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Preparing your pets for an emergency

Preparing your pets for an emergency

Recent natural disasters both here in New Zealand and around the world have shown that we all need a plan in case disaster strikes. This means being prepared to evacuate quickly and having enough supplies to stay away from home. Here are some things to take into consideration when developing your emergency plan for your pets.

During times of stress, it can be hard to think clearly about what you need do to make sure you and your family members are safe. Our pets are part of our family too, so having a plan in place to make sure they are kept safe is an important part of your emergency preparation.

When preparing your emergency kit, you should include:

  • Ideally at least 5 days of water and canned or dry food.
  • A water and food bowl – collapsible ones will save on space.
  • Store in an air/watertight container.
  • Can opener
  • Use the same food as they would normally eat and include some treats.
  • Necessary medication for your pet.

Name, address and contact number for a person or pet friendly place that is suitable to care for your animals if you are unable to.

  • Have vet and vaccination records stored in a waterproof container.
  • Ensure registration, microchip numbers and contact details are correct, up to date and online for easy access.
  • Some emergency evacuation centres are unable to accommodate pets, so arranging options for alternative accommodation for your pet in advance is important.
  • Discuss with your emergency contact how they can attend to your animals and where the emergency provisions are kept.

Animal first aid kit (as a minimum)

  • Cotton bandage roll and tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves

Keeping your animal’s routine as similar as possible will help with stress levels. Including a blanket and toy that has a familiar smell will assist with this.


  • Litter box and litter, paper towels, poop bags, gloves, and pet-safe cleaner
  • Sturdy cage or carrier that will allow your pet to stand, turn around, lie down in and have enough ventilation.
  • Lead, collar with ID tag, harness, and muzzle
  • Make sure these are labelled with your pet’s name, your name, contact number and address.

Ensuring your pet’s collar is properly fitted so that they don’t slip it and run away in a stressful situation is important. Using a harness may be the best option and will also allow for your pet to be secured in the car safely should you have to evacuate.       

Keeping them close to you, in a secure room, on a lead or in a carrier will ensure they are safe until you are ready to go.

Have a practice run of your evacuation plan with your household and pets, including in the dark in case an emergency happens at night and there is no power.

If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them.

If you find your pets are becoming stressed, here are some quick tips that may help them settle:

  • Create a den or hidey-hole in a cardboard box to help them feel more settled.
  • Close the curtains if there is storm with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning.
  • Have the tv or radio on to help dull the loud noises.
  • Keep routines as close to normal as possible.
  • Continue to give them treats, cuddles and attention.
  • If you have any Feliway or Adaptil then consider using it.
  • Take care when handling your pet in stressful situations.

Our pets depend on us when emergency strikes. Following the steps listed above and having an established plan in place will make it easier to make quick decisions and take action to keep your pets and family safe in an emergency.

If you are concerned about your pet’s health or safety during an emergency situation, reach out to your local Animates Vetcare clinic for advice. Our clinics are well equipped to provide emergency and critical care for all pets, no matter what the cause.

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