by Paige Johnson, blogger
If you live in a region with notoriously extreme summer and winter weather conditions, you’ve probably established how you, your spouse, and your children will stay safe. But what about Fido? It’s easy to overlook special considerations you’ll need to take to protect your dog, but planning ahead is crucial not only for his safety, but also to ensure your own; after all, if you’re scrambling last minute to dig out his carrier so you can evacuate, you’re losing precious moments of time. Here are a few tips for keeping your dog safe in the event of inclement weather.
Create a pet disaster safety kit
Yes, your dog needs his own disaster kit! Keep it stocked with several days’ worth of food and clean water — if you’re stuck inside during an intense blizzard or hurricane, you don’t want to worry about running out of your main supply, nor do you want to have to rush to ration some out while you’re attempting to evacuate. You’ll also want to include:
- Extra leashes and collars/harnesses
- Disposable bags for potty clean-up
- Familiar toys, blankets, and/or bedding to give him a source of comfort amid the chaos
- Copies of recent medical records (you may need these to stay in a pet-friendly hotel or shelter)
- For smaller dogs, a crate with some sort of ID tag including his name, photo, and your contact information
- Photos to prove ownership in the event he gets lost
Keep in mind that any records or photos you normally access through your phone or tablet may not be accessible during an emergency that’s knocked out power, so having hard copies is essential.
Establish where he’ll go in the event of an evacuation
Check with local shelters to find out if they’re pet-friendly and what requirements they may have. If you can’t find any options nearby, talk to friends and neighbors about potentially taking your dog into their care should the need arise. You may even want to reach out to a local dog sitter to discuss looking after your pooch in the event of a weather emergency — finding one now can make the process easier when disaster strikes, plus you’ll have an idea of what the costs will be ahead of time and can budget accordingly.
Create a safe space within your safe space
If your region is prone to hurricanes, blizzards, or tornadoes, you should have a specific room or space in your home designated as your “safe shelter” to stay in when disaster strikes. Figure out how Fido will stay safe in that space: Will you anchor his crate with heavy furniture or books to keep it in place? Is there a spot to tether his leash so he can’t attempt to flee after a big clap of thunder? Does he have some sort of potty pad or extra newspaper to relieve himself in case a blizzard’s freezing temperatures keep you inside for days at a time?
Look for hiding spots
Dogs have a funny way of knowing when bad weather is on the horizon, and some will hide before it even strikes. If you know exactly where to look, you can cut your search time considerably as you make preparations to either evacuate or head to your safe shelter. Make sure your entire family knows his hiding places, as well. And don’t forget to secure hiding spots in the safe shelter, itself — if there’s a tiny little nook where he could barricade himself during a hurricane, it’s better to know now so you can block it off when the storm arrives.
Planning ahead is your best tool when it comes to disaster safety, so don’t forget to plan for your canine companion in addition to your home and family!