Prepare your pets for bushfires

Media release date: 
Monday, 21 October 2013

With more than 50 bushfires burning across New South Wales, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is warning of serious impacts of bushfires on Australian wildlife and pets.

Dr Robert Johnson, pet and wildlife expert from the AVA, said that with so many Australians living in bushfire zones it’s critical that they are prepared in an emergency and pet owners should include their pets in any emergency plans.

“Planning is the key and can not only help save human lives but also save pets’ lives.

“The decision to evacuate or stay at home is always a critical one. Try to confine your pets to the safest enclosed room of the house, such as the bathroom, where they can be quickly collected if you need to leave urgently, and make sure you have their carry cages and leads on hand.

“Put together an emergency kit for your animals with lots of non-perishable food and water in spill-proof containers.

“If you become separated from your pet in an emergency evacuation advise local vets, animal welfare shelters and rescue organisations. It’s crucial that your pet is microchipped and registered with the local council to make it easier to be re-united in an emergency,” he said.

Fires don’t just threaten people, their homes, pets and livestock, but the wildlife that make their homes in bushes, hollow logs, trees and underground.

“While it’s absolutely tragic when wildlife is destroyed or injured in a bushfire it’s important not to put your own life at risk when rescuing an animal.

“Extra care should be taken with venomous or aggressive animals. If you find injured or orphaned wildlife call your nearest wildlife rescue organisation or local vet,” Dr Johnson said.

Veterinarians across fire affected areas are working with wildlife rescue groups, and treating pets and wildlife in the aftermath of the fires.

The NSW bushfire information hotline is 1800 679 737.

AVA brochures on protecting horses, livestock and pets in natural disasters are available for download from the AVA website at

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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