Protect your Pets During Bushfire Season

Author picture Jessica

Safeguarding your Furry Friends

In this guide, we'll explore practical steps you can take to keep safe and keep your pets safe this bushfire season.

A dog & cat snuggle

Creating a Focused Evacuation Plan:

Living in a bushfire-prone area means that you need to be prepared. We suggest developing a comprehensive evacuation plan that not only covers your family, but your pets as well. Sharing this plan with potential pet sitters ensures that everyone is on the same page. Here's a detailed breakdown of the steps involved:

1. Identification:

  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and registered with your local council.
  • Attach a secure collar to your dog or cat featuring an ID tag that contains your phone number and address.

Ensuring everyone has up-to-date contact information will help in case you are separated during a potential evacuation.

2. Emergency Kit:

  • Create an emergency kit that includes essential items like pet food, water, medication and medical records. You can also place a few familiar comfort items such as favourite toys or blankets.

These items can help provide a sense of security in unfamiliar environments in case you are not able to return home immediately.

3. Pet-Friendly Accommodations:

  • Conduct some research to identify evacuation centres, hotels, or friends' homes that welcome pets, in case you need to evacuate.
  • Maintain a list of these pet-friendly locations within your evacuation plan, ensuring you have options during the chaos of a bushfire emergency or evacuation.

4. Practice Evacuation Drills:

  • Regularly conduct evacuation drills with your pets to familiarise them with the process, reducing stress during a real evacuation.
  • Keep leashes, pet carriers, and evacuation supplies easily accessible, streamlining the evacuation and ensuring a swift departure.

5. Share Responsibilities:

  • Build a network of trusted neighbours, friends or sitters who can assist with pet care during an evacuation.
  • Share your evacuation plan with them, ensuring they are aware of your pets' needs and any specific instructions.

6. Plan for Special Needs:

  • If your pet has special medical needs, make sure that medications and all relevant medical records are included in the emergency kit.
  • Communicate these needs with any potential caregivers and include detailed instructions on administering medications.

7. Emergency Contacts:

  • Compile a list of emergency contacts, including your veterinarian, local animal shelters, and friends or family who can assist with pet care.
  • Ensure these contacts are readily available in your evacuation plan.
A dog carries a big stick

Keeping Pets Safe at Home:

In scenarios where evacuation may not be possible, implementing measures to protect your pets at home becomes crucial. Consider these steps:

1. Indoor Haven:

  • During smoky conditions, keep pets indoors to shield them from respiratory issues caused by the inhalation of smoke particles.
  • Have a specific indoor safe space, equipped with familiar items like bedding and toys, where pets can retreat for comfort and security.

2. Hydration:

  • Provide multiple water bowls strategically placed throughout your home to ensure your pets stay hydrated, especially during hot conditions.
  • Schedule dog walks during cooler parts of the day to prevent burns on their paw pads from scorching pavement.

3. Microchipping Matters:

  • It's been mentioned before in this article, but the importance of microchipping pets and keeping their registration details up-to-date cannot be overstated. If anything, it will help facilitate a quicker reunion if you are separated at all.

4. No Pets Unattended in Cars:

  • Never leave pets unattended in cars, even during the preparation to evacuate during a bushfire. Rapidly escalating temperatures within confined spaces can lead to heat stress, posing a real threat to your pet's well-being.

5. Emergency Pet Supplies:

  • Maintain a dedicated stash of emergency pet supplies, including extra food, medications, and essential items, ensuring you have a sufficient stockpile in case regular supply chains are disrupted.

6. Pet First Aid Kit:

  • Create a comprehensive pet first aid kit, including items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications.
  • Familiarise yourself with basic pet first aid procedures, ensuring you can provide immediate care if needed.

7. Emergency Shelter at Home:

  • Designate a safe area within your home, such as a bathroom or basement, where you can take shelter with your pets in case of emergency.
  • Ensure this area is stocked with necessary supplies, including water, blankets, and pet essentials.
A cat unimpressed by its yarn

Aiding Wildlife and Supporting Animal Rescue Groups:

Here are steps on how you can contribute to wildlife conservation during times of stress or extreme heat:

1. Leave Water for Wildlife:

  • Strategically place water bowls in your garden, incorporating sticks or stones to prevent smaller creatures from becoming trapped.
  • Monitor and refill these bowls regularly, especially during periods of extreme heat.

2. Pool Safety for Wildlife:

  • Regularly inspect your pool for any animals, and create a 'bridge' using a pool float or a large stick to allow them to escape if they accidentally fall in.

3. Native Planting:

  • Consider planting native vegetation in your garden, providing a natural habitat for wildlife and supporting their survival during and after bushfires.

4. Create Wildlife-Friendly Spaces:

  • Designate areas in your yard for wildlife to seek shelter, such as brush piles or rock formations.
  • Avoid using pesticides and chemicals that can harm wildlife, promoting a safe environment for them.

5. Volunteer for Wildlife Rehabilitation:

  • Explore opportunities to volunteer with local wildlife rehabilitation centres, offering your time and skills to aid in the care and rehabilitation of injured animals.

6. Donate to Wildlife Rescue Organisations:

  • Contribute to organisations like Wires, RSPCA, and Wildlife Rescue Victoria, providing critical resources for wildlife rescuers and supporting their efforts.
  • Consider setting up recurring donations to ensure ongoing support for wildlife conservation.

7. Advocate for Wildlife:

  • Use your voice to advocate for policies and practices that protect wildlife habitats and prevent further environmental degradation.
  • Raise awareness in your community about the importance of coexisting with wildlife and implementing measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

8. Stay Informed and Share:

  • Keep emergency contact numbers, such as Wires, stored in your phone and share them with neighbours to create a community network of support.
  • Use social media platforms to share information on wildlife conservation, encouraging others to actively participate in aiding wildlife during bushfire seasons.
A smiling dog and its owner

What about my neighbours pets and local wildlife?

Never place yourself in any form of danger to assist an animal in need. The RSPCA advises to leave all rescues and injured wildlife to the professionals.

If you do notice your neighbours pets or struggling wildlife, there are number of organisations you can contact to assist. These vary from state to state, as does the legality of entering emergency zones, which means many volunteer organisations are excluded from assisting.

Here are some organisations that can assist as recommended by the RSPCA:










By preparing in advance and creating a detailed & focused evacuation plan, you can easily create a solid plan for keeping you and your pets safe this bushfire season. Keep it updated and above all - don't forget to share the details with your sitter.

Need a pet sitter for your summer getaway? Find a Pawshake sitter today!

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