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4 Tips for Preparing Your Pup for Severe Weather

By Paige Johnson
Sept 6, 2016, 13:36

thunder cloud
Image via Pixabay by tpsdave

During severe weather, you do everything you can to protect your home and family. For many people, that also includes protecting their dog. If you are a new dog owner, you may not have thought about the importance of preparing your pup for severe weather. Yet, preparing your dog for thunder, hurricanes, flooding, and other severe weather events is just as important as house training, leash training, and crate training. We share some of the most effective tips for preparing your new dog for severe weather here, so that you can be sure to protect your entire family when Mother Nature is at her worst.

1. Know where to take your pet after the disaster

Sometimes, preparing for the aftermath of the storm is the best way to get peace of mind in the event of a weather emergency. You may not be able to return to your home for a while or keep your pet in your home after a severe weather event occurs, so being as informed as possible is the first step toward preparing your pup for severe weather. Many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, and you may need to have an alternate plan in mind when the weather calms.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends several steps for pet owners to take to keep their pets safe in the aftermath of a disaster:

  • Keep your new dog's vaccinations current, because many pet shelters require proof of vaccines
  • Make sure your pet's carrier is large enough for him to stand and turn around, if he requires one
  • Find a place to take your pet during a disaster, such as a specialized pet shelter, animal control shelter, veterinary clinic, or friend or relative that is clear of the disaster
  • Know which hotels in your immediate area accept pets and what restrictions they have in place; also ask if they will waive a no-pet policy in the event of an emergency

2. Have the necessary supplies and information for your pet on hand

No matter where you plan to take your pet in the event of severe weather, you should have his supplies and information on hand at a moment's notice. The necessities include proper identification and immunization records, a current photo of you with your pet, plenty of food and water, medications, collar and leash, favorite toys or treats, and sanitation supplies for animal waste. Keep in mind that the best place to take your pet in an emergency is a friend or relative's home that is out of the emergency zone, but there may not be time to do so if you face a tornado or flash flood. Many evacuation shelters will not accept pets, and those that do often require a copy of your pet's vaccination record.

3. Consider a dog sitter outside of the severe weather zone

If you know that a severe weather event, such as a hurricane, is forecasted for your area, you may want to consider hiring a dog sitter outside of the warning area. You may have considered hiring a dog walker before, but you may not realize that dog sitters also are available for hire. These dog sitters are happy to be your dog's home away from home and will provide a safe, comfortable alternative to a kennel when you need to get your pet out of harm's way. Dog sitters provide loving care in their own homes and often are more affordable than a kennel.

4. Practice evacuation drills with your dog

Just as you practice family fire drills and severe weather drills with your children, you need to do the same with your dog. A severe weather event elevates stress and can make planning and preparing for an evacuation seem like an impossible task. By preparing your family and pets for a real evacuation, you will help everyone remain calm and know what to do when the time comes. Your pet should be accustomed to wearing a collar and leash with tags, entering and sitting in your family vehicle, and entering and traveling in a carrier if necessary.

New dog owners may not think about preparing their dogs for severe weather, but it is just as important to prepare four-legged family members for weather events as it is to prepare the rest of your family. Being proactive and having the necessary supplies and information to practice evacuations with are some of the best ways to prepare your pup for severe weather.


Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness "nerd." She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.

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