Be prepared!  Disaster preparation for pets greatly increases the likelihood of evacuating your pets to safety.  Emergency planning is an important part of your household preparations. There are many things pet owners can do to be prepared in the event of emergencies such as floods, cyclones or bushfires.

Late evacuation can be dangerous says the RSPCA. To avoid unnecessary risks to you and your pets, move them to a safe place as soon as possible. If you know an evacuation order could occur in the near future, consider moving your pets into temporary accommodation in a safe area well before there is any need to evacuate. Having your pets spend a short time away is better than taking the risk of not being able to take them if evacuation orders are issued.

Tips for disaster preparation for pets

  1. Prepare an emergency/evacuation plan for your entire family including your pets
  2. Leave a key with instructions with your neighbours, friends or family members
  3. Disaster preparation for pets

    Disaster preparation for pets. Photo: Shutterstock

    Pack a survival kit that is easy to carry and waterproof. Store in a cool, dry area.  IFAW has a detailed list of items including:

    • Medications
    • Food & water
    • Current photos of you and your pets
    • Essentials for dogs – bedding, poo bags etc
    • Essentials for cats – litter tray, bedding, etc
  4. Take your pets with you if you have to evacuate.  Pets should not be abandoned unless it is absolutely impossible to evacuate them. To avoid this situation, consider evacuating your pets before the danger arises. If you are forced to leave your pets behind, be sure to follow RSPCA’s advice below:
    • Do not tether pets (i.e. do not tie them up) as they will be unable to flee if danger is imminent
    • Provide food and water for at least one week located in accessible places and in more than one container that can’t be tipped over
    • Ensure pets are properly identified (e.g. a collar with an ID tag and microchip)
    • Leave a note on the front door or on your mailbox stating your mobile phone number, how many pets are located on the premises, their species, names and a photo
    • In the case of flood, position a heavy chair or crate to allow access to a higher refuge such as a bench, vanity unit or shelf where adequate food and water should be left.

Resources on disaster preparation for pets

Internation Fund Animal Welfare (IFAW)

RSPCA emergency preparation

Animal Welfare League’s checklist