by: Lauren R. Tharp
Summer is here! Unfortunately, that means that Hurricane Season is here as well. From early June through November, you’ll need to be prepared—not just for your own safety, but for that of your dog!
The Importance of Being Prepared
We cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared for disaster ahead of time. Some items to keep on hand are:
- Your dog’s medical records. Pet shelters, if you end up needing one, will require proof of vaccination. Tip: Pet shelters fill up very quickly during disaster situations. Call in ahead of time!
- A leash and a collar with identification tags (and Rabies tags, if possible). You might also consider getting a muzzle. Your doggie pal may be the most gentle animal on this earth, but, in the face of a hurricane, his nature may change. Animals experiencing extreme fear have been known to act out of character.
- Your dog’s crate, if you own one (for easier travel). If you don’t have one, now is the time to go shopping – check Goodwill or even a garage sale, just be sure to wash with hot, soapy water!
- A current photograph of your dog. If possible, scan it in and save a copy onto two separate flash drives—save one for yourself and send one to a trusted friend or relative.
- Food and water. You probably already have some “emergency kit” food and water set aside for yourself—Do the same for your dog!
- A WRITTEN COPY OF YOUR EVACUATION PLAN. Yes, you’ve got a plan; however, if disaster strikes, you may be too panicked to remember it! Write it all down and keep it with the rest of your evacuation items. And don’t forget to include your pooch in on the plan: Take note of the names of pet shelters, local vets, and any other potential doggie sanctuaries in your area.
Tip: Keep all paperwork in waterproof containers
After the Storm
Depending on how hard your area is hit by the storm, things in and around your house may change severely. Dogs are creatures of habit and this can be just as frightening for them as the hurricane itself! Stay calm and walk your doggie on his leash and reintroduce him to his home and neighborhood. Over the next few days, monitor his behavior closely until you’re sure he’s “cool” with everything. And, good luck!