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Prepare pets for bushfires

Prepare pets for bushfires

Prepare your pets bushfires

Photo: http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards/bushfire/basics/gallery

With the bushfire season ahead of us, you need to be aware and prepare pets for bushfires.

According to Geoscience Australia, bushfires and grassfires are common throughout Australia. Grassfires are fast moving, passing in 5-10 seconds and smouldering for minutes while other fires can sweep across vast areas and continue burning for many weeks.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is running its Be Aware, Prepare (#BeAwarePrepare) campaign over summer to raise awareness of the importance of planning for natural disasters – for all animal owners.

AVA President, Dr Robert Johnson said it’s critical to include pets in your bushfire disaster plan.

“With so many Australians living in bushfire zones it’s vital that they’re prepared for an emergency, and that includes pets if you’re lucky enough to be a pet owner.

“Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start today by making a plan and preparing a disaster kit.

“Planning is the key and can not only help save human lives but also save pets’ lives.

“The decision to evacuate or stay at home is always a critical one. Try to confine your pets to the safest enclosed room of the house, such as the bathroom, where they can be quickly collected if you need to leave urgently, and make sure you have their carry cages and leads on hand.

“Put together an emergency kit for your animals with lots of non-perishable food and water in spill-proof containers,” he said.

“If you become separated from your pet in an emergency evacuation advise local vets, animal welfare shelters and rescue organisations. It’s crucial that your pet is microchipped and registered with the local council to make it easier to be re-united in an emergency,” he said.

Fires don’t just threaten people, their homes, pets and livestock, but the wildlife that make their homes in bushes, hollow logs, trees and underground.

“While it’s absolutely tragic when wildlife is destroyed or injured in a bushfire it’s important not to put your own life at risk when rescuing an animal.

“Extra care should be taken with venomous or aggressive animals. If you find injured or orphaned wildlife call your nearest wildlife rescue organisation or local vet,” Dr Johnson said.

Contact your local vet for help putting together a disaster kit for your pets so evacuation goes smoothly for your entire family.

You can download AVA brochures on how to prepare pets for bush fires and other natural disasters.