you know that a hurricane is coming and decide to stay home, there are some things to consider for your pet. Power may go out for extended periods, which can impact your dog’s daily life. If you have a dog who is not heat tolerant, you should invest in some battery powered fans to keep your pet cool. If you are feeding a canned diet and use an electric can opener, you should also have a manual one on hand in case of a power outage. Those who feed raw or home cooked meals should keep freeze dried food in their hurricane kit in case refrigeration is no longer an option.

Another thing to consider is that your do may not be able to go outside to potty during the height of the storm. There are a few solutions to this. If the storm is going to pass through quickly, take your dog out before the weather turns bad, and then do not let the outside again until the storm has for sure passed. Do NOT take your dog out unless you are certain the storm has passed. There will be a break during the eye of the storm, and sometimes between bands the rain will let up, but you do not want to be caught outside with your pet if a major wind gust hits. You can also put a kiddie pool or play pen in your house or garage, and line it with AstroTurf or pee pads as an option for your dog to go potty during the storm. Have these things lined up in advance so that you are not rushing to prepare in the days leading up to the storm.

Leaving Town
If you are planning on evacuating with your dog, line up a place to go in advance of a storm hitting. Not all hotels and shelters are pet friendly, so double check that the one you plan on using will allow your dog. If you are planning on staying at a hotel or shelter, make sure that you have extra copies of all of your dog’s vaccine information, as it will often be required. Make sure that you have a sturdy crate that your dog is familiar with.

Make sure that your dog is comfortable in the car before they need to take a major journey with you in the car. We strongly recommend using crates or dog seat belt harnesses when traveling, especially with the added stress of an evacuation. Dogs who are restrained in the car are less distracting, safer in a crash, and far less likely to slip out of the car on accident when you stop at gas stations and rest stops. This is another situation where battery powered fans can be a good investment. During the evacuation prior to Hurricane Rita, many people suffered from heat related issues while stuck in gridlock. Having fans on hand can help prevent these issues for both you and your dog.

If you are traveling to stay with family or friends, contact them in advance of hurricane season and make sure that they are okay with you bringing your animals with you when you come to stay. If you want to evacuate but cannot bring your dog with you, be aware that most boarding facilities will be shut down, and those that are not will be filled to capacity. Planning in advance will prevent you from being in a situation where you have to deal with that eventuality.

These are important things to keep in mind when hurricane season is around the corner. Planning in advance can save lots of stress and even heartbreak in the event of a natural disaster. In the next post of this series, we will cover training that you can do to make storm season easier for you and your dog.