Caring for Animals During Natural Disasters A guide for pet owners and rescue volunteers In times of environmental events like bushfires and volcanic eruptions, it's important to keep the safety and welfare of animals. More often than not, in the face of fear and panic, owners and carers unintentionally leave them behind. PREPARE FOOD AND WATER Look for any food items left in your fridge that may be fed to your pets or other animals left without shelter. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR FOOD SUPPLIES ARE RUNNING LOW? Contact your local animal shelter that may have food stored for times like these. Look for any food items left in your fridge that may be fed to your pets or other animals left without shelter. COMFORT DISTRESSED ANIMALS They can feel disoriented and frightened by the chaos brought by natural disasters. There are various ways to calm animals and lessen their anxiety. You may try any of the following methods. HOW TO COMFORT ANIMALS Take away the stressor or remove them from the environment causing them stress. If an animal is out on the streets looking distressed due to loud thunder, keep them in a shelter with less noise. Distract an animal from what's causing them anxiety. Apart from placing an animal in a calm and quiet area, you may also give them a toy or some food to divert their attention. HOW TO COMFORT ANIMALS Talk to them in a soothing manner and stay closely by their side. Handle them with care and gentleness especially when you can tell they are feeling anxious and restless. Note that they may feel disoriented too especially since disaster can greatly affect their scent markers. Take them to a veterinarian for proper medication when things have calmed down. It's also important to check if animals caught any illnesses during the disaster so they can be treated properly. PLACE ANIMALS IN A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT Apart from reducing noise pollution, it's highly important to provide a clean space for the animal whether it's in your own home or an available location outdoors. Have trash bags and paper towels ready at all times to maintain the cleanliness of their space. PREPARE A CARRIER Having a crate or carrier is extremely helpful during dire times when you need to take an animal with you. OTHER ITEMS YOU MAY NEED Make sure your pet is wearing a leash or collar with a tag containing important information like its name, breed, and your contact details. Bring your pet's medical records so veterinarians know how to care for it in the best possible way when it gets injured or ill. Know how to bring your animals with you and where to go. Their evacuation is equally important as yours. If it's not safe for you to stay behind, it's definitely not safe for them too. PLAN YOUR EVACUATION Note that animals may not be allowed to enter some evacuation centers except for service animals. Hence, the importance of planning for their own logistics. Talk to your local animal organizations also for the best course of action. It is wise to know what your community is up to in terms of mass evacuation of animals. PREPARE A FIRST AID KIT Ask a veterinarian what items you need to keep in this kit to better care for animals affected by natural disasters. A kit may contain bandage rolls, ointment, and medicines. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FROM CONCERNED AUTHORITIES Seeking information on how to best care for different kinds of animals is a must. Listen to the advice of animal organizations and provide assistance. This is especially important after a huge calamities like wildfires or hurricanes where several animals may be displaced and are in need of care. VOLUNTEER During natural disasters, plenty of groups assemble to care for animals that have been affected. Help when you can and learn how to approach these animals in the best possible way.