Being Prepared: Your Pets
Your pets are your responsibility. It is up to you to prepare for their safety and welfare in an emergency.
Most welfare centres cannot accept pets because of health and safety regulations. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception.
Prepare your pet
- Ensure your pet has adequate identification so you can be re-united if you get separated
- Micro-chipping is one of the best forms of identification.
- Attach a permanent disc to your pet’s collar that clearly states your name, phone number and, if there is room, your address.
- Have current photos of your pet to assist in easily identifying you as the legal owner
- Ensure vaccinations are all up to date as many animal shelters will not accept unvaccinated animals.
- Ensure your pet’s council registrations are up to date.
- Include the following phone numbers (as well as your own) in your emergency kit:
- Your veterinarian.
- Local animal welfare agency e.g. RSPCA.
- Make in-case-of-evacuation arrangements with friends or relatives outside your neighbourhood or area.
- Keep a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels and their contact details in case you have to evacuate your home or neighbourhood.
Pets Emergency Plan
Have pet supplies in your emergency kit including:
- Water and pet food for at least three days – include a can opener for tinned food.
- Medication that the animal may need.
- Supplies for the animal’s hygiene.
Pet Getaway Kit items
- A secure pet carrier cover, cage, leash and or harness to transport and keep pets safe. (Put your name and phone number on the carrier/cage).
- A muzzle for a dog.
- If you are a bird owner place special food and water dispensers in the bird cage and have a cover for the cage.
- Vaccination records – this will help if your pet needs to be accommodated.
- Record of current registration and micro-chip numbers.
- Plastic bowls for food and water.
- Consider your pet’s sanitation requirements and include rubbish bags, cat litter and litter box and dog litter disposal bags.
- Pet toy and blanket or bedding.
- Information of feeding schedules, medical conditions, and any behavioural problems in case you have to board your pet.
- Bring all pets into the house so they don’t take fright or run away and you won’t have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Do not try to hold on to your pet during the shaking of an earthquake or explosion. Animals instinctively protect themselves and hide where they are safe.
- Animals react differently under stress. The most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, and try to escape, bite or scratch.
- Outside of your home and in the car, keep dogs securely leashed. Transport cats in carriers.
- When you return home, give your pets time to settle back into their routine. Consult your veterinarian if any behavioural problems persist.
In an evacuation take your pets with you if you can do so safely.
If you need to leave your pets behind, leave them indoors if possible. If animals are left outside do not tie them up but make sure boundary gates are kept closed. You should release penned animals if you cannot take them with you. Provide plenty of food and water in large heavy bowls, a slow tripping tap can supply a constant source of water.
Under New Zealand Law
- It is the owner’s responsibility to always see to the physical, health and behavioural needs of their pets.
- It is an offence to desert or abandon your pets without reasonable excuse.
Make sure you and your family are safe but always remember your pets, they deserve your attention too.
Check out the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management for further information. Caring for pets and livestock.