Animals in emergencies

It's important to consider animals, big and small, during an emergency. Be prepared well ahead of any emergency event with a basic plan to protect them.

Establishing a Pet Pal - someone who can care for your animals safely in times of emergency - is a great idea. Otherwise, try and get your animals to the safe home of a family or friend early. 

Read more in our Pet Pal postcard(PDF, 443KB)


At the early signs of an emergency, try to confine your animal to a small space which will make it easier to catch them if you need to evacuate. For smaller animals like cats, dogs, rabbits and birds, have a pet cage lined with a blankets or newspaper ready.

Ensure your animals have identification. Your details can be attached to collars; otherwise large animals can be marked on their hooves with permanent ink or with a sticker folded into hair. 

If you're evacuating your home and can take your animals with you, include items in your Emergency Kit for them such as, pet food, blankets, toys, litter, vet details, paper towel and leads.

Be aware animals can sense anxiety in people, so try and keep calm around them.  

If you own livestock and plan to evacuate without them, move them to a bare paddock with water and room to move.  Don't shut your animals in sheds or stables or tether them and under no circumstance should you cut boundary fences or let animals loose on the roads as this can cause major traffic accidents. It's also a good idea to remove gear such as rugs and head collars from livestock. The Department of Primary Industries has more information about how to plan for livestock welfare during and after a bushfire.