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 – place a name tag with your phone number on your pet’s collar
- 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, be mindful to include other pets you may have such as reptiles, birds, aquarium fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small livestock.
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
- specialised transport containers and food for less common pets (such as reptiles, birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small livestock).
Read more in the guide to keeping your pets safe during the cyclone season .
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
- 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 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.