Animal Care – Emergency Planning
Are you and your pets prepared for emergencies? Bushfires, floods and extreme weather conditions can take you by surprise. It’s critical to ensure your emergency plan takes into account the needs of your animals. The RSPCA is an excellent source of information. Support and suggestions are now available, see the information below, and decide what needs doing to protect your pets in the event of an emergency. Once your emergency pet care plan is in place, a practise run is recommended.
If your pet has been microchipped, ensure that the contact details reflect your current situation. Phone numbers and address should be updated if you moved house since your pet was microchipped. If you haven’t already, consider giving your pet a microchip: it’s vital if you ever need to reunite with a lost pet.
Identification Clear identification tags with your mobile number and your pet’s name are vital at all times, but particularly during emergency situations. Your pet may get lost or hide due to stress. A tag showing important details will make your pet easier to find and identify.
Ensure your pet’s flea and worming treatments are up to date. You could opt to add your pet’s usual treatments and extra medication to your first aid kit.
Temporary accommodation and relocation
Consider housing your pet at an alternative location. This is advised during hot months in bushfire-prone areas or in riverside areas when flood warnings are issued. Remember that many animal shelters and pet-boarding are at their full capacity during holiday times, and you may need to rely on a friend, pet-sitter, or a house-sitter cum pet caregiver in a low-risk area where the threat of emergency is limited. For larger animals during high-risk seasons, such as horses and alpacas, it is advisable to house them on agistment.
Identify a reliable friend or neighbour who is prepared to conduct your evacuation plan in your absence. They would need to be trustworthy enough to work with animals and plan out the evacuation of your pets.
If a sudden emergency means you were unable to provide temporary accommodation for your animals elsewhere, you will need to transport them safely with you. Check that your cages and capsules for animal transport are in good condition. Horse floats should be secured to your vehicle and thoroughly checked.
Consider the safest travel routes as part of your evacuation plan. Tune in to local or public radio for the latest bulletins on any road blocks.
Assembling a pet emergency kit What is in your pet’s “go-bag”? Ensure their emergency kit is fully stocked: refer to our emergency check-list to remain prepared. If emergency services have advised against leaving the houses, ensure your pet is kept inside with you, and have their emergency kit on stand-by. Preparing livestock and horses If you are unable to evacuate livestock and horses, ensure they have a safe temporary location which has access to food and water. Ensure the area is “fire-wise” by removing excess combustible vegetation, and other flammable objects like horse rugs.