Monday, March 4, 2024

A summer reminder from CFA and RSPCA … time to consider our pets

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As the summer arrives, CFA, with RSPCA Victoria, is reminding Victorians to consider their pets and livestock in their bushfire survival plan. 

While families should always put their own safety ahead of their pets in an emergency, it is important to have bedding, food, and water ready to go for them should a fire cause concern.     

CFA Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan, said during high-risk bushfire days, be sure to keep your bushfire relocation kit for pets within easy reach so you are ready to leave early.  

“It can take longer than you think to move your pets, so make sure you can transport them efficiently and have towels and woollen blankets on hand to protect them,” CO Heffernan said.  

“Families should consider ahead of time whether their leave-early destination can accommodate pets, otherwise to have an alternative in mind. 

“We also recommend microchipping your pets so they can be easily identifiable, with your phone number on their collar. 

“On all hot days, especially on Extreme or Catastrophic fire risk days, it is also important that you try to keep your pets as cool as possible.” 

Separate plan

CO Heffernan reminds Victorians a separate plan is needed for horses and livestock as late evacuation will put you both at risk.  

“It is safest for horses and livestock to be in a large well-grazed and fenced area on your property away from roads where they can move freely with a supply of water,” CO Heffernan said. 

“Your plan should identify evacuation routes and which animals you intend to leave behind. You need to act quickly, as moving stock after a fire has started is dangerous.” 

RSPCA Victoria’s Head of Prevention, Rebecca Cook, said planning for potential emergency evacuation and knowing what you need for your pets is vital.  

“Planning for emergencies is such a crucial part of life in Victoria, particularly during the summer months,” Ms Cook said. 

Photos

“You should store photos on your phone and emails of important documents like registration, microchip numbers, vaccination certificates, medication directions, and your local vet. 

“We also recommend you identify pet shelters, establish an emergency guardian, and share your evacuation plan with someone you trust who can evacuate your pets if you’re not home.” 

Following the release of the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Summer last week, Victorians can expect to see increased fire risk in eastern, western and central Victoria this summer and should review their Bushfire Survival Plan for their families and their pets.  

For more information and tips on how to keep your pets and livestock safe during high bushfire risk days, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/pets

Relocation kit

Your Pet Bushfire Relocation Kit should include: 

  • Food and water.
  • A bowl for each pet.
  • A second collar and lead.
  • A carrier for cats and smaller pets.
  • Bedding and a woollen blanket.
  • A pet first-aid kit – seek your vet’s advice.
  • A favourite toy.
  • Any medications, along with a written list of what they are, alongside your pet’s medical history, including proof of vaccination, and your vet’s contact details. 

Tips for keeping pets cool  

  • Have fresh, cold water available at all times.
  • Ensure your pet has shade at all times or bring them inside into a cool room. 
  • Wipe your pet down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on. 
  • Wet your dog with cool water several times throughout the day.
  • Consider buying a wading pool for your dog.
  • For cats, rub damp hands over their coat or along their tummy. 
  • Place ice blocks in your pet’s water bowl. 
  • Place ice in a pillow case and place it near your pets.
  • Consider having your dog clipped if their coat is long and thick. 
  • Never leave your pets in a vehicle on a hot day. 
The Buloke Times 5 December 2023

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 5 December 2023.

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