When Irma hit Florida in September, were you ready to keep your doggy safe? Even if you took every hurricane season dog safety precaution that was at your disposal, your dog was probably terrified. Only when we try to look at things from their perspective can we begin to understand what they might be going through:

The Diary of a Dog during a Hurricane

Day 1

Today the human has been talking into that flat rectangle for a long time. They look worried, speaking in short, clipped sounds—kind of like barks, but in human speak. Every time they stop talking into the black rectangle, they look at me and frowned.

“All of the shelters are full. I don’t know what to do with you,” they said.

I didn’t know what that meant, but the way their voice sounded, it didn’t sound good. Then they walked out the door and left. I hope they come back soon.

There’s something wrong with the air. It’s making me anxious and I can’t stop myself from barking and whining.

The human came back after what seemed like forever. They looked even more distressed, though they had some bags full of food. While they were gone, the wind outside got worse. The windows have been rattling so hard that it seems like they could break any second. Lots of water falling from the sky. I have to go to the bathroom.

Day 2

It was dark outside before. Now it’s dark inside. The light that usually shines from those balls has gone away. I’m with the human. I don’t know how much longer I can keep myself from going potty.

Usually when I bark, the human tells me to stop, sometimes harshly. The scary winds and weird feeling of the air in my ears and head frighten me, so I can’t really help myself. The human doesn’t get angry, though. Instead, they pet me and give me water or a treat. It helps, but I’m still frightened.

Day 3

I had to go potty. I know I’m not supposed to, but I went on the floor by the door. The human usually scolds me for that, but they didn’t this time. I think they know I’m frightened. I like the human more, now.

The winds outside have died down a little. The rain isn’t as bad. I think it’s getting brighter. The human seems to be a bit more relaxed.

I think it’s over. Whatever it was, I hope it never happens again.

Hurricane Season Dog Safety: Are You Ready to Go for a Ride?

Want to avoid stressing out your dog? One of the best ways to prepare for a hurricane is by having everything you need for your dog packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Especially if you are in an evacuation zone, being ready to leave with your doggy will make things less stressful for both of you.

Here’s what you should pack in your doggy disaster kit:

  • Five to seven days’ supply of fresh pet food and two weeks’ supply of any required medication in waterproof containers (rotate pet food and medication to keep them from expiring)
  • A can opener for canned food, if necessary
  • Seven days’ supply of bottled water
  • Shatterproof bowls for food and water
  • Collar or harness with identification tags
  • Leash
  • Crate/carrier
  • Copies of current medical and health records
  • A photo of you with your pet
  • A recent photo of your pet, in case you need to
  • make “Lost” posters
  • Toys and fresh treats
  • Towels
  • Liquid soap
  • First aid kit

Where Will Your Doggy Stay?

Another important thing to consider for hurricane season dog safety is where you will stay when you pack up and leave. If you will be staying with friends or family, make sure that they are fine with your dog coming, too. Many hotels do not allow pets, but there are a few places you can look to find ones that do.

For pet-friendly hotels, bookmark these sites:

  • http://hotels.petswelcome.com/
  • https://www.bringfido.com/lodging/
  • http://officialpethotels.com/

If you are unable to bring your doggy with you, be sure to check in early with your local pet shelter. Space is limited, so don’t procrastinate:

  • Southwestern Miami-Dade: the Sunshine Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition, 10901 SW 24th St., Miami
  • Northern Miami-Dade: Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High, 1410 NE 215th St., Aventura

For more hurricane season dog safety tips, download our hurricane guide at the bottom of our home page.