It’s hurricane season and now more than ever, we should be prepared for an emergency situation, should it become necessary. Especially hurricane prepared for our dog. While some of us may have already looked into getting prepared for unforeseen eventualities during the COVID-19 crisis, others might be reading this thinking: Yikes, I should do something….
The first big tropical storm already hit this season, and there is more to come – so be prepared!
Get your Easy Access Emergency Check List NOW! Sign up for the awesome freebie – a form to fill out and pass on to your dog sitters, emergency contacts, and to attach to the inside of your door.
Hurricane a coming, What now?
When you prepare for a hurricane, make sure you prepare for your dog as well. The minimal essentials are enough water (10 fl. oz per lb. weight per day!) for at least 10 days, enough food and your pet’s medication. Start from there and build up your emergency kit on this basis. You need to make sure your contact details on your dog’s microchip is up to date. I highly recommend you have an actual printed photo of your pet, in case you get separated and have no access to your phone’s photos, as well as a copy of your pet’s medical records.
In the following, you will find everything you need to know on:
- What are the most important essentials in a dog emergency kit?
- How much water does a dog need?
- What if I can’t take care of my dog in an emergency?
- It still looks nice outside; can I take my dog out for a walk even before the hurricane is really here?
- How do I entertain my dog during a hurricane?
- Calming down your dog
- What If I have to evacuate with my dog?
- Further Sources of Information.
What are the most important essentials in a dog emergency to-go kit?
When packing a dog emergency kit, I recommend to replicate whatever you would pack for yourself also for your dog. You want snacks, you want something to wear, a comfy pillow etc. For your dog that is: food and water for at least 2 days, a bed, crate or carrier. Don’t forget a leash and collar, even if your dog usually walks off leash. During an emergency is not the time to show off how great your puppy is. On the contrary, in hectic situations your dog is more likely to say bye-bye and take a hike far, far away. And we’re not talking about the Homeward bound movie here. So just don’t.
Have your pet’s favorite one or two toys and definitely medication. Period. Your to-go back is done.
How much water does a dog need?
In general, it is said that a dog needs about 1 fl. oz water per pound per day. So, if your dog weighs 50 lbs., you need to calculate 50 fl. oz per day for your dog. Preparing for a 10-day emergency situation, as FEMA recommends on its official government website, in which we may well assume there will be no running water or electricity, you need to set aside about 5.5 gallons just for your pet – a significant number and dangerous if you forget! Per person, the recommended amount of water to keep is 1 gallon a day. So, for 2 adults and a dog, as is the case for us, we will be just shy of 24 gallons that we will keep in our garage, or 4 packs of 6-gallon water bottles from Costco to translate into actual shopping numbers.
What if I can’t take care of my dog in an emergency?
There are many reasons why you might not be able to take care of your pet. If you are an essential worker at the hospital, for example. In this case, it is crucial that you have made arrangements with friends, family or even a neighbor. You must be able to rely on their commitment to taking care of your puppy no matter what. There’s nothing worse than having to make last minute arrangements in the hectic emergency preparation phase right before a hurricane.
Make a timely hand over of your pet, to avoid unnecessary stress for you and your dog. Animals are very perceptive to tension and stress situations and may react very sensitively.
So, let’s say you have a friend/ family member to take care of your dog, it is essential that they have access to your emergency kit and are just as prepared with water and food. Have an extra binder with all information about your dog. In distress, your dog could try to escape or run away. Make sure your dog will always be taken out on leash when in its safe haven.
It still looks nice outside; can I take my dog out for a walk even before the hurricane is really here?
Absolutely not. Once the hurricane warning is in effect, you should not leave the house under any circumstances. Even before the hurricane is actually here, heavy winds can tear down trees and branches or other debris could fly around. Instead, designate an area for your dog to pee with newspapers or potty pads.
Related to this: Do not be fooled by the calmness of the wind in the eye of the storm. You might even see a blue sky – this does not mean it is safe to go outside! The winds around the so-called eye of the storm are known to be the most destructive and you do not want to be caught in those.
How do I calm down my dog?
Try a licking matt. You spread peanut butter, yoghurt, unsweetened apple sauce or other liquids on it and the dog can lick them off. The licking motion sooths your puppy and calms it down. A fillable chewing toy like a “kong” will do the trick just as well.
Don’t forget, a favorite toy will always be a great comforter.
However, chances are that you will be nervous yourself. Our little furry buddies are so perceptive, they will pick up on this immediately and become uneasy as well. Here are my two other favorite tips in this case:
2. CBD Oil
You might have already tried this before. Dogs that get nervous during thunderstorms or fireworks often feel more comfortable and confident when wearing a tight cover around their upper body. Any pet supply store should have these in stock, however, before 4th July, New Year’s and…you guessed exactly right: Hurricane season, these usually sell out quickly, so be prepared and get one now.
Missy is usually very calm during storms but of course a hurricane is a totally different matter.
So off I went and got me some CBD oil, as Instagram has been full of “petfluencers” raving about it, I thought I had to try it myself before I poop all over it.
You can get CBD oil in form of tinctures or already baked into dog treats. Cannabidiol (short CBD), is made from the hemp plant and was only made legal in many states recently. Its effects are said to help with anxiety, pain, behavior and aggression and calms the dog down. However, please speak to your vet if you have further questions about CBD. I am no vet and can only report from my own experience and personal opinion.
Boy, was CBD oil a game changer! Though I was afraid it could knock her out, it was a very interesting experience. Missy’s behavior didn’t change at all, she was the same old dog, but she was just a lot more chill. Perfect! CBD oil is definitely in my Missy-Emergency-Kit now.
There are many places you can get CBD oil now. We got our CBD oil from BakedBones, an awesome small local business in Houston that supports local dog charities. If you use my code missy15, you get 15% off your online order now! (I may receive a small commission, if you use this code.)
Check out your local Dog Treat Bakery or natural pet store as well.
What If I have to evacuate with my dog?
Sometimes, if the hurricane is estimated to be especially severe, the local county might call out a mandatory evacuation. If this happens, it is almost too late to prepare for it because everyone else will do so too. You are recommended to leave immediately, once the evacuation rulings have been issues. So, you will need to make the decision whether you will evacuate in a case like that beforehand.
- Don’t try to evacuate in the next county over, make plans with someone further away. If this is not possible:
- Check for hotels that accept pets.
- Planning to go to a local shelter? Also, be aware that not all shelters will allow you to bring your dog.
Go to your county’s website to check for more information on this.
For further reading on this topic I highly recommend the following sources:
Stay safe my furry friends, be prepared and careful out there.
Good Luck, paws and kisses