Hurricane preparedness for pets in your home should be part of your emergency evacuation plan.
You should prepare for any kind of emergency, including winter storms, tornadoes, etc., keeping your dog in mind.
But hurricanes are unique, in that you may be required to evacuate. Of course you wouldn’t consider leaving your Bichon Frise at home alone. If you have to evacuate, you need to have a plan for emergency evacuation of your dog.
Pets in a Hurricane Evacuation
Before you evacuate to a shelter, make sure that your dog will be welcome. When people are evacuated to shelters, their dogs are usually not allowed to go.
Did you know that many pets are left alone in their homes, or left to roam the streets after natural disasters? Even Bichon Frises! This often happens because pet owners have not taken hurricane preparedness for pets to heart. They have not provided for their pets’ safety.
So, in some cases, people figure that their dogs have the best chance of survival, if they turn them loose on the streets.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this dilemma. Hurricane preparedness for pets ahead of time, will insure that your dog is safe, no matter what happens!
Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan
When a hurricane watch or warning is issued, you need to be ready to act. You will have some time before the storm hits your area, but you also have quite a few things to do to get ready.
Whether you plan to evacuate or not, you should prepare for your pet’s safety and comfort.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are making your hurricane preparedness for pets list:
Gather these Hurricane Preparedness Items Now
- Paperwork – Include medical records, vaccinations records, information on how to reach you if your dog or cat is lost. In case your cell phone does not work, include a phone number of a friend or relative who lives out of the danger zone. Store your documents in a waterproof document holder.
- Buy or make a pet hurricane preparedness kit – You can buy an emergency survival kit for a dog, or you can make your own, by gathering the materials yourself.
- Pet ID – Make sure your dog is wearing his collar and that it has Pet ID Tag with contact information for you on it. Alternatively, consider having a microchip implanted in his shoulder.
- Anxiety or agitation – Does your dog get easily excited or become frightened during thunderstorms? Consider getting a calming medication to help him get through the storm. Most dogs will be afraid of the loud noises and frightening sounds.
- I use True Hemp Chews with my dog Skipper, when she is anxious. She isn’t afraid of storms, but she is terrified of her grooming clippers. So we give her a couple True Hemp Chews, just before each grooming session, and she calms down considerably.
- Thundershirt – Consider getting a Thundershirt for your dog. The shirt is snug, and it has a calming effect on dogs—even when they are afraid of storms. Although it seems odd, there is a scientific basis for the Thundershirt’s working. As an occupational therapist, I sometimes used a form of bundling (in blankets) to calm an anxious baby or older patient. Firm, steady pressure is calming. And that seems to be the reason that these dog shirts work. Learn more about Thundershirts now…
Before the Hurricane
- Make arrangements early – for pet boarding at a kennel. Or make reservations at a pet-friendly hotel outside the hurricane warning area, if you will be evacuating with your Bichon.
- Know where your pets are – Some dogs or cats will hide when there is a lot of excitement or they are frightened. Or, if a storm is coming and they are outside, they can become confused and wander away. Make sure you know where your pets are so that you can take them with you if you need to leave quickly.
Spend a little time upfront on hurricane preparedness for pets so that your pet will be safe and cared for. Spend the time now, so that you won’t have to do it later. Before the hurricane you’ll be stressed and under pressure to do a number of things, all at once!