Preparing your pets for a disaster

It is important to consider the needs of your pets when preparing your family for a disaster event. By taking the time to plan and prepare, you can help make sure your pets are kept safe and secure.

Preparing a Pet Emergency Kit

As a pet owner, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your pets. Your Pet Emergency Kit should provide you with everything you need to care for your pets during a disaster event.

A well-stocked Pet Emergency Kit will enable your pet to cope with disruption to essential services, power and water supplies. The kit should be regularly checked to ensure items are fresh and safe to use and should be kept in an easily accessible location.

Your emergency kit should cater for the unique needs of your pet, and should include:

  • A completed copy of the Pet Preparedness Plan to ensure you have important information including pet registration details and key telephone numbers at your fingertips
  • Up to two weeks of pet medications, medical and vaccination records and details of your preferred veterinarian.
  • Sufficient food and bottled water for each animal for up to two weeks.
  • A familiar pet blanket or bedding, toys and grooming equipment
  • A secure pet carrier, leash or harness to move your animals to safety
  • Consider your animal’s sanitation needs. You may need to pack spare newspaper, paper towels, disinfectant and rubbish bags
  • A current photograph of your pet

Download a Pet Emergency Kit [PDF 695KB] and Pet Preparedness Plan [PDF 475KB].

Moving your pet to safety

If your pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer location. By acting early, you can to avoid any unnecessary danger and anxiety to you and your pet.
Tips to remember:

  • Secure animals inside before an emergency event, so that they do not take flight or run away.
  • Use a secure pet carrier/cage, leash or harness to move any animals to safety.
  • Ensure all vaccinations remain current.
  • Investigate if it is possible for your pet to stay in a safe environment with family or friends away from the emergency zone.
  • If you are able to house your animal in a temporary foster home, ensure you include your pet’s emergency kit. This should include medical and feeding information, food, medicine and an appropriate lead, harness or pet carrier.
  • Ensure your pets are properly identified. It is important registration tags and microchips contain current contact details.
  • Have a current photograph to help identify you as the legal owner.

Leaving your pet at home

You should consider what you would do with your family pet if you are required to leave your home during a disaster event.

If your pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer location. Animal boarding kennels, family and friends offer ideal refuge away from an emergency zone.

If it is not possible to take your pets with you, and you need to temporarily leave your pet at home, you should:

  • Try to leave your pets indoors. Rooms that are easily cleaned and that have small windows, like a bathroom or laundry, are ideal. Alternatively, you should try to leave your pets undercover, in a shed or covered pen with good ventilation
  • Avoid leaving pets in rooms with hazards such as large windows, hanging plants or large picture frames
  • Never leave your animals tied-up or chained
  • Never leave your animals outside without shelter, food and clean water and bedding
  • In case of flooding, position a heavy chair or crate to allow access to a higher refuge such as a bench-top, vanity or shelf
  • Ensure each animal has a supply of food and water in large, heavy bowls. A slow-dripping tap over a bath or sink can provide an ongoing supply of fresh water. You may also wish to leave the lid to the toilet bowl open as an alternative water source
  • Provide toilet litter for each animal
  • Ensure your animals can be properly and easily identified
  • Ensure you have the telephone numbers for your veterinarian and local animal welfare agencies included in your household emergency kit.

As a last resort, family pets may be brought to council’s emergency evacuation centres. If your family and pets are relocating to one of council’s emergency evacuation centres, it is essential you bring your pet emergency kit.

All animals must be securely restrained on a leash, in a harness or an animal carrier. Your pet may need to be relocated to suitable animal accommodation away from the emergency evacuation centre.

For more information see evacuation centres.

Trained assistance dogs

Trained assistance dogs are permitted at council’s emergency evacuation centres. Please remember to bring your Pet Emergency Kit and ensure your assistance dog is properly secured.

Trained assistance dogs means a dog trained to perform identifiable physical tasks and behaviours to assist a person with a disability to reduce the person’s need for support. (Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009) 

What if your pet is not a dog or cat?

Agencies including the Queensland Government’s Department Primary Industry and Fisheries, the RSPCA , your local veterinarian or pet shop can provide specialised advice for your pet.
This may include information on how to provide sufficient heating without a power supply, water, food and carriers.

However, you should also consider:

  • Carry birds, guinea pigs, mice, etc in cages or in secure boxes with small air holes
  • Put fish into a large wide-necked jar with a secure lid. Fill jar two-thirds with water and when stationery, remove the lid
  • Frogs need a small covered tub with 2.5cm (1inch) of water in the bottom and air holes in the top of the container
  • Snakes and lizards need to be put in a container with a secure lid and air holes. Alternatively they should be placed in a securely tied sack or pillowcase
  • Poultry and aviary birds can be affected by smoke. Make a hessian curtain to fit their cage and wet down
  • Birds must eat daily, put special food and water dispensers in bird cages and have a cover for the cage.

Animal owners need to ensure that pets and livestock can shelter in a safe place, have access to food and clean water and, in the case of flooding, are able to get to higher ground. Take the time to consider the needs of your animals during times of disaster. 

back to top