When the heart of our city, Little Rock, AR, was impacted by a tornado in March 2023, we saw just how important it is to know what to do with your dog during a tornado. The team at Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa cares about pet safety both inside and outside our walls, so we’ve put together a guide for getting through Arkansas tornadoes with your pooch. 

In this blog, we’ll provide an answer to the question “Can dogs sense tornadoes?,” plus we’ll cover how we protect your pooch at Hounds Lounge and how you can keep your dog safe at home before, during and after a storm. Start reading now!

About Arkansas Tornadoes

Tornadoes can happen any time of year in Arkansas, but the two main tornado seasons are March to May and November to January. According to the National Weather Service:

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from violent thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Winds of a tornado may reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Flying debris, including uprooted trees, is another risk of tornadoes, as well as the dangerous aftermath of power outages, water contamination and debris on the ground.

You can keep yourself safe and know how to keep your dog safe during a tornado by staying alert to the news during bad weather. Keep an eye out for tornado watches and tornado warnings, and know their differences, defined by the National Weather Service:

Tornado Watch: A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. This is when you need to be prepared to take cover!

Tornado Warning: A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar and there is imminent danger to life and property. This is when you need to get in your safe shelter and prepare to be there for an indefinite amount of time.

Can Dogs Sense Tornadoes?

Can dogs sense tornadoes? In a nutshell: some can! Many dogs can use their senses and instincts to detect when the weather is off.

Dog safety tornado

Scientifically speaking, dogs are more sensitive than humans to changes in barometric pressure and shifts in the static electric field, changes which signal that a storm is coming. Dogs may also know about a storm before humans thanks to their much stronger sense of smell and hearing. According to Wag Walking, “[Dogs] can also sense the atmosphere’s heat, compression and temperature change – all of which tell a dog that there is something bad about to happen, like a tornado.”

If you’re looking at your own pooch and asking yourself “Can dogs sense tornadoes?,” just know that every woof is different. While some dogs might sense a storm brewing, others will be caught off guard. No matter what, it’s your job to provide safety and comfort to your pooch – and if your dog is at Hounds Lounge when bad weather strikes, it’s our job.

Dog in stormy Arkansas weather

Tornado Safety at Hounds Lounge

At Hounds Lounge, health and safety will always be a top priority. With that comes avid weather watching and preparation for tornado safety here in The Natural State. Our managers are constantly checking the weather. No one wants that fresh doggie-do to fro in rainy weather! 

We Administer Storm Anxiety Meds at No Charge

Let’s face it – some dogs have storm anxiety and need more attention and/or meds during windy, rainy weather. Bad weather day? Count on us here at the Lounge to ensure Fido is living his best life and not eating sheetrock alone at home. We will also administer those much-needed storm anxiety meds at no extra cost. Just bring the medicine in at drop-off, alert us that your woof has storm anxiety and provide the appropriate dosage. 

We Take Shelter

When a tornado warning siren starts going off, most of our furry guests want to sing the song of their people, but our dog-loving staff will promptly relocate all pooches safely into our dog boarding room. Dogs are placed in our luxury suites that are built with metal studs. The boarding room is the heart of each Hounds Lounge location and is the safest place in each facility. For any dog displaying anxiety, our staff will hold them with a blanket and/or administer pet parent-approved storm anxiety meds. 

Safe from a tornado at Hounds Lounge

We Make Sure Your Woof Can be Identified

If time allows during shelter-in-place, our staff will put all dog collars with I.D. tags back on our guests. In case the building should sustain damage and a dog gets out, we will also make every effort to give each woof a paper collar with their name and our business name written on it. These precautions could help get dogs back to their owners or back to a Hounds Lounge location quickly.

Planning Ahead for Your Dog’s Safety

At Hounds Lounge, we know what to do on bad weather days, and it’s important that you do too. Well before a tornado ever touches down, you should have a tornado safety plan in place – for both the humans and pets in your home. Below are a few steps you should follow on how to keep your dog safe during a tornado.

  1. Find a Safe Place in Your Home

Identify a safe place in your home to take shelter during a tornado. This should be a small interior room on the lowest level of your home with no windows. A closet, bathroom or hallway can work just fine. If you have a basement – even better!

Comfy dog during Arkansas storm
  1. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Put together an emergency kit for dogs, as well as the humans in your family. For the dogs, that kit should include:

    • Pet first aid kit
    • Bottled water
    • Dog food
    • Collapsible bowl(s)
    • Leash
    • Toys
    • Treats
    • Medications
    • A copy of your dog’s immunization record
    • Dog bed or blanket
    • Kennel
  1. Update Your Dog’s Tags and Get Them Microchipped

    If your dog gets outside during a tornado, you’ll want them to be identifiable! Make sure they are wearing their collar and have accurate tags.

    If there is anything that we have learned from the tornado that hit our city in March 2023, it is to microchip your pets! There were so many pets running the streets after being displaced and the majority of them did not have a microchip to reunite them with their owner. Microchipping is very affordable and will allow you both to be reunited quickly. 

    If your dog isn’t chipped and you fear they might lose their collar in a tornado, keep a permanent marker in your dog emergency kit. Use it to write your phone number and address on your dog’s inner leg or belly.

  2. Practice the Tornado Safety Plan

Due to Fido’s heightened senses and humans’ nervous demeanor during a storm, your dog is probably going to be on edge during a tornado. Therefurr, you can’t expect him to happily trot into shelter without a little practice. Rehearse holding up in your safe place every few months to get Fido used to the experience. Make sure every member of your family participates – kids, cats and adults alike – so there are no surprises when it’s the real deal.

What to do with Your Dog During a Tornado

When we addressed the question “Can dogs sense tornadoes?”, we found that many dogs can indeed sense bad weather. So, what do dogs do when they sense a tornado? They might try to seek shelter, hide under the bed or simply behave strangely or nervously. That behavior can include pacing, shaking, panting, whining and more.

If your dog starts acting weird, that may be a sign for you to start preparing for a storm.

Well before the situation becomes an emergency, bring your dog inside and put them in the safe place. You can also put your dog on a leash and keep them with you until you take shelter. Basically, you want your dog to be readily available to get into the safe place if they’re not already in it. If your dog emergency kit isn’t already stored in the safe place, grab it and have it ready to go.

Dog waiting out Arkansas tornado

It’s ideal that you do all this before or once a tornado watch is issued. Seasoned Arkansans can often tell when a storm is brewing, so don’t hesitate to take action before the news tells you to do so.

While it’s easy to get stressed when anticipating a tornado, try to avoid panicking. Dogs can sense your emotions, and, if you remain calm, that helps them stay calm too.

After the Tornado

After a tornado has passed, there are still safety measures to take. Furrst things furrst, check yourself, your family and your dog for injuries. Provide first aid if necessary.

Dog safety after a tornado in Arkansas

Next, check your home for damage and hazards. Be careful getting outside – you never know what might have blown into your yard. There could even be downed power lines, dangerous chemicals or shards of glass outside your front door, so act with caution.

Until it’s safe for them to roam freely, keep your dog on a leash or in their kennel. The last thing you want is for Fido to run away into any wreckage.

After a traumatic event like a tornado, your dog might act a bit out of character. They might be more skittish or aggressive than usual. Remember to remain calm and be gentle and comforting toward your dog. Together, you can get through any ordeal!

Safety Furrst

Whether it’s your dog or your weatherman who gives you a heads-up about a tornado, you need to get prepared as soon as pawsible. Get your tornado safety plan in order now, and start practicing it with your pooch regularly. We hope a tornado never comes your way, but if it does, remember to stay calm and stick to the plan.

Safety furrst at Hounds Lounge

Hounds Lounge is locally owned by Arkansans, so we’ve learned from experience what to do with your dog during a tornado. Please reach out to us with any furrther questions. And if your dog is with us during a storm, know that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe. We love your fur babies and treat them like our own in any situation.

Grrrooming at hounds lounge

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