Updated: Sep 30, 2022
We’ve all been there. It starts drizzling outside. Then the weather takes a sadistic turn and the sky opens up. Worse even, thunder starts to rumble and your delicate dog loses its mind. Barking. Hiding. Bathroom accidents. It’s all par for the course of the dreaded unexpected weather.
Can you prevent this? Perhaps through proper training, preparedness and knowing what their owners will do to make them feel safe, your dog won’t have a conniption fit.
But there are things that, while you can’t know all of the specifics, you can plan a course of action. While we have moved on from the rudimentary process of placing dots on a map to confusing spaghetti models -- that we’re still not sure anyone can understand -- all to track the ferocious weather patterns we call hurricanes.
You must have a game plan if and when a hurricane strikes. This goes even double when you have a four-legged friend depending on you. Let’s look at a few tips for making sure you’re ready to survive a hurricane with your dog.
Plan Your Trip in Advance of the Hurricane
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Just like every year in recent memory, NOAA’s 2022 forecast is predicting an above-average season. Whatever your evacuation plan with your pup is, you’ll want to plan this out as far in advance as possible.
While we’ll review specifics below, knowing what your routes are, having all of your supplies in a “bug out” bag and knowing the best options for your dog is a must.
Don’t wait until the last minute. While that may work for those among us who only are responsible for ourselves, conscientious dog owners must consider their canine cohorts.
Be Prepared to Evacuate Your Family and Dog
Especially in the Southern United States, people are ready to ride out storms. Particularly those smaller tropical storms and hurricanes.
Prepare a plan so you'll know what to do in case something bad happens! Make sure that plan includes the following:
Where you and your pets will go?
Where will go if you need to evacuate the location?
Where you will meet up if you need to evacuate?
What supplies should you have and where are they?
What should you do if the power goes out?
If you reside in a region where storm surge is a possibility, be ready to leave rather rapidly. Flooding caused by hurricane winds can block the planned routes for evacuation.
Give your neighbor your contact information. Make sure you have someone you can trust nearby, a friend or neighbor, who can temporarily take care of your pets if you’re not home during a mandated evacuation so you can meet up.
Have a conversation with them about this before an emergency happens, and prepare a few backup neighbors in case they are absent. Their information should be saved on your phone, but you should also carry a physical card with the information in case your phone breaks or disappears.
Allow ample time to pack and notify your loved ones that you will be leaving your house. Keep an eye out for warnings from neighborhood public safety officers regarding blocked roads and bridges.
The most crucial thing to remember is to keep your family, friends, pets and yourself safe!
Maybe this goes without saying, but don’t leave your dog at home alone during a hurricane. Sadly there are people out there who might need the reminder.
Don't take any chances and keep your cool. Family and friends ought to be aware of what to do and where to go. Additionally, you must designate someone to watch after your pups at all times. Don't assume someone is keeping an eye on them. If necessary, take turns protecting them, but most importantly, make sure that someone is present at all times.
Wherever you’ve evacuated, check ahead during the preparation phase and confirm that they allow dogs. If they don’t, you might want to consider looking for new accommodations or have someone else look after your dog in the interim.
Pro Tip: some hotels only have a set number of pet-friendly rooms. If you’ve planned for a handful of places to stay, then you've covered your bases before the game even starts.
Also, Bring Along Supplies For Your Dog During a Hurricane
While you can adjust to not having all the things you’re used to at home, your dog might require their literal creature comforts. In addition to your evacuation plan, have your pet disaster preparedness kit.
This kit should include (but is not limited to):
An animal carrier
First Aid equipment
Any and all sanitary supplies
Don’t forget the water! While three days' worth is a minimum, you could easily reserve as much as two weeks' supply.
Canine carriers are incredibly important when toting most dogs back and forth from the vet. When an emergency occurs, your dog's carrier becomes a necessity. They are in strange new places with many aggressively confused and disoriented people. The “dog” cave can substitute as their home away from home. Stability is key.
Post-Hurricane Planning with Your Pet
The rains and winds may have blown over powerlines, trees or any number of other things, the effects don’t just dissipate the next day. If a fireworks display or a thundershower will send them up the wall, chances are, being completely displaced will send them into a tizzy far worse.
Take stock of how your normally playful pal is coping with things. Are there changes in diet, behavior and physical well-being? No one knows your dog better than you do. Take stock and make sure that a trip to the vet isn’t in the cards.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends looking for the following warning signs after a traumatic weather event:
Wounds or other injuries
Pain, limping, or swelling
Changes in energy level
Changes in appetite
Coughing, sneezing, or discharge from the nose
Vomiting or diarrhea
Changes in social behavior
Some dogs are anxious. Others are alphas. Whatever the case, there are specific reasons that your dog barks out the window when the clouds start to rumble. This is first-person insight as to how they’re going to act if something more serious occurs.
With proper preparedness and using nonverbal communication between you and your dog, the way forward during a hurricane will be paved with good intentions and the best possible outcomes. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can handle today. You and your dog deserve it.
Maybe you’ve been glaring at the weather channel all day and dreaming of your perfect pooch? The silver lining to that cloud? Your dreams can easily come true by kicking off an application for one of our adorable Doodles today!
Jenna and the JLDD Team