Plan to protect your dog in a disaster
Bushfires, storms, floods, tropical cyclones and hot weather are a reality of living in Australia. Do you have a plan to protect your dog when disaster strikes?
Natural disasters can occur at any time, and without a plan you could make panicked decisions that threaten the safety of your dog, yourself and your family.
1. Plan ahead
Just as you do with your family’s Disaster Survival Kit,(link) think first about the basics for your dog – food, water and warmth. With a Disaster Plan you will instead be prepared to evacuate fast or stay put with sufficient supplies if a disaster strikes.
Decide in advance whether you will take your dog with you, so that if disaster strikes you can avoid risky late retrieval from your home.
Plan and agree with a family member or friend (who doesn’t live with you and who has ideally cared for your dog in the past) if they will care for your dog for any length of time, in case of a disaster.
Show a neighbour where your Disaster Survival Kits are kept in case you are not at home when disaster strikes. Your neighbour can feed and attend to your dog in the interim.
Ensure your dog is registered and wears the current registration tag. Make sure your dog is microchipped and a copy of the microchip certificate is in your Disaster Survival Kit.
2. Prepare a pet Disaster Survival Kit
Place their full name, address and phone number in your Disaster Survival Kit in a waterproof container.
Food and water: At least three days’ worth of water and non-perishable pet food (canned or dried) in an airtight, waterproof container (remember the can opener!).
Medicines and Veterinary/Medical Records: Store medicines and copies of any medical and vaccination records in a watertight container or ziplock bag including your vet’s name and number.
Blanket/Bedding: Familiar items like a favourite blanket or toys can help reduce stress for your dog.
Sanitation: Include ‘poo’ bags, newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags, gloves and bleach (to dilute) to clean.
Identification: Add an ID disc to your dog’s collar that clearly states their name, your name, phone number and your address.
Photograph: A current photograph of your dog in a waterproof container, ideally with you and your dog together as this helps prove they are yours if you become separated.
Sturdy Lead, Harness and Muzzle: Plus any other equipment to help control your dog, particularly in a stressful situation. It should be strong and reliable as your dog may panic and try to escape. Even if your dog is friendly, emergency personnel may refuse to handle them unless they are muzzled.
Cages or Carrier: To transport your dog safely and ensure they cannot escape. Your dog may have to stay in the cage/carrier for hours at a time, so include bedding, blankets and any favourite toy, to reduce stress levels.
3. Practice your plan
Remember to practice your plan regularly and try doing practice runs in the dark. This will ensure you can navigate quicker if a disaster strikes during the night or if there is a power cut.
Dogs are a valued part of the family. Will you be there when they need you?