How to keep your pets safe in an emergency

Pets are an important part of the family so you need to think about them when planning for emergencies.

Your pets and animals are reliant on you during:

  • a storm they can be scared by lightning, thunder and heavy rain
  • a flood they may need to be evacuated
  • a heatwave they need shade and access to cool water.

dog and cat on deck

Plan ahead

  • include your pets in your emergency plan
  • always leave your pets a water supply that will last them several days
  • give your house key to a trusted neighbour or friend in case you can’t get to your pets
  • prepare a list of preferred boarding kennels, catteries, animal shelters or friends where you can take your pets in case of an emergency
  • ensure your pets have a collar, council registration tag, and a microchip
  • make sure your contact details are correct with your local council and your microchip registry
  • ensure your pet's vaccinations are up to date; keep a copy in your pet emergency kit
  • if your animals are agisted on another property, talk to the owner about the local risks and their plans for extreme weather events
  • if you plan to take your family and pets to an evacuation centre, find out if there will be facilities available for animals.

RSPCA South Australia has developed 3 essential steps to creating your Pet Emergency Plan to help you plan and prepare your pets for a emergency.

ACT Emergency Services Agency, StormSafe Tips for Looking After Your Pets.

Include pet items in your emergency kit

  • a clearly labeled carrier
  • food and water for at least 3 days and containers for them
  • dog lead
  • pet first aid items and any medications
  • bedding, blankets and towels
  • cat litter
  • your contact details: name, address and phone numbers, pet's name, description and care requirements
  • pet registration, identification and licensing records
  • pet medical history, vaccination certificate and veterinary contacts.

Dog in the rain

If you have to leave your pets at home

  • leave them in a secure area inside your home or in a place where they will have the best protection
  • don't tie animals outside or leave them in a vehicle unattended
  • leave food and water for at least one week in accessible places
  • if flooding is a threat, ensure your pet has access to an elevated area so it can stay out of the water.

Dog and cat inside with food and water

After the emergency

  • if your pets are injured, seek veterinary treatment immediately
  • if your pets are lost, notify your local council, microchip registry, neighbours and nearby animal shelters. Check for lost pets on the RSPCA website.
  • be patient with your animals after a disaster, let them rest to recover from trauma or stress.

Injured sick dog