It is up to you to plan and to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets, livestock or other farm animals well before a natural hazard affects your home or farm. By acting early, you will avoid unnecessary danger and anxiety. Although individual needs will vary, the following advice is intended to help you decide the best plan for your circumstances and region.
Tips for caring for your pets
- Plan ahead and be sure to include your animals in your emergency plans.
- Determine where you can safely shelter your pets if you are required to evacuate.
- *Remember – Shelters and Evacuation Centres do not accept animals unless they are identified assistance animals*
- Ensure your pets are properly identified (e.g. name tag, microchip or brand) and that animal registers are current and kept in a safe place.
- Move your pets to a safer place before a potential disaster. This might be with relatives, friends, animal boarding facilities or a temporary animal shelter.
If you are evacuating and taking your pet with you, ensure you have the following:
- Non-perishable pet food.
- Water and food bowls.
- A toy or blanket for comfort.
- A leash (and possibly a muzzle) or a carry-cage, bag or box.
- Toilet litter or old newspapers.
- Your pet’s medical history and vet contact details.
If you are evacuating and completely unable to take your pets with you, the RSPCA recommends the following:
- If possible, leave your pets indoors.
- If they have to be left outside, do not tie them up.
- Place pets (separated) in rooms with small or preferably no windows (use easily cleaned areas e.g. laundry, bathroom, toilet). Avoid rooms with hazards such as large windows, hanging plants or large picture frames.
- Provide adequate food and water in large heavy bowls that can’t be tipped over. (A slow-dripping tap can supply a constant source of water).
- Birds must eat daily, so provide food dispensers that regulate the amount of food.
- In the case of flood, position a heavy chair or crate to allow access to higher refuge such as benches, vanity units or shelves, where adequate food and water should be left.
- Provide toilet litter where appropriate and separate bedding for each pet.
- Make sure all pets are properly identified.
- Tell a friend or relative where you can be contacted, where your pets are and what their needs are.
- Leave a note for the emergency services indicating what animals they will encounter in the home (how many, where and how you can be contacted).
Caring for livestock and other farm animals
Develop an emergency plan and consider the following:
- Check whether local arrangements cater for relocation of livestock.
- Coordinate relocation of domestic animals and livestock with neighbours, friends or livestock associations as early as possible.
- Fit gates on internal fences to avoid moving stock along public roads.
- Mark gates and water location on a map of your property. Have this map available in case someone has to move stock for you
- If an emergency warning is current, or on days of high risk, consider moving stock into a safe area before leaving your property for any length of time.
- In a bushfire, move animals to a closely grazed or ploughed paddock (preferable around the homestead) with drinking water, steel fencing and preferable shade. (Poultry etc. can be placed in a temporary pen).
- In a flood, move animals to high ground with adequate natural feed. Additional feed may be required for stock stranded for extended periods.
- In a severe storm (including hail) or a cyclone, place animals under solid cover if possible (e.g. sturdy barn/shed or covered pen).
- In extreme circumstances, the best option may be to cut fences so that stock can escape danger (and be collected later).
Visit the DAF website for more information on natural disasters.