Keeping Your Pet Safe In A Natural Disaster
Why do I need a disaster plan for my pet?
Australia is prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, storms and floods. On average 10 cyclones develop in Northern Australia each year. These events can affect many animals, including family pets.
Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Often cyclones, storms and floods come very quickly and without warning, so it pays to be prepared if you live in an affected area. Without preparation you can be caught short – without food or equipment and this can make coping very difficult.
Make sure you have an animal emergency kit packed in advance, including a first aid kit, and ensure that your pet is easily identifiable in case you become separated. Your emergency kit this should contain plenty of non-perishable food (for example dry food) and water in spill proof containers. It’s important to decide if you are going to evacuate or stay at home and plan accordingly.
It’s really important to ensure that your pet is micro-chipped and registered with the local council. Doing this in advance will ensure that you are reunited as quickly as possible. If you do have time to do this attach a collar with ID tag including name, address, mobile number and your vet’s phone number.
The preparation for exotic animals (such as birds, rats, mice, snakes, etc) is much the same as for dogs and cats, except that they need to be confined differently. We suggest the following: Birds – a small carry cage with cover (a towel is adequate). Rats / mice / guinea pigs / rabbits – a small covered carrier. Snakes – a pillow case or sack (securely tied). Other reptiles such as amphibians – a plastic container with ventilation holes.
During the Emergency Implement Your Disaster Plan
If you need to evacuate, take your animals to prearranged kennels or animal shelters outside the danger zone, or to family friends. If possible let your neighbours know about your evacuation plans and provide them with contact details. If your pet is staying at home confine your pet in the safest enclosed room of the house (for example a bathroom). It’s also really important not to tie your pet up as they might hurt themselves. Ensure your animal emergency and first aid kits are at home and easily accessible and clearly labelled, especially if you have more than one pet. Ensure there is plenty of non-perishable food (for example dry food) and water in a spill proof container. Make sure that your pet can access these easily. Put a notice on your building / door / fence saying that your pet is in the property, and if you live in an apartment ensure the manager knows you have a pet. If you are at home with your pet, try to keep him or her as calm as possible throughout the ordeal.
After the Emergency
Survey the area around your house and yard for hazards such as sharp objects, dangerous materials, live wires and contaminated water. Check your pets for any injuries and initially release them indoors only. Watch them closely for the next few hours. Often familiar areas and scents have changed which can confuse your pet and alter its behaviour. If your pet has been without food for a long period, reintroduce food slowly and in small portions. Allow free access to clean water. Allow uninterrupted rest to recover from trauma and stress. Your pet may be withdrawn or even aggressive towards you if it has suffered severe distress. Traumatised pets can sometimes be helped by setting up a safe secure area where they can get away from noise, people and other pets. This can be a crate, a laundry or a bathroom. Always provide separate areas for dogs and cats to reduce stress. Consult your vet for further information if your pet’s distress persists. If your pet is lost, contact your local shelters and emergency contacts daily.
Any prescribed medications, Collar / harness / lead, Cage, Litter tray and litter, Food and water, Toys / blankets / treats
First Aid Kit
First Aid kit including Bandages, Gauze swabs, Cotton wool, Betadine, Tweezers, Scissors, Latex gloves, Muzzle / leather gloves (even placid animals can become aggressive if injured and in pain)