Protecting Your Pets During Fire Season
With the recent devastating fires, it is important to have a plan in place for our furry family members. They are lucky they have us, most of our native wildlife isn’t so lucky. Some of us have experienced how close the fires have come to our own homes on the coast and usually when it’s time to evacuate it’s too late. Here are a few strategies that you may consider having on board before it’s too late.
- Do community research and find out where your nearest pet-friendly refuge station is. It may be your nearest town hall or kennel.
- Have a backup plan in case you need to move your pet’s earlier than yourselves, this could be a friend or relatives.
- Get cats accustomed to using their carrier cages, even have one open in the house and restock with their favourite treats to make it easier on the day of an emergency evacuation.
- Be familiar and in sync with your cat’s daily routine. They are creatures of habit and this will work in your favour when trying to locate them in a hurry.
- Eliminate the option of hiding under beds and furniture by blocking these off. This is a place cats will seek if they are stressed or frightened and it is difficult to get them out in a hurry.
- Another reason why crate training your puppy could even save their life! If your pet is familiar with their crate at home and that’s where he seeks comfort and shelter, it will save you time when in desperate need. The last thing you want to be doing is chasing your dog or cat around the house during a disaster!
- Have your pets accustomed to traveling with you in the car? Start early with your puppies so that when the time comes, they remain stress-free.
- Keep in contact with neighbours, if you are not home and your pet is then your neighbours could be lifesavers.
- Ensure your pet’s microchipping details are up to date with your current address. Plus have your phone number details clearly displayed on their collar.
- Keep an eye on high fire danger days and prepare early for the most at-risk days.
- Have a ‘ready-pet box’. Include in here duplicate water bowls, leads, spare halters for your horse, duplicate food tins or similar to last a week, a woollen blanket for soaking to cool pet’s down or simply just to wrap them up and a spare cat carrier near and handy. Keep this box in an easy to access place ideally by the front door, every second counts!
- If it’s too late to evacuate and you are either forced to leave your pet’s behind or they are with you in your house then secure them. Stay in the barest room in the house with no paintings or plants and have plenty of water bowls available.
- Practice your evacuation plan… Our pets are so important to us and if you don’t have a strategy in place then lives could be lost. You’ll forever regret not making an emergency plan and practicing…. just once.
- If your pet has suffered burns or smoke inhalation then get them to your nearest vet immediately and if it is safe to do so wrap them loosely in a cotton towel to transport.
Keep in mind our natives too! We are all part of the same beautiful planet and sometimes they need our help too.
- You could place shallow water bowls around the yard and even in higher places like forked branches so that they too have access to freshwater.
- Keep a spare towel or box in your car in case you see injured wildlife on the side of the road.
- If you do find injured wildlife, take them immediately to your local vet, do not attempt to feed or care for them at home. Native species require specific care and nutrition.
- Check your pool this summer for any fallen wildlife causalities.
- Keep your pet’s inside or contained to a yard at all times to avoid unwanted interactions with wildlife.
Dr. Andy Pieris is a veterinarian and owner of Casuarina Seaside Vet in NSW with her husband Josh who is also a vet. Dr. Andy was most recently crowned ‘Most Trusted Vet’ in a national search for the next ‘Bondi Vet’, she is also an ambassador for Dr. Zoo pet products.
For more information, visit MooGoo.com.au