Ah, Florida.  Beautiful beaches, gorgeous sunsets…and the inevitable hurricanes.  Though not specific to the sunshine state, we Floridians have certainly had our fair share of prepping and recovering from these disasters.  So, as we enter the peak of hurricane season, we wanted to take a minute to make sure that your disaster plan includes your pup.

 

Before Threat of a Hurricane

  • Keep your dog current on vaccinations. In the event you need to evacuate to a shelter or need to board your pup, you will need to show proof of current vaccinations in order to have him/her admitted.
  • Consider microchipping your dog, so that in the event your are separated (in any scenario), there is a much better chance of being reunited.
  • Make yourself familiar with pet-friendly lodging options, both local disaster shelters (for pets & their families) as well as hotels across the state.  To find a pet-friendly hotel in a specific city, visit www.petswelcome.com

 

Preparing for a Hurricane

  • Do you stay or do you go? Make a plan, and be ready to execute it. Most importantly, never leave your dog behind.  If the conditions are hazardous for you, they are also hazardous for your dog.
  • Check that your dog is wearing their collar and their ID tags are securely attached.
  • Assemble a pet emergency kit that is ready to take with you, in the event you need to evacuate.  Here’s a list to get you started:
    • Water (one week’s worth)
    • Non perishable food (one week’s worth)
    • Can opener (if needed)
    • Food & Water Bowls
    • Any necessary medication
    • Medical/Vaccination Records (keep in a waterproof container)
    • A recent photo of your pet (in case you are separated)
    • Cleaning supplies for accidents
    • Pup toys, blanket- sources of comfort for your dog
    • Extra leash
    • Grooming items
    • Pet carrier in event of travel
  • If you’ll be staying home, check out this solution to mid-storm potty breaks for your dog, and get the supplies needed in advance.

 

During the Hurricane

  • Dogs can instinctively sense severe changes in the weather, and may separate themselves or hide if they are afraid.  Make sure you bring them inside at the first sign of the severe weather approaching.
  • Try to remain calm.  Your dog picks up on your emotions and if you are stressed and anxious, they will be as well.
  • Create a safe & comfortable space.  Whether its a corner of a room with their favorite blanket and toy, or a pet carrier, giving your pup a spot they feel secure in will help ease anxiety.

 

After the Hurricane

  • Don’t let your dog out to roam until you’ve been able to inspect the area and the damage. There could be dangerous debris around your home that could harm or disorient them.
  • Try to get back into a routine.  Changing up schedules and activities during a storm can be stressful for your pup, so getting back into your usual groove will help shift things back to normal.
  • If you notice any persistent symptoms of anxiety or discomfort, make an appointment to see your vet.