Be ready, act early, act safe

Be ready to act early, be considerate, and act safe.

You need to ensure that in an emergency your pets 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 their needs during times of disaster. 

Most Emergency evacuation Centres can't accept pets so make arrangements ahead of time to leave your pets with friends, family, veterinarians, or boarding kennels away from the affected area, to arrange for their care. Ensure medical and feeding information, along with at least a 72-hour supply of food, medicine, and other supplies accompany your pet to its foster home. Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster, but this should be considered only as a last resort.

If your pet isn't a dog, cat, or bird, (aquariums, reptiles, small livestock - horses, pigs, fowls, goats, horses, cattle, and sheep) contact specialised agencies, such as Queensland Primary Industry and Fisheries (livestock), the RSPCA, your animal's veterinarian, or local pet shop for specialised advice in planning for emergencies, such as suggested ways to provide sufficient heating without a power supply, water, food, and carriers.

If you own livestock, check with their local council or other agencies about likely hazards, local emergency plans, and what arrangements are in place regarding temporary animal shelters and yards in time of major emergencies or disasters. Plan to move livestock into a safe area when warnings are issued. 

Your safety, and that of your family, is paramount, so don't risk human life trying to find and protect pets.

If you must leave your pet behind, lock them indoors with food and water.

Leaving your animals alone at home, during an emergency, could place them in danger. If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you should take. Confine your pet to a safe area inside - unchained, well sheltered, and protected from harm with bedding. Make sure your pet has access to plenty of food and water.  Provide more than one bowl of water in case of spillage. Leave two or three days of dry food in a large heavy container that is difficult to knock over. Leave water in a sturdy container that is difficult to knock over.

Kept inside they won't take flight, run away or hide. Never leave your pet chained outside or chained inside, because they won't be able to get above floodwaters or flea from harm. Avoid leaving them in rooms with hazards such as large windows, hanging plants or large picture frames. In case of flooding, position a heavy chair or crate to allow access to a higher refuge such as benches, vanity units, shelves, or wardrobe tops. Never leave an animal locked in a vehicle.

Place a notice outside (on the front door or fence in a visible area) advising emergency services that pets have been left inside, with a description of each pet and where they are located. Provide your contact phone number and contact details for your vet.

Birds must eat daily so leave them food and water dispensers in their cage. To help calm the bird have a cover for the cage. Keep a vacation food block handy to feed your fish.

Consider your animal's sanitation needs, which is important for their health; for example newspaper, paper towels disinfectant, and rubbish bags. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive after an emergency event, so monitor their behaviour closely. 

Here are some additional suggestions to keep your animals safe:

  • Carry birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, etc in cages or pillowcases (tied firmly) or in secure boxes with small air holes.
  • Put fish into a large wide-necked jar with a secure lid. Fill a jar two-thirds with water and when stationary, 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 in a securely tied sack or pillowcase.
  • Poultry and aviary birds can be affected by smoke, so make a hessian curtain to fit the cage, drop the curtain and wet down.