SecureNT

Pets in emergencies

Your animals are your responsibility. It is up to you to plan ahead and prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets.

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.

Your safety, and that of your family, is paramount. You should not risk your life trying to find and protect pets.

Make sure your pets and animals are properly identified with a name tag, microchip or brand.

Plan for your pets

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
  • identify and register your pets - name tags or microchip
  • keep a list of emergency phone numbers including your vet, RSPCA and local council
  • check with your local council or other agencies about any temporary animal shelters and yards that can be used during disasters.

Pet emergency kit

You should include the following items in your pet emergency kit:

  • 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.

Read more in the guide to keeping your pets safe during the cyclone season (1.4 mb).

Move your pets early

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

  • move animals to a safe place early in the day
  • 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.

If you have to leave your pets behind

If you need to leave your pets behind in a disaster or emergency, you can download and print a pets are present sticker (137.2 kb) to attach to your front door. 

This sticker will help to inform emergency management responders that there are pets inside. 

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

You should also consider all of the following:

  • leave pets indoors if possible
  • lock 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.

To find out more get the managing animals in disasters brochure on the Police, Fire and Emergency Services website.

Plan for your horses

You should include the following items in your horse emergency kit:

  • food and water for a minimum of three days
  • feed buckets
  • blankets and towels
  • extra lead rope and halter
  • wire cutters
  • torch, portable radio and fresh batteries
  • equine first-aid items
  • information about whether your horse is branded, registered or micro-chipped, stored in a waterproof container.

Move your horses early

Assess whether your horse’s environment will be safe for them during the disaster and for three days afterwards.

A late evacuation could increase the chance of injury or death, particularly if the horse is hard to catch or difficult to load.

Be careful training your horse as the disaster is approaching - it could prove to be difficult or even fatal.

If you are preparing for a cyclone, think about the following:

  • location and accessibility of your property
  • condition and placement of your stable, yards and fences
  • amount of available resources to combat a cyclone or flood.

If you have to leave horses and livestock

Leave horses in a sound structure or stable with loose objects tied down or stored away.

If you leave livestock in a paddock, the fences need to be secure.

If you have several horses, try to leave them together, as they are herding animals. Placing them in a smaller paddock may also prevent them from getting into a fast gallop, panicking and going through fences. 

You can also place identification on your horses by painting your name and phone number on them with livestock grease crayons or painting it on their hooves.

If you leave animals in a paddock or stable you should do all of the following:

  • place a light rug and bell boots on horses
  • leave adequate water
  • mark gates and water locations on a map of your property in case someone has to move the stock for you.