What you need to know to prepare your pets for a disaster

  • Check with animal refuges, animal boarding facilities and vets  on whether they can provide accommodation for your pets in the event of an evacuation.
  • Contact hotels and motels outside of the threat area and check on their policies for accepting pets and any restrictions on size, species etc. Ask if pet policies can or will be waived during disaster events.
  • Make arrangements to board your pets at an animal boarding facility for the duration of the event.
  • Check with vets, RSPCA, animal welfare groups and Council to identify if any Emergency Pet Shelters are to be established during disaster events. Add the contact details to your emergency contact list.
  • Ask friends or relatives outside of the affected area to house and care for your pets. Preferably this should be the place that you have self evacuated your family to.
  • Buy a pet carrier that allows your pet to stand up and move around. Make sure your pet is comfortable with the carrier by training them to enter and spend time in it.

If you don’t have a pet carrier

  • If you do not have a pet carrier small to medium animals can be carried in their cages, pillowcases or in secure boxes with air holes.
  • Check with your local pet store for a small tank to transport your fish in with attached battery operated aerator. A battery operated aerator, and bucket, of the type used by fisherman to keep live bait alive will also be adequate. If you have no other option put your fish into a large wide necked jar, two-thirds filled, with a secure lid and aerate by gently blowing through a straw. Remove the lid when stationary to allow for some air saturation.
  • Frogs need a small covered container with 2.5cm of water in the bottom and air holes in the top.
  • Snakes and lizards need to be put in a container with a secure lid and air holes, or a sack/pillowcase.

Before an event

  • If your pet is on medication ensure you have an adequate supply to cover a disaster event.
  • Have your pet wear an identification tag listing your name, address and telephone number.
  • If your pet normally wears a choker collar have a separate leather or nylon collar available for wear during disaster events. This is to ensure no injury is caused to your pet during stressful conditions.
  • Keep your pet’s immunisation shots up to date and have all records available to take with you if you have to evacuate. Boarding facilities, Emergency Animal Shelters, etc will not take pets without records of immunisations. In your family emergency kit have extra supplies of dry pet food, kitty litter, food and water feeders/containers and extra mediation.
  • Consider a muzzle for your dog, as the stress of disaster events will affect animals as well leading to normally placid animals becoming aggressive.
  • Have recent photos of pets available to help with identification in the event you become separated from them.

Leaving your pets behind

If you have to leave pets behind when you evacuate consider the following:

  • Place each pet in a separate room. Even pets that normally get on well together may become aggressive towards each other under the stress. Do not tie them up.
  • Leave their normal bedding with them as well as any favourite toys to help control any anxiety being felt by your pets.
  • Small rooms, without windows, which are easy to clean such as toilets and bathrooms, are most appropriate.
  • If there is a threat of flooding or storm surge leave chairs, tables, benches etc which will allow your pet to gain height.
  • Leave two or three days of dry food in a large heavy container that is difficult to knock over.
  • Leave water in a sturdy container that is difficult to knock over. A tap left slowly dripping can replenish water supplies in a container and large dogs may be able to drink from a partially filled bathtub.
  • Birds must eat daily to survive. Check with your vet on suitable food dispensers that regulate supply.
  • Leave a notice on the outside and inside of your door advising emergency services personnel of which animals they are likely to encounter and in which rooms. Also leave the details of where you can be contacted.

After an event

  • After the event, if you cannot return to your home, contact Council to find out if arrangements have been made to reunite pets with owners.
  • If you have to leave the area after a disaster event take your pets with you, as they cannot survive without you.
  • Keep them leashed and in close contact with you for a period after the event until they settle into their new surroundings and routine.
  • The behaviour of pets can change remarkably after a disaster event. Be alert to changes and seek advice from the vet as necessary.

Visit the Get Ready Queensland website for your pet emergency plan checklist.

Preparing your pets

Making a plan for your pets is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:

For more information about your specific pet please refer to the following information:

Pets in Disasters – Dogs

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your dog – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your dog – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your dog need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.

Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

SAFE PLACES

Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your dog (or just your dog) could go to.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your dog in the past) if they will care for your dog for any length of time, in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your dog. This means they can at least feed and attend to your dog in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your dog.

Safe Shelter

Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your dog (kennel, motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits. Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.

GIVE IT A GO

To ensure your family and dog can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family unit into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.

Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation, your dog will get use to entering their cage / carrier and travelling calmly.

Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least three days of non-perishable dog food (canned or dried) in an airtight, waterproof container. Remember the can opener! Ideally, this should be the same food that you normally feed your dog so as to avoid stomach upsets.
WaterStore at least three days of water for your dog, in addition to the water you need for your family (remember – a dog can drink more water than usual when under stress). Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your dog.
MedicationStore an extra supply of medication your dog needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary needs or supplements.
Vet RecordsStore copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your dog or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitMake up a first aid kit or add to your household’s first aid kit. Talk to your vet about any specific requirements such as tick/flea prevention, antibiotic ointment and saline solution (i.e. eye wash solution separate from your family use).
Blanket / BeddingFamiliar items, like a favourite blanket or toys, can help reduce stress for your dog.
SanitationInclude “poo” bags. Other useful items are newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags and household bleach.

Identification

Collar with registration tagEnsure your dog is registered and wears its current registration tag. You could also consider adding an ID disc to your dog’s collar that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back up collar and tag in your dog’s disaster survival kit.
Microchip detailsMake sure your dog is microchipped and a copy of the microchip registration form is in your disaster survival kit. If your dog gets lost, this is their easiest ticket home! Ensure your microchip database records include the contact details of your ‘next of kin’ (i.e. a close relative or friend outside of your household), in case you have to be evacuated and the mobile phone network is down. Remember to regularly check your details on the microchip databases to make sure they are all up to date.
PhotographStore a current photograph of your dog in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, age, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your dog together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back upAs a back-up, save microchip details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your dog.

Equipment

Sturdy Lead / Harness / MuzzleAny sturdy kind of equipment that you think will help control your dog, particularly in a stressful situation, and to which you can add further identification. It should be strong and reliable as your dog may panic and try to escape. Even if your dog is friendly, emergency personnel may refuse to handle them unless they are muzzled.
Cages or CarrierThese will help to transport your dog safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.

A cage/carrier should be large enough for your dog to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your dog may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time, so include bedding and any favourite toy to reduce stress levels.

Pets in Disasters – Cats

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your cat – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your cat – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your cat need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.

Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

SAFE PLACES

Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your cat (or just your cat) could go to.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your cat in the past) if they will care for your cat for any length of time in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your cat. This means they can at least feed and attend to your cat in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your cat.

Safe Shelter

Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your cat (cattery, motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits. Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.

GIVE IT A GO

To ensure your family and cat can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.

Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation, your cat will get used to entering their cage/carrier and travelling calmly.

Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least three days of non-perishable cat food (canned or dried) in an airtight, waterproof container. Remember the can opener! Ideally, this should be the same food that you normally feed your cat so as to avoid stomach upsets.
WaterStore at least three days of water for your cat, in addition to the water you need for your family (remember – a cat can drink more water than usual when under stress). Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your cat.
MedicationStore an extra supply of medication your cat needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary needs or supplements.
Vet RecordsStore copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your cat or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitMake up a first aid kit or add to your household’s first aid kit. Talk to your vet about any specific requirements such as tick/flea prevention, antibiotic ointment and saline solution (i.e. eye wash solution separate from your family use).
Blanket / BeddingFamiliar items, like a favourite blanket or toys, or even a pillowcase they can bury into, can help reduce stress for your cat.
SanitationInclude any cat litter and litter box device. Other useful items are newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags and household bleach.

Identification

Collar with registration tagYou could also consider adding an ID disc to your cat’s collar that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back up collar and tag in your cat’s disaster survival kit.
Microchip detailsMake sure your cat is microchipped and a copy of the microchip registration form is in your disaster survival kit. If your cat gets lost, this is their easiest ticket home! Ensure your microchip database records include the contact details of your ‘next of kin’ (i.e. a close relative or friend outside of your household), in case you have to be evacuated and the mobile phone network is down. Remember to regularly check your details on the microchip databases to make sure they are all up to date.
PhotographStore a current photograph of your cat in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, age, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your cat together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back upAs a back-up, save microchip details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your cat.

Equipment

Cages or CarrierThis is to transport your cat safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.

A cage/carrier should be large enough for your cat to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your cat may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time, so include bedding and any favourite toy to reduce stress levels.

Pets in Disasters – Birds

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your bird – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your bird – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your bird need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.

Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

SAFE PLACES

Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your bird (or just your bird) could go to.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your bird in the past) if they will care for your bird for any length of time, in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your bird. This means they can at least feed and attend to your bird in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your bird.

Safe Shelter

Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your bird (motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits. Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.

GIVE IT A GO

To ensure your family and bird can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family unit into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.

Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation your bird will get use to entering and travelling calmly in their cage/carrier.

Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least five days of non-perishable bird food in an airtight, waterproof container. Unlike other animals, birds must eat everyday.
WaterStore at least three days of water for your bird, in addition to the water you need for your family. Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your bird.
MedicationStore an extra supply of medication your bird needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary needs or supplements.
Vet RecordsStore copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your bird or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitStore any extra first aid items and talk to your vet about any other requirements.
BeddingA cover to put over the cage or toys inside the cage can help to reduce stress for your bird.
SanitationInclude any useful items like newspapers and paper towels to clean out the cage.

Identification

PhotographStore a current photograph of your bird in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your bird together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back upAs a back-up, save identification details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your bird.

Equipment

GlovesAny sturdy kind of equipment that you think will help handle and control your bird, particularly in a stressful situation. Think strong and reliable as your bird may panic and try to escape by scratching and biting.
Cages or CarrierThis is to transport your bird safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.

A cage/carrier should be large enough for your bird to move around comfortably, perch and stretch. Your pet may have to stay in the cage/carrier for days so include any favourite toys to reduce stress levels.

Make sure your bird’s cage/carrier includes a tag that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back-up tag in your bird’s disaster survival kit.

 

Pets in Disasters – Fish

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your fish – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your fish – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your fish need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour. Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

AQUARIUM SAFETY

In case of an emergency that involves an aquarium remember that water and electricity do not mix. Always unplug all aquarium items such as heaters, filters and lights before allowing yourself or others to come into contact with the water. In cases where the glass is or may be damaged use extreme caution when moving or working on or around aquaria as broken glass is a major hazard.

It is strongly advisable to have an electrical safety device fitted permanently to an aquarium. They are cheaply and readily available from hardware stores and may just save a life in an emergency and will prevent damage to life support systems such as heaters and filters in the event of tank breakage.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your fish in the past) if they will care for your fish for any length of time, in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your fish. This means they can at least feed and attend to your fish in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your fish.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodHealthy fish will be fine without food for up to two weeks and in any case stressed fish are unlikely to eat, and so any food added will only pollute the aquarium or holding tank. Keep a good forward supply of fish food on hand but only because obtaining of supplies may be disrupted.
WaterMake sure you have a supply of water on hand for conducting aquarium top ups and partial water changes.
SanitationInclude any transfer tanks/buckets and suitable plastic bags for moving fish. Also include a bottle of water conditioner (chlorine remover) and a battery operated air pump including batteries and airline/airstone. Other useful items are old towels, newspapers, paper towels, a net, and plastic bags.

Identification

ID informationAdd ID info to your fish transfer container or plastic bag – include your name and phone number. Include a back up ID fixture in your pet’s disaster survival kit. In addition back up this information electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your fish.

Equipment

Transportable containerThis is to transport your fish safely. A transportable container should be at least large enough for your fish to swim comfortably; the larger it is the better so long as it is able to be carried. Your fish may have to stay in this transportable container for days. Large plastic storage containers (40 litres and up) with a lid or even better large eskies make excellent fish storage and transport containers. NEVER feed fish in transport containers as this will only pollute the water and likely kill the fish.

Pets in Disasters – Horses

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your horse – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your horse – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your horse need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour. Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

Safe Paddock

Plan and agree with a family member, friend, or paddock owner (who doesn’t live with you) if they will care for your horse for any length of time, in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your horse. This means they can at least feed and attend to your horse in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least three days of horse food (silage, hay, pellets, etc) somewhere dry.
WaterStore at least three days of water for your horse, in addition to the water you need for your family.
MedicationStore any extra supply of medication your horse needs in a waterproof container, as well as any special dietary needs or supplements.
Veterinary / Medical / Branding RecordsStore copies of any medical, vaccination and registration/branding records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your horse or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitTalk to your vet about specific first aid requirements such as fly spray, antibiotic ointment and saline solution (i.e. eye wash solution separate from your family use).
SanitationInclude useful items such as a spade, newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags and household bleach.

Identification

ID informationAdd any possible ID information to your horse’s halter, lead and cover that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back up in your horse’s disaster survival kit.
PhotographStore a current photograph of your horse in a waterproof container, including notes on distinguishing features, name, sex, age, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your horse together as this helps to prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back-upAs a back-up, save identification details, veterinary records, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as “Dropbox”, your mobile phone or save a folder in your webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your horse.

Equipment

Halter and leadAnd other equipment which would help you or others to handle your horse.
FloatThis is to transport your horse safely and ensure they cannot escape. Your horse may have to stay in the float for hours at a time.

Pets in Disasters – Other Small Animals

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your pet – food, water and comfort. Think about two Disaster Survival Kits – One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit). The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway [...]

Just as you do with your family’s disaster survival kit, think first about the basics, for your pet – food, water and comfort.

Think about two Disaster Survival Kits –

  1. One kit for if you need to stay at home for up to three days (Home Kit).
  2. The other, a more portable lightweight version (Getaway Kit) for when you, your family and your small animal need to leave

Place these kits somewhere easy to get to in a hurry and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are kept, including a neighbour.

Always re-check these kits for expiry dates, to ensure supplies stay fresh. Water should always be replaced every six months to ensure freshness.

SAFE PLACES

Pets are usually not permitted in public shelters or evacuation centres, so you need to plan and agree on a ‘Safe House’ or an animal shelter that you and your pet (or just your pet) could go to.

Safe House

Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your pet in the past) if they will care for your pet for any length of time in case of a disaster. Place their full name, address and telephone number in your emergency survival kit in a waterproof container. All adults and children in your household should know these primary and alternative contacts (names / addresses / contact numbers) or always carry this information with them.

Show them and a neighbour where your disaster survival kits are just in case you are not at home when disaster strikes and you are cut off from returning to your pet. This means they can at least feed and attend to your pet in the interim. Have a plan to communicate with your pet’s carer after the event. You will want to arrange a meeting place in a safe area so you can be reunited with your pets.

Safe Shelter

Make a list of contact information and addresses of other potential places you may be able to leave your pet (motels that allow pets or local vet centres). Keep a list on you at all times and a copy in each of your disaster survival kits.

Always call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to evacuate from home.

GIVE IT A GO

To ensure your family and pet can move fast and feel comfortable if you need to shelter in place in a disaster, you should practice getting your family unit into your safe place in the house (where your emergency survival kits are kept). You can time yourselves and give it another go from time to time to see how fast (but not panicked) you can operate.

Then try again to your chosen ‘Safe House/Shelter’. By practicing an evacuation your pet will get use to entering and travelling calmly in their cage/carrier.

Try doing practice runs, also in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.

Emergency Survival Items

FoodStore at least three days of non-perishable pet food in an airtight, waterproof container
WaterStore at least three days of water, in addition to the water you need for your family. Plus you will need extra water to clean up after your pet. If they are used to using a drinking bottle, keep a spare in the kit.
MedicationStore an extra supply of medication your pet needs in a waterproof container as well as special dietary or behavioural condition needs.
Vet RecordsStore copies of any medical records in a watertight container including your vet’s name and telephone number (in case you have to board your pet or place them in foster care).
First Aid KitTalk to your vet about any specific requirements that may be required beyond that in your household first aid kit.
Blanket / BeddingFamiliar items, like a favourite blanket or even a pillowcase they can bury into, can help reduce stress for your pet.
SanitationInclude any pet litter and litter box device. Other useful items are newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags and household bleach.

Identification

PhotographStore a current photograph of your pet in a waterproof container, including notes on: distinguishing features, name, sex, age, colour and breed. Also include a photograph of you and your pet together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Back upAs a back-up, save microchip details, medical and veterinary details, key contact details and all photographs electronically – to places such as ‘Dropbox’, your mobile phone or save a folder in your Webmail. This means you can still access these vital details if you are cut off from returning to your pet.

Equipment

Cages or CarrierThis is to transport your pet safely and ensure they cannot escape. Remember anything cardboard/paper based (i.e. pet carrier box) will disintegrate.

A cage/carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time so include bedding and any favourite toy to reduce stress levels.

Make sure your pet’s cage/carrier includes a tag that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and if there is room your address. Include a back-up tag in your pet’s disaster survival kit.

Small animals often feel safer if they are able to hide, so place a small cardboard box inside their cage.

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