Do You Have A Pet Disaster Plan?

Although we never like to think of natural disasters or emergencies happening to our family, pets and home, they can and do happen, and you don’t usually get much warning.  Have you thought about what would happen if you couldn’t get to your house or the area around your home was evacuated for an unknown period of time during a disaster like a bushfire, flood or earthquake? Have you thought of creating a pet disaster plan?

Always remember to follow the instructions of local teams and state officials. Here are some simple steps you can follow right now to make sure you’re ready, just in case a disaster situation occurs 

Prepare Your Pet:

  • Ensure your pet has a collar and tag with your name, mobile number and address. Ones that are engraved are the best
  • Keep your pets up to date with preventatives and vaccinations, to ensure they remain protected and check for any other medications they may need if they go into a new or unfamiliar area of the country.
  • Make sure that the microchip information is up-to-date with the correct and latest info. This has proven to be the quickest and most reliable way to contact a pet owner in the event of a disaster.

Prepare An Emergency Kit:

You may only need to be away from home for a day or two, however it is often best to prepare for being away longer, so that you have everything you need. Perhaps over a couple of days, just note down everything you need when it comes to your pets, so that you remember all the day-to-day essentials, that is a great place to start. 

Consider the following: 

  • Food in a watertight container – cans are of course best, but don’t forget a can opener.
  • Supply of fresh water
  • Any necessary and preventative medications
  • Vaccination records kept in a safe place
  • Contact information for you and friends/relatives
  • Pet first-aid kit and any useful book/guide – (take First Call for Dogs with you!) 
  • Spare leash, harness, and collar 
  • Pet carrier
  • Toys
  • Plastic bags for dog poop and a litter box and litter for cats
  • Blanket

Prepare For Travel:

  • Make sure you have proper equipment for pets to ride in the car (carriers, harnesses, pet seatbelts).
  • Getting your pet used to travelling in a vehicle beforehand will reduce stress upon them, during a stressful time. 
  • If you don’t have a car big enough to fit all your pets then make sure you have an arrangement with family and friends about who would help you out at short notice in the event of an evacuation.
  • You never know where you may need to go, and remember not all motels and shelters take animals, so research a list of pet-friendly places to stay up to a 100km radius of your home.

Prepare People To Support You: 

  • There could be an emergency situation whilst you are not there, so ensure you have trusted family or friends who have a spare key and know where the emergency kit is located. 
  • Have a prearranged meeting point with family or friends so that you can be reunited quickly with your pet. 
  • You may need someone to be a temporary care giver to your pets, so ensure that you have selected someone you trust, who the pets are familiar with, that is happy to help you. Ensure they know all about your pet and the care they need.
  • You can get stickers for your home which alert authorities to the number of pets inside a home. 
  • If your pet is injured during a disaster, you will need to take them for treatment, but remember your usual vet may be closed, so ensure you know emergency clinics locally and further afield.

You may think it will never happen, and there is a good chance you will never need an emergency plan or emergency kit, however in the unlikely event that you do, how much better would it feel to be completely prepared.

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Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

Dr Alex Hynes

Dr Alex Hynes

Veterinarian, Author and Educator with an extraordinary passion for animals, life and veterinary work both as the hospital director of one of Australia’s busiest emergency pet hospitals, Animal Emergency Service in Australia, and as an entrepreneur and media personality.

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