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Pet Emergency Plan

Emergency planning for your pets is an important part of your household emergency preparation. Whether it is a bushfire, flood or in case you have become ill or are injured, it’s important that you plan for your pet’s care in emergencies.

It is all about:

1. Planning
2. Preparation
3. Putting it into Practice

Planning

1. Start the conversation. Discuss your emergency plan with your family. If you ever have to evacuate your home, or you become ill, who will care for your pets and where?

2. Where will your pets stay? This might be a boarding facility, or in the case of an evacuation with a family member or friend located in a safe area or at a community emergency shelter. If relocating your pets to a boarding facility or shelter keep in mind that the premises may have specific requirements. For example, boarding facilities require that pets are up to date with vaccinations. Also note that not all public shelters allow pets, so it is best to have a backup plan.

3. Prepare a “Caring for My Pets” information sheet and print this out. (Download our free template here) If a family member or friend is looking after your pets at their home or yours (if the emergency does not require relocation e.g., bushfire or flood), preparing a document that helps explain how to look after your pets is very useful. Include things like:

  • Your contact details, and a second emergency contact – if you must evacuate due to a bushfire, you may not be able to recharge your phone regularly.
  • What they are fed – Quantity, Bowls, Times, preferences
  • Health and Medication details – Quantity, Times, any specific health issues.
  • Your Vet’s contact details
  • Any specific behaviours they need to know about – For example perhaps your dog suffers from separation anxiety or does not like big dogs or cats
  • Collars and lead locations and/or instructions (if needed)

4. Ensure you have a collar, ID tag (and Council registration tag for dogs) on your pets. Make sure the tag has your details and the details of a backup contact just in case they are unable to contact you.

5. Make sure your pet’s registration and microchip details are up to date with current contact details.

6. Train pets to become accustomed to car trips and that they can settle in a crate or pen if relocation is required.

7. Keep your pet’s vaccination up to date and know where your vaccination history card is.

Preparation

Prepare your Pet’s Evacuation Kit or “Go Bag” and keep this somewhere you or a friend can locate quickly. Things to include:

  • Non-perishable food for at least a week
  • Bottle of water, bowl
  • A spare collar and lead
  • A carrier for cats or smaller dogs with your contact details and their name attached to the crate.
  • Bedding
  • Poo bags
  • Favourite toy
  • A printed copy of your “Caring for my pets” information
  • A photo of each of your pets placed in a waterproof sealed clear sandwich bag.
  • Your pet first-aid kit (see below)

Share your emergency plan with neighbours and friends so they know what you have planned.

Pet First Aid Supplies

There are a number of items you can include in your pet first aid kit but it is always best to speak with your vet to find out specifically what you should include in your kit. Your pet’s age and lifestyle may affect what is needed in their kit. Below are some general suggestions:

  • Tweezers to help remove ticks or small foreign objects from wounds
  • Blunt rounded scissors to help cut tape, gauze or fur around wounds
  • Wound dressing materials including absorbent gauze pads or cotton, gauze roll to hold pads in place and adhesive medical tape
  • Conforming bandage to support your pet’s body or limbs and apply pressure to wounds
  • Cotton wool balls for cleaning and bathing wounds or to applying pressure to wounds
  • Sterile saline solution (often supplied as small disposable saline tubes) to flush out wounds, eyes, or mouth
  • Antiseptic Solution that can be diluted with water such as Chlorhexidine. Do NOT use Dettol it can burn your pet’s skin.
  • Protective disposable gloves to keep your hands clean.
  • Syringes are useful in flushing out wounds and eyes (be sure to only use saline or clean lukewarm water).
  • Small torch for easier inspection of your ears, eyes, and mouth.
  • Towels – these can be wet and placed over the animal to cool them down.

If you want to purchase a Pet First Aid Kit ready to go have a look at the St Johns Ambulance Pet First Aid Kit which can be purchased online. Proceeds help support local communities too!

Dog First Aid Tasmania also supply these Pet Aid kits and offer Pet First Aid course occasionally too.

Putting it into Practice

If you must evacuate:

1. Stay informed. Being aware of the current emergency situation and changes will help you make better informed decisions.

2. Keep your smaller pets contained within the home at the first sign of an emergency or concern so they are close at hand if /when you make the decision to go

3. Phone ahead and confirm arrangements with the safe location you have arranged for your pets as part of your emergency plan.

4. Locate and check your Pet Emergency Kit is up to date. Have it at hand to pack in your car if need be.

5. Consider relocating your pets before the critical situation arises.

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