Pets in Emergencies

Emergency planning for pets is an important part of emergency household preparations. Planning ahead is critical and greatly increases the likelihood of evacuating your pets to safety.

Different emergencies

It is important to consider your pets when planning for emergencies including storms, bushfires, floods and heatwaves. Get ready what you will do with your pets before, during and after an emergency situation. Do not risk your own safety, and that of your family, trying to find or protect pets.

Act early

Put your emergency plan into action early to protect your pets whether you have decided to stay or go. This will give you time to deal with unforeseen problems. Do not wait for emergency warnings – they may come too late. Animals will behave differently when disasters hit. They will pick up on your stress levels, and may panic and run. Removing them early will eliminate this issue. Do not risk your own safety, and that of your family, trying to find or protect pets. Remember if you need to evacuate, where practical, take your pets with you.

Evacuating with animals

Domestic pets

You can bring your pets to evacuation centres for assistance with accommodation and other services if you have no other alternative. Your animal will need to be contained by a cage or lead, and you will need to bring your pet’s medications and emergency kit with you.

There are several nominated evacuation centre venues across the Forbes Shire. An emergency evacuation centre venue will be determined by the location and type of emergency and will be listed here:

Horses and other livestock

For horses and other livestock, Forbes Showground and Central West Livestock Exchange may be used as emergency evacuation staging areas at any time. If you evacuate to these venues and council staff are not yet on-site, please call the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 02 6850 1900 for assistance.

Pet checklist in an emergency

Safety of your animals is your responsibility. Being prepared for emergencies is crucial for keeping you and your pets safe.

  • Are you self-sufficient for at least three days?
  • Do you have a RSPCA emergency kit ready for your pet in case you need to evacuate?
  • Is your pet identified (eg collar tag, cage label)? 
  • Can you relocate your pets quickly?
  • Can you relocate your pets quickly?
  • What safe transport options and routes do you have (including backup options)?
  • Do you have a safe place in your home or on your property?
  • Do you have somewhere else to go that’s out of danger eg. at family or friends?
  • Can a neighbour or friend enact your plan when you are not home?
  • Ensure your pets wear collars and tags at all times. Tags should include the animal’s name, owner’s name and up-to-date phone numbers.
  • Ensure your pets are microchipped and registered.
  • Ensure livestock, including horses, have a Property Identification Code.
  • Have carry boxes (for smaller pets), leads (for dogs) and halters (for livestock) readily accessible. Familiarise your pets with these boxes and leads in advance.
  • Include a secondary contact number on your pet’s ID tag or microchip record.

Leaving pets behind

If you have to leave your pets behind during an emergency:

  • Leave your pets indoors where possible.
  • Place pets in separate rooms with small, or preferably no windows.
  • Provide adequate food and water in large heavy bowls to last at least three days. 
  • If your pets must be left outside, do not tie them up. The area should be fenced to provide protection from other hazards, namely roadways.


Pet emergency kit
  • Collars, harnesses, leads, saddles
  • Cages, pet carriers, horse floats or trucks, vans
  • Medications 
  • Food, water and bowls
  • Blankets, bedding or nesting material
  • Poo bags or litter and litter trays for cats
  • Registration papers
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Toys


Useful Links

Further advice on pet safety during emergencies from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).