Caring for animals in natural disasters
There are some simple steps to follow when addressing the needs of animals in natural disasters:
- Make sure your animals have clean water and food.
- Be careful when handling animals, as they may be frightened or disorientated.
- Be aware of straying stock and wildlife, and be careful on the roads.
- Do not allow animals in extreme distress to suffer.
- Contact your local veterinarian regarding sick or injured animals, and contact the RSPCA or your local council regarding lost and found animals.
Food and water
The most important consideration in the short term is to ensure your pet or animal has access to suitable, good-quality water.
Food supplies could be in short supply and, with damage to roads, resupply into an area could be delayed.
Owners and carers of companion animals should ration any existing unspoilt feed until new feed can be accessed. You should first use suitable food items from the fridge, which could spoil due to interruptions in power supplies, and conserve any dry or tinned food.
If food supplies are low or have run out, contact your neighbours, any local animal shelters, businesses and industry organisations to arrange food supplies. Primary producers should refer to information about fodder assistance.
In the longer term, consider moving your pets or livestock to a friend or family member's property if necessary.
Animals found to be starving should not be allowed to suffer and should be fed, relocated or humanely killed as a last option. Contact your local vet for advice if this is required.
Disposing of animal carcasses
Contact your local council for assistance with animal carcass disposal following declared natural disasters. Any deceased animals must be disposed of safely. Human health concerns, work health and safety precautions and environmental impacts must be considered.
Read more about managing livestock disposals after the 2019 northern Queensland floods.
- RSPCA - 1300 852 188 or 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - 13 25 23
- Department of Environment and Science - 1300 130 372 (wildlife)
- Find out about infectious animal disease issues after a flood.
- Learn about plant poisoning issues after a flood.
- Read about foot disease in animals after a flood.
- Learn about parasite problems after a flood.
- Find information on bringing animals home after a natural disaster.
- Read the Displaced and lost animals (PDF, 117KB) fact sheet for advice on caring for animals displaced during floods or heavy rain.
- Read the fact sheet Livestock diseases following floods (PDF, 198KB).