How to Keep Dogs Safe During Extreme Weather

Remember the three tornadoes...
(Courtesy photo)

A couple of months ago, a sunny day on the Cape quickly took a turn for the worse as an unexpected and uncommon tornado swept through the area. With trees down, roofs damaged and several homes and businesses without power, many residents and vacationers were unprepared for such dangerous weather. 

Between the NOAA predicting an above normal hurricane season through the end of the fall and the tornado we have already experienced, Cape Codders and visitors need to keep safety top of mind - for themselves, their families and their pets.  

According to a recent survey conducted by SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, 98% of dog owners consider their pets to be members of the family. Given this overwhelmingly close bond, it’s important to keep our pups close to us during potentially unsafe times and to know what to do in the event of inclement or extreme weather when animals can be most vulnerable.

The threat of dangerous weather is already scary enough without having to worry about a lost or stressed pet, and now is the time to prepare before another storm hits. Here are four tips to make your dog’s safety a priority when severe weather hits Cape Cod:

  • Know your dog. The better you know your dog and his or her behavior patterns, the easier you can anticipate how they might react in tough or stressful situations. As a dog owner, knowledge is power, and the more you know about your dog and his or her personality, the more confident you will feel in your ability to prepare and keep them safe. Noticing patterns with how your dog perceives loud noises, darkness, water or other potential stresses that may occur during inclement weather is the key to being prepared. And, be aware of their history — dogs that have experienced a difficult upbringing may react poorly to loud noises or darkness whereas a dog that has had steady training will be more likely to remain calm.  When dog owners have this insight, they are better equipped to make informed decisions about their dog’s safety.  
  • Invest in a reliable technology. The advent of technology has made it easier to monitor and track our pets, giving us peace of mind in dangerous or stressful situations. If you know a storm is going to hit, try having your dog wear a GPS collar in addition to his or her dog tags. Collars like the SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence are especially useful during inclement weather and allow dog owners to easily and quickly locate their furry friend through an app and receive turn-by-turn directions to their location, should they slip away. 
  • If your community offers safety profiles, list that you have a pet. Over the past few years, more and more communities have started incorporating safety profiles into their 911 systems. There are many applications, like Smart911, that allow users to build out safety profiles that provide critical information such as medical conditions, a home address, names of family members and whether or not you have a pet. In the event of an evacuation or other emergencies, first responders can then see that you have a pet, know to look for them and to bring the appropriate supplies to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.
  • Prepare for the worst. Similar to children, dogs need to be comforted and reassured during potentially scary situations. Just like a parent would, dog owners should be there to provide support and comfort to their dog. Whenever possible, establish a routine, and keep extra dog food in the house as well as water and blankets to ensure that your little buddy has enough supplies to last a few days of no heat or power. Should you need to evacuate your home, try to grab their favorite toy to keep them happy and calm.

Being proactive and making your dog’s safety a priority will help reduce your dog’s anxiety, avoid potentially dangerous situations and improve your confidence when a storm hits. Unexpected situations can occur such as evacuating your home, losing power or having your dog run away — but being prepared for these tough situations can cut down on the risk for both you and your beloved canine. 


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