Planning ahead for animals in emergencies

Page last updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2017 - 6:00pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

It is the responsibility of landholders to properly plan for emergencies in order to keep their animals safe. These include livestock, horses, companion animals and wildlife.

The best protection is to be prepared for a range of hazards and threats, and to plan how you will both respond to and recover from emergency situations.

Emergency plans should be regularly reviewed and updated.

Having a plan of action that can be implemented when an incident occurs is the foundation for emergency preparedness.

Be prepared

Plans with a local perspective can help identify common hazards. Through prioritising and mitigation you can reduce the impact of those hazards on property, animals and the community.

Understanding how to respond to future emergencies should consider what resources and people you can count on, the geographical location of your property, community characteristics and proximity to high-risk areas.


  • Identify available safety equipment on property or where to source equipment.


  • Identify how to source vehicles that can transport large and small animals, depending on circumstances
  • Identify evacuation routes for different types of hazards (fire vs floods).


  • Identify areas in or around the property where animals can be temporarily relocated with easy access to food and water.
  • Consider sheltering options for your animals, such as with friends and family, boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinary offices with boarding facilities, approved grounds, parks or neighbouring properties.

Veterinary services

  • Animals may become injured due to emergencies or during relocation that may require veterinary services.
  • Health problems can also arise when animals become stressed, changes in food regimes, dehydration or by coming into contact with sick animals sheltered in the same location.
  • It is advisable to maintain animal vaccinations up to date.

More information