When planning how to take care of your pets in an emergency or disaster, you should:

  • include your animals in your household emergency plan
  • prepare a pet emergency kit
  • microchip and register your pets
  • keep a list of emergency phone numbers including your vet, RSPCA and local council
  • know in advance where to take your pet if it is unsafe for them to remain at your property
  • check with your local council or other agencies about any temporary animal shelters and yards that can be used during disasters
  • although cats and dogs are the most common pets, remember to include other pets such as reptiles, birds, aquarium fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small livestock.
  • Your pet emergency kit should include:

    • pet food and treats, in cans or waterproof containers, and a bowl
    • drinkable water in plastic bottles
    • can opener for canned food
    • pet medications and vet records in a waterproof container
    • sturdy leashes, harnesses or carriers so you can move your pets safely
    • current photos of your pet in case they get lost
    • the name and details of your vet
    • pet beds and toys, if there is room
    • specialised transport containers and food for less common pets (such as reptiles, birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small livestock).
    • Download Preparing pets for emergencies PDF (337.3 KB) quick reference guide.

  • If you need to leave your home due to a disaster or emergency, you should:

    • move animals to a safe place early
    • make sure they have access to plenty of food and water.

    Most emergency shelters do not allow pets but there are undercover carparks where you can shelter in your car with pets as long as they are properly restrained.

    These carparks were built to code but are not designed as emergency shelters. Check the undercover carpark shelters map.

    If you’re staying at home, secure your animals so they do not run away. Remember animal behaviour may change if they sense a threat. Remember animal behaviour may change if they are frightened.

    • leave pets inside if possible
    • put pets in separate rooms with small or no windows
    • provide adequate food and water in large, heavy bowls
    • untie pets if leaving them outside.

    Leaving pets at home is not ideal and should be a last resort if you can't move them in advance.

    If you can’t move your pets to a safe place:

    • leave pets indoors if possible
    • put pets in separate rooms with small or no windows
    • provide adequate food and water in large, heavy bowls
    • do not tie your pets up if leaving them outside.
  • Consider a pet plan for when you could be away from home for a period of time such as hospital stays, travelling and unforeseen quarantine lockdowns or border closures. If you need to go into quarantine, you will not be able to take your pet with you. Make sure you have a plan that includes:

    • who will take care of your pet if you are not able to
    • the impact of lockdown zones or your pet caretakers movements being restricted
    • what to do if kennels are not able to accept pets.

    These arrangements may need to be in place for two weeks or more, so include this in your plan.

    It is important to have more than one plan in case your original pet care plan can no longer be carried out because of lockdowns on restrictions on movement.

    All pet and animal owners need to be aware of what their animals require in times of an emergency and plan accordingly. Pet owners have responsibility for the welfare, health and safety of their pet.

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