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Having lived in Florida for most of my life, then moving to Puerto Rico for a few years, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes!
They can be absolutely terrifying for both humans and pets.
Once hurricane season arrives, it’s time to prepare if you live in an area that can be affected by one.
Read on for the best supplies, tips, and tricks to keep your dog safe during a hurricane or tropical storm.
When Is Hurricane Season?
Hurricane season officially begins June 1st, and ends on November 30. The best time to prepare is well before a storm becomes a threat.
Stores get extremely busy once a hurricane warning is announced, and you may not be able to get everything you need to keep your family safe.
Getting your emergency kits together right at the start of the season ensures you won’t have to run all over town trying to find supplies.
It also will free you up to handle other important tasks like boarding up windows or bringing yard decor inside.
What Do I Need To Keep My Dog Safe During Hurricanes?
A crate is a perfect way to keep your dog contained and safe during the storm. Add their favorite stuffed toys and a cozy dog blanket. Your dog is likely to be stressed and picking up on the family’s anxiousness, so set it up in the same room your family will be staying in.
That will help them feel more comfortable while still being around the family. Pick an interior windowless room or closet to be as safe as possible in your home.
If you have to evacuate to a pet-friendly shelter, many require a crate to keep your pets in. It’s vital to have one ready in case the storm rapidly strengthens and you need to leave quickly.
Make sure to keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations. Keep a printed copy of their medical records with you in case the emergency shelter requires proof of vaccines.
You’ll also want to keep your dog’s collar on them with identification. We swear by Boomerang tags, since they attach directly to the collar and don’t jangle around. They’re less likely to break off than regular tags, too.
Keep your dog’s leash and harness close at hand. This will keep you from having to search around for it if your family needs to evacuate in a hurry.
A good-quality pet emergency kit is necessary as well. Make sure it has plenty of options for wound care: bandages, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment like Neosporin, tweezers, scissors are a few basics so you can handle any cuts or scrapes. You’ll also want to stock up on any vital medication your dog needs.
Have at least a week’s worth of food and treats for your dog. Don’t forget to include them in your emergency water supply as well!
Getting Through The Storm
While preparing for the storm is often hectic and stressful, riding out the storm is even tougher. Here are some ideas to make it easier for you and your dog to handle hurricanes and tropical storms safely and comfortably.
Set Aside Time For Physical Activity Before The Storm Begins
Taking your dog for a good quality walk will provide stimulation, activity, and necessary potty time before everyone gets all cooped up. Don’t venture too far from home, though, as the weather can change abruptly.
If you have a fenced back yard, let your dog enjoy the calm before the storm as much as possible.
Keep Your Dog Calm During The Storm
Animals can often sense incoming storms, and even a normally calm dog can pick up on family anxiousness. CBD oil is wonderful for easing their stress and helping with their anxiety. It’s got a ton of awesome health perks, too! Learn all about the benefits of CBD oil here.
Bored dogs tend to get more frantic and anxious during major storms. Since space is often limited, interactive toys are a great way to keep their mind busy during the storm.
Dog puzzles are perfect for tiring them out mentally while their physical activity is restricted.
You can also stuff a KONG with treats and peanut butter. To make it last even longer, freeze it to lengthen the time it takes to get all the yummies out. I’ve put together an awesome guide to the best KONG stuffing ideas here!
That will also help cool them down when the electricity goes out and the house gets a bit stuffy inside.
Plan For Indoor Potty Breaks
Tropical storms and hurricanes can often have extremely strong winds for 6-18 hours, if not even longer for wide-reaching storms.
It’s not safe to let your dog out during those winds, so pee pads are a must-have item.
Large dogs may struggle to unlearn housebreaking to use pee pads. A great option is to fill a kiddie pool with grass squares from outside to encourage them to potty indoors and stay safe.
Also, please don’t punish them if they do have an accident in a corner of the house. Stressful times call for a bit of rule bending!
Safety Steps To Take After The Hurricane
Once the storm has passed, clean up begins. Before you let your dog out, though, it’s important to walk their yard or fence line for safety.
Keep an eye out for any holes in the fence, downed power lines, debris that can cut their feet, etc.
Once the area has been cleared and there are no safety hazards, you can take them to potty safely.