Emergency planning

Don’t forget your PET 

Including pets in your planning greatly increases the chances that your whole family will evacuate to safety together in the event of an emergency, such as bushfires or floods.

Scroll down for a detailed step-by-step guide for including pets in your emergency planning, and other helpful resources in the event your household is under an evacuation watch or order.

You can also save or print a copy of our downloadable guide and pet info sheet so it’s easily available if you’re impacted by an emergency event.

For your family’s peace of mind, think Don’t forget your PET: Prepare, Evacuate, Together.


REMEMBER: The safety of you and your family is paramount.

Do not risk human life trying to find and protect pets.

Step One: Prepare  

Take these actions now so that your family – including pets – are ready, no matter when an emergency occurs:

  • Check that your pet’s microchip details are current. Go to petaddress.com.au to find which database your pet’s microchip is registered to. 
  • Have identification tags with clear contact information ready to put on your pet 
  • Have evidence of ownership, and take photos of it so you have it available on your phone – this can include adoption records, council registration and/or a photo of you and your pet together 
  • Collect details about you, your pet, their vet and your emergency contact. Use our template and print copies for your emergency kit. 
  • Ensure you have printed and digital copies of your pet’s vaccination certificates from your vet.
  • Prepare a kit with the following:
    • A waterproof bag with your important documents and pet info, including proof of vaccinations should they require boarding 
    • Cages, crates or containers to transport your pet 
    • One week’s supply of your pet’s medication 
    • Non-perishable food and water for several days 
    • Bowls, a tin opener and spoons 
    • Collar with tag 
    • Treats or toys to keep them calm 
    • Familiar, dry and warm bedding or blankets 
    • Toileting supplies, such as a litter box, litter and scoop, poop bags, puppy pads and cleaning supplies.  
  • Have a list of places your pet could stay, such as a friend’s house, pet boarding facility or animal shelter. 
  • Identify a nearby emergency guardian whom you trust and share your plan with them, who can evacuate your pets if you’re not home.

Step Two: Evacuate

When a warning is issued for your area, move quickly and don’t wait to leave by following these steps:

  • Contain your pet asap by putting them on a lead or in a carrier. Pets can easily become stressed and may hide, so it’s best to contain and relocate them early.
  • Make plans to get to your pre-arranged safe location, or check with VicEmergency for your nearest evacuation centre. Check the route in advance and look for alternatives in case your preferred route is blocked.
  • Grab your evacuation kit and supplies.
  • Make sure your pet is properly secured in your vehicle and restrained at all times.
  • Leave a note on your door for emergency services to let them know where you’ve gone. If for any reason you had to leave animals behind, include those details.
  • During emergency sheltering, take these steps to help keep your pet calm and safe – they may be stressed being in a strange place:
    • When possible, maintain your pet’s regular food, drink and exercise routine.
    • Do not leave your pet unattended while at an emergency shelter, unless instructed by staff.
    • Keep pets away from human food and drink areas.
    • Tell staff if your pet has any special needs or becomes unwell.
    • Keep them away from other people and pets, as pets may act out-of-character in an emergency.
    • Keep their spaces clean.

For horses and livestock, consider moving them to a safer area during high-risk seasons if possible, before an emergency occurs. Should you have to evacuate, suitable transport should be readily available with supplies already loaded, including temporary fencing. If you cannot evacuate them, prepare a large area with minimal vegetation and access to food and water in fire-resistant containers.

Advice on handling horses and livestock in emergencies can be found from Agriculture Victoria.

Step Three: Together again

During an emergency, animals may become displaced or lost when homes, sheds and fences are damaged or destroyed.

If you and your pet have become separated:  

  • Contact your local council 
  • Contact animal shelters in your region 
  • Check if your local vet has a lost and found display board 
  • Place a notice in local paper or on social media  
  • Have your proof of ownership ready  

If you have found an animal who’s been displaced in a natural disaster: 

  • Check if they have any identification and contact their owner 
  • Make sure they have clean water and food 
  • Be cautious when capturing or handling them, as they may be frightened or disoriented 
  • Contact a local vet if they appear sick or injured  
  • Contact your local council or nearby animal shelter  

Once you have been given the okay by authorities to return home, take these steps to keep your pet safe during recovery efforts:  

  • Check your property for debris and damage and remove any potential hazards. 
  • Make sure a clean, dry and undamaged space is available for your animals. After a flood, surfaces will need to be disinfected as floodwater can cause disease. 
  • Ensure they have access to clean water and uncontaminated food. 
  • Your animal may be easily spooked after a natural disaster. If possible, bring your animals home after clean up is complete so the environment is calmer for them.  
  • Continue to monitor the health and safety of your pets.

Helping wildlife

During an emergency, watch for frightened wildlife when travelling. 

If you spot injured wildlife during an emergency, please contact: 

You can also help wildlife by:

  • Leaving water containers out on your property 
  • Packing a pillowcase, box and towels in your car should you need to pick up any injured wildlife when traveling

Useful Links

Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES)

VicEmergency Warnings

BOM Weather Warnings

Australian Red Cross

CFA (Country Fire Authority)

Agriculture Victoria Emergency Management

VIC Councils

Horses & Livestock in emergencies