Whether pets are at home with you, relocated during high risk days or brought along on holidays, you need to plan and prepare for their safety as well as your family’s and your own.
Prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan for your pets
Decide whether you will keep your dogs/pets with you or move them elsewhere during days of high fire risk. Include these details in your Bushfire Survival Plan. Remember, on code red days the safest place to be is away from high-risk bushfire areas.
If you choose to keep your pets with you, it’s important to confine them early.
- Pets are safest inside a secure room, on a lead or in carriers.
- Make sure you have wet towels and woollen blankets available to cover and protect your pets.
- Make sure they have plenty of water to drink.
It is important that your pets are microchipped and wearing a collar identification tag at all times. Ensure all contact information is current and include an emergency contact outside your area that is linked to your pets’ records. The National Pet Register provides free identification for cats and dogs. Visit petregister.com.au or call 1300 734 738.
Make a list of where you could house your pets if you decide to leave early. This may include boarding kennels, a relative/friend’s place or you may be able to keep them with you.
Discuss with neighbours how your pets might be protected in case you are not at home or cannot make it home during a bushfire. Keep in regular contact with your neighbours during the fire danger period to let them know your plans.
It is a good idea to place a sticker on your front window/door advising people what animals you have on your property in the case of you not being home and they are needing to be rescued.
Have a bushfire relocation kit for your pets stored within easy reach so you are ready to leave early. Or keep one in your car if you have your pets with you.
Aussie Pooch Mobile recommended bushfire relocation kit:
- food and water
- a bowl for each pet
- a second collar and lead
- a carrier for cats and smaller pets
- bedding and a woollen blanket
- a pet first aid kit – seek your vet’s advice
- a favourite toy
- any medications your pet is taking plus a written list of them
- your pet’s medical history including proof of vaccination and your vet’s contact details.
Pet Care – Pet injuries after a fire
If your pets have suffered burn injuries during a fire, they must receive immediate treatment. As soon as it is safe to do so, take your dogs/pets to the nearest vet clinic or animal shelter.
Heat stress in dogs and cats occurs when they are unable to maintain their normal body temperature on a hot day. On all hot days, especially days of severe, extreme or code red fire danger, it is important that you keep your pets as cool as possible. Keeping your pets comfortable on a hot day is your responsibility. Look for the warning signs:
- excessive panting
- pets that whine or seem agitated.
In cases of severe heat stress or heat stroke, pets may stop panting and vomit.
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, a vet should be consulted immediately. Keep your local vet’s contact details in your Bushfire Survival Plan.
Aussie Pooch Mobile Dog Wash recommends these ten tips for keeping your pets cool on hot days
- Have fresh, cold water available at all times.
- Ensure your pets have shade at all times or bring them inside into a cool room.
- Wipe your pets down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on.
- Wet your dog with cool water several times throughout the day.
- Consider buying a wading pool for your dog.
- For cats, rub damp hands over their coat or along their tummy.
- Place ice blocks in your pet’s water bowl.
- Place ice in a pillow case and place it near your pets.
- Consider having your dog clipped if their coat is long and thick.
- Never leave your pets in a vehicle on a hot day.