When preparing your bushfire survival plan, you also need to plan and prepare for the safety of your pets.
Is your pets microchipped with up to date contact details?
What will you do with your pets on days of high fire danger?
- If you are leaving early with your pets, remember to prepare your pets as well; have bedding, food and water ready to go and make sure you can transport them – always put your own safety before the safety of your pets.
- Know 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.
- If you choose to keep your pets with you, confine them early. Pets are safest inside a secure room, on a lead or in carriers. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink.
- Have towels and woollen blankets available to cover and protect your pets.
- Make sure your pets can be identified easily. Microchip your animals and include your details such as your phone number on collars. The National Pet Register provides free identification for cats and dogs.
- Discuss with neighbours about protecting your pets if you are not at home during a bushfire. Keep in regular contact with your neighbours during the fire danger period to let them know your plans.
- Keep your Bushfire Relocation Kit for pets within easy reach so you are ready to leave early.
- Practise how you will move your pets if you leave. It takes longer than you think.
Your Pet Bushfire Relocation Kit should include:
- 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, along with a written list of what they are
- Your pet's medical history, including proof of vaccination
- Your vet's contact details
Pet injuries and heat stress
If your pets have suffered burn injuries during a fire, they must receive immediate treatment. Take your pets to the nearest vet clinic or animal shelter as soon as it is safe to do so.
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, 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 shows these symptoms, consult a vet immediately. Keep your vet’s contact details in your Bushfire Survival Plan.
Tips for keeping pets cool
- Have fresh, cold water available at all times
- Ensure your pet has shade at all times or bring them inside into a cool room
- Wipe your pet 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