Keeping your pets safe during a hurricane

Keeping your pets safe during a hurricane

It’s hurricane season here in Florida and Hurricane Irma is bearing down on us in Central Florida.   We’ve got the house as prepared as it can be, so now it’s time to focus on our furry family members.  Here are some things to remember as you prep to keep them as safe as possible.

First things first, decide if you are going to stay and ride out the storm or if you are going to evacuate.     Do not leave your pets at home.  They cannot fend for themselves and can be badly injured if left loose during a storm.


If you are evacuating, decide WHERE you are going to go and make sure that your pets are welcome.

  • Put collars with a valid contact number on all pets.  Preferably use a number for someone out of the storm area who’ll be able to coordinate retrieving your pet if necessary.
  • Double check that any chip information is accurate with your vet/chip registry.
  • Put all your pet’s vet records and the vet name/address in a ziplock bag and pack it in a ‘go bag’ specifically for your pets.   This bag should contain food, water, bowls (water & food), treats, pet specific first aid kit (detailed below), a can opener if needed, favorite toys, all medications needed, all documentation, an extra leash/harness/collar and poo bags.  If you have cats, you’ll need kitty litter and a box.
  • Have all pet carriers out, already assembled and ready to be used.
  • Have current *printed* photos of your pet in case they become separated from you.
  • If you are going to be taking your pet to a boarding facility, write down any special care instructions or needs for your pet.


Staying Put

If you are sheltering in place, you need to do all of the above, just in case you have to evacuate or be rescued.  In addition, make the following preparations.

  • Stock up on plenty of non-perishable food.   If you feed your pet kibble, put it in a plastic container to keep moisture/water out.   If you feed your pet canned food, ensure that you have a manual, hand can opener if the power goes out.
  • When you are stocking up on water for your family, do not forget your pets.  They will need clean, fresh drinking water as well.
  • Double check that their collar is ON them.   I don’t keep a collar on one of my cats and I don’t keep one on my dog in the house.  They’ll both have collars on for the duration of the storm.
  • Consider putting your pets in their carriers during the height of the storm.   If you have cats, this will make it so they have a safe place to be AND can’t hide from you if you suddenly have to leave.
  • For your dogs, put sod in a plastic baby pool in the garage  or other indoor area.   They won’t be able to go out during the height of the storm and if you are in a flooded area, it may not be safe for them to go out immediately after the storm passes.    Do not let your dogs out into the yard, off leash, because they may spook and run away, including climbing your fence.
  • Make sure you have the info for any local shelters and what their pet policies are, in case you need to evacuate.
  • Assemble a pet specific first aid kit.  This should contain an emergency heat blanket, bandage rolls, gauze pads, bandage tape & scissors, antibiotic ointment, gloves, a pet specific thermometer, eye dropper, tweezers, styptic powder, antiseptic wipes and saline solution.   A first aid book would also be useful.   The one I have is titled “The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats”

Our pets are family members and any storm preparations need to take their needs into consideration as well.   If you have any other items to consider, feel free to add them in the comments and stay safe!!


Travels with my dog, Lily

Travels with my dog, Lily

I’ve recently returned from a 3 week road trip to visit family and friends in Virginia and Pennsylvania. I decided to drive because I was going to be gone so long and I wanted to take LilyPup with me. Traveling with a dog always involves extra planning and preparation to make it a successful trip.

We departed at 5:30 am on a Thursday morning. I’d packed up the car the night before so all I needed to do was walk Lily, give her some breakfast and grab the snacks for the cooler from the fridge. I was able to leave on time with a minimum of fuss 🙂

LilyPup & I ready to start our journey

LilyPup & I ready to start our journey

A few travel necessities


One thing you see in the above photo is Lily’s car seat. I have always used a small bucket type car seat for her, but with traveling over a thousand miles, I wanted something more protective for her.  This car seat is from a company called PupSaver, which I found after searching on Google far and wide for dog car seats. I really like this seat. It comes flat packed and has a cushioned bottom.   It is a rear facing car seat, much like an infant carrier. The back side of it has small air bladders that get blown up to provide the protection, if the car stops suddenly, she’ll be caught in the seat like a catcher’s mitt. It will also protect her in case the vehicle air bags deploy. There is an adjustable harness tether in the bottom center so she can stand up and move positions if she wants.

Pet Carrier

Because I traveled alone, I needed a soft sided carrier to use when I had to make restroom stops.   When picking a carrier, a few things should be considered: ease of access, shoulder or hand straps, and how easy it is to clean it.   The one I have for Lily has both a side entry and a top entry with double zippers.

Portable bowl/water dish

It’s important to make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water and food.   A collapsible water dish is easy to pack, takes up very little room and is easy to clean while on the road.   Lily is on a raw diet so for traveling, I switched her to the freeze dried formula of her normal food from Primal pet foods.  This makes it easy to travel with her food and keep her tummy happy.

Every time I made a stop, I offered Lily fresh water.  It’s really easy for pets to get dehydrated when you are driving long distances so it’s important to keep an eye on their water intake.    That is also the other benefit of rehydrating the freeze dried food – it ensures she gets additional fluid intake.


I also packed a bag for Lily’s bed and blankie, a few toys, some treats, extra poo bags, an extra collar and leash and of course, her sunglasses.  All in all, Lily is a great travel companion and the advanced preparation I did made the drive stress free and enjoyable.

LilyPup in her carseat

Lily chillin’ in her carseat

Hello :)

Hello :)

My name is Jill and welcome! I am the creative force behind Playful Paws Photography based in Celebration, Florida. I have been a part time pet photographer for the last 5 years and now I am breaking free of the corporate world to live my dream of full time photography.

I’ve introduced myself in the “about me” section of my website but I’d like to introduce myself a little more. I live in this gorgeous town in Central Florida, just a few miles from theme parks and more than a few miles from the coastal beaches. The love of my life is Brian and my heart dog is Lily, also known as LilyPup. We also have 2 cats, one just very mischievous (Maxwell) and one very disapproving (Toulouse).

As I start to populate this new blog, you’ll find photos from my business, my fur kids and probably my park adventures. I hope you’ll continue to visit!