Traveling with ESAs & Pets During a Virginia Hurricane {Must Read}

Reading Time: 5 minutes

bridge broken by hurricane in virginiaDon’t be caught unprepared when a Virginia hurricane strikes. At a time like this, it is likely that you will need your emotional support animal (ESA) to stay right by your side. Know what to do and where you can go if you need to evacuate and travel with your ESA during a Virginia hurricane.


Mandatory Evacuation Virginia: ESA Protocol for When You’re in an Evacuation Zone

Coastal Virginia is most vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes. Familiarize yourself with the different evacuation zones and which one you fall into. If you are in an evacuation zone, it is very important to prepare for a storm in advance.

During a storm, keep an eye on the National Weather Service for advice and warnings. If you are evacuating with a pet, it is especially important to know what to do in the case of a disaster and what to have prepared before the time.

Over and above all the items that you require for your own well-being, the following is applicable if you have an ESA or pets.

  • The most important thing that you can do to keep your pet safe in the event of a Virginia hurricane, is to keep your pet with you. If you leave the house to stock up on emergency rations, take your furry friend with you. Disaster might strike earlier than expected and you could be unable to return home and be reunited with your pet.
  • Keep your pet indoors with you, and preferably in the same room. This can reassure them that they are safe and cared for.
  • Make sure that your pet is micro-chipped, or at the very least has an up-to-date ID tag firmly affixed to their collar. If not, write your name and contact number (a cell phone number as landlines may be down during and after a severe storm) on a key tag and attach it to your dog’s collar.

evacuation zone mandatory evacuation sign hurricane virginia

How to Get an ESA Letter to Make Traveling with Your Furkid Easier!

The last thing that you want is to have to fly out to safety and not be able to take your ESA with you. Be prepared by having an ESA letter so that you can travel with your furry friend without any hassles. An ESA letter needs to be issued by a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP). The letter states that you have a need for an ESA. Do not fall for scams!

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Before the Hurricane Strikes: CertaPet’s Simple 5 Minute Process

In just a few minutes, you can know whether you are eligible for an ESA. The Certapet process is simple and easy. Once you have completed the free 5-minute pre-screening, Certapet will put you in touch with an LMHP. Your ESA letter could be on its way to you within 48hrs!

ESAs are not covered by the same laws as service animals such as police dogs and guide dogs. Yet, most establishments and organizations might be accommodating in a time of crisis such as a hurricane.

Familiarize yourself with which airline carriers allow ESAs on board and what you need to be able to travel safely with your ESA. Airlines have been updating their ESA policy, so be sure you know what requirements each airline has for allowing ESAs on their flights!

Know Your Rights! The 2 Vital Emotional Support Animal Laws

The Air Carrier Access Act states that anyone with an ESA letter from a mental health professional is allowed to travel with the animal (mostly dogs and cats) without paying an additional fee. Most airlines will require notice of at least 48 hours prior to boarding. If you need to flee from a hurricane-stricken area with your ESA, please be sure to contact the airport to arrange your flights in good time.

The 2nd law that affects owners of an ESA is the Fair Housing Act. This law states that a landlord can’t discriminate against someone with a disability, and must provide reasonable accommodation for someone who needs an ESA. If during a hurricane, you are suddenly required to seek alternative accommodation, you will not be prevented from taking your ESA with you.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal with You During Scary Times

We all know that ESAs or pets, especially dogs, can be a great comfort to us during stressful times. Dogs can ease stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression.

The Calming Comfort of an ESA

There are many ways in which an ESA can bring comfort and lower stress levels. Dogs fulfill the basic human need for touch. Stroking, touching or hugging an animal can quickly calm an anxious person.

In the event of a crisis, having another being to be responsible for can distract you from your own stresses.

Pets, and especially dogs, can sense when a loved one is stressed, anxious or sad. There is nothing quite like the nose nudges from your furry friend or a head in your lap to let you know that everything is going to be ok.

dog in car ready for hurricane season virginia

Hurricane Season Virginia: Know Your Hurricane Categories!

When do you really need to start worrying? At what point do you need to evacuate? Hurricanes are rated according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS). They are rated according to sustained wind speed.

A storm achieving sustained winds of 74 – 95 mph will have a rating of 1. This indicates very dangerous strong winds that will likely produce some damage.

On the other end of the scale, a category 5 hurricane has wind speeds of 157 mph or higher. Catastrophic damage will occur, with extended power outages and most of the area can be uninhabitable for months.

Storms 101: Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones!

Let’s get technical! What is the difference between a tropical storm, a cyclone, and a hurricane? Well, the only difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone is the place where the storm occurs. They are the same thing, named differently according to where they take place.

The term hurricane is used for a storm that occurs in the Atlantic ocean and Northeast Pacific. These storms are likely to affect states on the East coast of the US. Storms occurring in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans are called Cyclones. Typhoons refer to these weather disturbances in the Northwest Pacific.

Tropical cyclone vs regular cyclone? What is the difference? The term tropical cyclone is used to describe a “rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters”. A tropical cyclone has closed, low-level circulation. Once wind speeds exceed 74 miles per hour, the tropical cyclone is categorized as a typhoon, cyclone or hurricane, depending on its origin.

Be Prepared! NHC and NOAA: Hurricane Tracking Made Easy!

During a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) send regular, hourly, updates on the storm and when and where it will hit.

Don’t wait until it is too late. Evacuate sooner rather than later, so that you don’t need to panic and so that you can calmly take your ESA with you wherever you go.

When is Hurricane Season in Virginia?

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from the 1st of June to the 30th of November. Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters before moving over land.

You can expect powerful high winds, heavy rain, rip currents, tornadoes, landslides, flash flooding, and coastal and inland flooding.

4 of the Worst Hurricanes that Hit the U.S. in Recent Years!

The last few years saw a particularly bad spate of storms. in 2017, Hurricane Harvey, the 2nd most costly hurricane since 1900, started off the year with hurricanes Irma and Maria following a month later. Damages tally in the billions of dollars.

Hurricane Florence Virginia

Tropical storm Florence hit the Virginia coast in September 2018. Even though damage was not as severe as expected, the storm could cost Virginia state up to $ 75 million in storm preparations.

Hurricane Irma Virginia

Hurricane Irma was a category 5, major hurricane. It is one of the worst storms to have hit the US in recent history. So much so, that the name Irma will never be used to name a hurricane again.

Hurricane Maria Virginia

In 2017, Hurricane Maria caused 91.6 billion dollars’ worth of damage and claimed 3000 lives. It was the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.

Hurricane Harvey Virginia

Tied with the 2005 hurricane Katrina, 2017s hurricane Harvey is the costliest hurricane to date. Damages tallied up to $ 125 billion. Hurricane Harvey was a category 4 hurricane, the first category 3 or higher since hurricane Wilma in 2005.

emotional support dog sad for virginia evacuation hurricane

Have Your Dog Emergency Kit Ready for When Those Gulf Winds Pick Up!

Hurricane preparedness is key! When the news hits and a Virginia hurricane is on its way, you want to be able to respond quickly. Having your emergency dog kit ready means that you can get going as soon as possible.

9 Things to Have in Your Pet’s Kit

1. Harnesses, leads, and collars, especially if your doggo is not in a crate.

2. Food (at least a week’s supply), water, bowls, treats.

3. Bed, blankets, and toys.

4. Vaccination records, your veterinarian’s contact details, and pet insurance information.

5. Chronic medication and supplies for wounds or injuries that might be sustained during the storm. You might want to pack in some calming supplements!

6. A photo of you and your canine BFF so that others could assist in reuniting you should you get separated.

7. A list (with contact details) of pet-friendly storm shelters, hotels, and friends that you can stay with. It could be some time before everything is functional back home.

8. Litter box (for your cat or bird).

9. CBD Oil or CBD dog treats to help keep your ESA calm!

Honest Paws CBD Oil For Dogs
Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs features 100% Full Spectrum CBD Oil, straight from the sun-grown Colorado hemp farms. Available in 125, 250 and 500 mg potency solutions.
Rated 5.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on

Make Sure Your Pets Have Clear Identification!

This is possibly the most important piece of advice to follow. Make sure that you can be reunited with your pet should you lose each other during the storm. The best way to identify your pet is with a microchip. This cannot fall off and become lost.

If you don’t have time to have your pet microchipped, make sure that they have an ID tag securely attached to their collar. Make sure that it is something that won’t loosen or tear off easily. You could quickly make one from a key card. Make sure to include your mobile phone number on the ID tag.

Stay Safe and Do NOT Leave Your Pet/ESA Behind!

If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pet. Take your ESA with you when you evacuate from a Virginia hurricane. If you are well prepared with an ESA letter, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot take your beloved pup with you no matter where you go and how you get there.

emotional support animal left behind during virginia hurricane season

Traveling with ESAs During a Virginia Hurricane: How to Get Connected with a LMHP in Your State Today!

The easiest way to get in touch with a LMHP is to take the Certapet 5-minute, pre-screening questionnaire. If your answers indicate that you are eligible for an ESA, you can be connected with an LMHP via video call.

Certapet is affiliated with the best LMHPs who practice in Virginia. They have comprehensive knowledge about ESAs and will be able to get your ESA letter to you in good time.

Common Questions About Traveling with an ESA During a Virginia Hurricane

How Do I Keep My ESA Safe During a Virginia Hurricane?

Where Can I Go with My ESA When Evacuating a Virginia Hurricane?

What Can I Do to be Prepared for a Virginia Hurricane with My ESA?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.