If you’re like most pet parents, you know that there are a few things you need to do to help keep your four-legged family members safe during Florida’s hurricane season. This guide gives you ten tips to protect your pooch when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane
You may be surprised to learn that many pet parents aren’t prepared to keep their pets safe during a natural disaster – but with hurricane season upon us, this guide can help ensure you’re ready to protect your pet. Check out these ten tips to keep your dog safe in a hurricane:
- Make a plan.
- Put together a pet emergency kit.
- Double-check the info on your dog’s microchip.
- Put a pet emergency sticker on your door.
- Find a designated caregiver.
- Pay attention to evacuation warnings.
- Know where pet-friendly emergency shelters are located before the storm.
- Evacuate your dog in a carrier, and make sure you have a collar and a leash.
- Have a secondary evacuation location ready.
- Remain calm.
Here’s a closer look at each.
Tip #1 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Make a Plan
You’re already well on your way to keeping your dog safe during a hurricane by reading this guide – but take things a few steps further by writing down your plans. Know where you’ll go, what you need to pack, and create an emergency kit (see Tip #2) so you’re ready if an evacuation order comes down.
Tip #2 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Put Together a Pet Emergency Kit
You should have a pet emergency kit on standby – even when it’s not hurricane season – so that you’re ready for any type of disaster. Your pet emergency kit should include:
- Enough water for a week (for you and your pets)
- Nonperishable food, or food that you rotate in and out of your emergency kit periodically; don’t forget a can opener if you need one
- Food dishes and water bowls
- Two weeks’ worth of prescription medications
- A hard-sided dog kennel or carrier
- An extra leash and collar (with a tag)
- A pet first aid kit
- Medical records, including vaccine records
Tip #3 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Double-Check the Info on Your Dog’s Microchip
Call the company that registered your dog’s microchip (or visit its website) to make sure all your information is up-to-date. Your address and phone number must be current; that way, if your pooch makes a break for it, you can get her back safe and sound based on a microchip scan.
Tip #4 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Put a Pet Emergency Sticker on Your Door
Fill out a pet emergency rescue sticker and put it on your front door. Include the number of dogs you have, what colors your dogs are and their names so that if rescuers need to come to your home, they’ll know who to be on the lookout for.
Tip #5 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Find a Designated Caregiver
Find someone you trust to step in as caregiver if you’re not available to care for your dog. That may include sending this person to your home to pick up your pooch if you’re stuck at work and can’t get away – so it should be someone your dog already knows and feels comfortable with.
Tip #6 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Pay Attention to Evacuation Warnings
When an evacuation order comes down, don’t ignore it – you and your pet are at risk. You should evacuate according to local instructions.
Tip #7 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Know Where Pet-Friendly Emergency Shelters Are
It pays to know which hurricane shelters are pet-friendly before the storm hits; that way, you’re not scrambling for answers while you’re trying to get your pooch to safety.
The nearest pet-friendly shelter is located inside the West Boynton Recreational Center at 6000 Northtree Boulevard in Lake Worth. You may check your pet in at the recreational center, then go to Park Vista High School for your own shelter. People are not allowed to shelter at the Recreation Center or the high school with their pets. (You can get more information here.)
Tip #8 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Evacuate Your Dog in a Carrier
If your dog isn’t used to her carrier yet, now’s a great time to get her accustomed. It’s safer for your dog – and for you – to evacuate using a sturdy carrier that your pup can’t escape from.
Tip #9 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Have a Secondary Evacuation Location Ready
If the first evacuation location on your list is full or is otherwise unable to accept you and your pooch, you’ll need a backup plan – and that means finding a second evacuation location. You may choose to go to a neighboring county or move farther north; either way, it’s important that you have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong with your first one.
Tip #10 to Keep Your Dog Safe in a Hurricane: Remain Calm
Your dog picks up cues from you, so if you’re freaking out, he most likely will, too. It’s tough, but remaining calm can be the best thing you do for your dog (and yourself).
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