Pets & Livestock in Emergencies
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Pets & Livestock in Emergencies

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Ready 1-2-3 in an emergency.  1. Be prepared. 2. Stay in. 3. Tune in.

The welfare of your pets and livestock is your responsibility. It is up to you to prepare for their safety and welfare in the case of an emergency. Planning now will lessen the stress during an emergency for both you and your animals.  For detailed information log onto the Department of Primary Industries or the RSPCA websites.


Remember - do not risk human life trying to find and protect pets.


  • Include your animals in your household Personal Emergency Plan.
  • Properly identify your pets. Your dogs and cats must be microchipped. Ensure your pet’s collar carries your contact details.
  • Include some pet food and medications for a couple of days in your emergency kit.
  • Have a strong, secure pet carrier box/cage handy. It should be large enough to allow your pet to be comfortable for a couple of days and be clearly marked with your name and contact details.
  • Be aware that some evacuation centres may not accept animals so plan alternatives accordingly. 


If you are directed to evacuate, take your pet with you. Do not leave animals unattended or in a motor vehicle during an emergency. Discuss arrangements with your neighbours and have an agreement about the management of pets should an emergency occur. Make a plan for where you will house your pets should you have to leave your home.

If you are unable to evacuate your animals, you should notify the Department of Primary Industries with the following details:

  • Location of the animals
  • Type and number of animals
  • Handling facilities on site (yards, loading ramps, etc)
  • Problem animals including unbroken horses or savage dogs
  • Any veterinary medications or health problems
  • An immediate or short-term contact person
  • Whether, after the immediate evacuation period, you can organise alternative accommodation for your animals.


  • If moving livestock to a safer place, do so early to avoid unnecessary risk.
  • Before bushfires, prepare and maintain fuel reduced areas onto which stock can be moved and held.
  • Before floods, ensure that there is high ground nearby and organise feed supplies for the duration of the flood.
  • Feed – have emergency supplies of fodder as part of risk management preparedness.

Handling Difficult Animals

  • Cats – a difficult cat can be handled by holding the scruff of its neck and placing it in a carry box.
  • Dogs – use a muzzle as a restraint. If a muzzle is unavailable, tear up a bed sheet and place around the muzzle of the dog, crossing under the neck and around the back of its ears and secure. Use only as a short term measure.
  • Horses – place a blindfold (eg a towel) across the head and lead from the left side with our hand and elbow close to the horse.
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