Taking Care of Your Pets During a Cyclone
Cyclone or strong storm warnings can be very stressful, and if you are caught in a cyclone, your priority is the safety of your family. But what about those furry, feathered, fishy or other non-human family members in the case of an emergency?
If you are a pet owner in the NT, have you considered how you will ensure the safety of ALL your family members in the event of a natural disaster?
These are the 3 things you need to consider:
- Your pet cyclone kit
- Transport and shelter for pets during a cyclone
- What is the worst-case scenario?
Pet Cyclone Kit
If you are living in Darwin and its surrounds, it is essential that you have a well-stocked cyclone kit – for both the human and non-human members of your family. You should include the following items in your pet emergency kit:
- pet food and treats, in cans or waterproof containers, and a bowl;
- drinkable water in plastic bottles;
- can opener for canned food;
- pet medications and vet records in a waterproof container;
- good supply of newspapers for your pet's sanitary needs;
- sturdy leashes, harnesses or carriers so you can move your pets safely;
- current photos of your pet in case they get lost;
- the name and details of your vet;
- pet beds and toys, if there is room;
- specialised transport containers and food for less common pets (such as reptiles, birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small livestock).
Read more in the guide to keeping your pets safe during the cyclone season (1.4 mb).
Transport & shelter
If you need to leave your home due to a disaster or an emergency, you should move your animals to a safe place early and ensure that they have access to ample food and water.
Secondly, get a carrier that is large enough for your pet to stand and turn around in. Bring your emergency kit and keep a leash or other restraint device accessible.
You should know that most emergency shelters DO NOT allow pets, but often there are undercover car parks where you can shelter your car with pets as long as they are properly restrained.
These car parks are not designed as emergency shelters, but they are built to be structurally secure and to withstand most natural forces. Check the undercover carpark shelters map.
If you decide to stay at home, secure your animals so they do not run away. Remember: animal behaviour may change if they sense a threat.
What if you do need to leave your pet behind?
This is the worst case scenario, the last resort if you have exhausted all other options, and unfortunately, it needs to be considered.
If you need to leave your pets behind in a disaster or an emergency, you can download and print a pets are present sticker (137.2 kb) to attach to your front door. This sticker will help to inform emergency management responders that there are pets inside the premises.
If you do need to leave your pets, make sure you leave them indoors if possible:
- lock pets in separate rooms with small or no windows;
- provide adequate food and water in large, heavy bowls;
- do not tie your pets up if you are leaving them outside.
Once the emergency has passed and you return home, it is important to remember that your pet's surroundings may have been changed by the storm. Familiar scents and landmarks may no longer be there and your pet can easily become confused or lost.
Make preparing your pet emergency kit your job for this weekend. It is easy to do with the majority of items on the list being available at most discount stores. You’ll be thankful you did if you ever find yourself in the face of a natural disaster.