Animal & Pet Safety

Emergency Preparedness for Pets

Is your family prepared for a major emergency, evacuation or natural disaster? How about your pets? Making arrangements before the chaos of an emergency can increase your pet’s chances of survival and greatly reduce the fear and anxiety your pet will experience.
Create a pet emergency survival kit (Grab n’ Go Bag). Keep your pet’s kit with your family’s emergency survival kit for quick and easy access.

Some items to include:

  • Towel/blanket with your smell on it
  • Basic pet first aid kit
  • Can opener
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Fresh water and canned food
  • Any medication that you pet may need
  • Current vaccination records
  • Remember to pack poop bags!

Store your Grab n’ Go Bag in a pet crate. Check the kit twice a year (an easy way to remember is to do it when you check your smoke alarms bi-annually) to ensure freshness.

Its also a good idea to have a copy of your veterinarian contact information, vaccination information & medications if any.

If you must leave your pet behind, put your pet in a secure room without windows but with ventilation (ie bathroom), leave enough food to last 7 days and fill up the sink and bathtub with water. Do not to confine cats and dogs in the same space and cage all small animals and birds. Leave familiar bedding and safe toys that the pet is used to and ensure your pet is wearing up to date identification. Place a notice on your front door that there are pets in the house and where they are located which includes how/where you can be contacted.

Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the well-being of your pet in an emergency. You now have the tools and resources to assist you in meeting this responsibility. Your pet will thank you for it and one day just might save your life in return!


Emergency Preparedness for Farm Animals 

Click here for a great article on Horse EMERGENCY Preparedness!

Do you know how to protect your farm animals from risks posed by natural disasters, including collapsed barns, freezing weather, flooding, dehydration, and electrocution?
From barn fires to hazardous materials spills to natural disasters, emergency situations often call for special measures to shelter, care for, or transport farm pets, livestock, and poultry.

Safeguard your animals, your property and your business by taking precautions now, no matter what the risks are in your area. Additional information and assistance can be provided by your veterinarian.

Step 1: Know the risks and get prepared

Although the consequences of emergencies can be similar, knowing the risks specific to your community and your region can help you better prepare. It is even more important to be aware of the risks in your area if you live on a farm with livestock and poultry.

Plan to shelter in place

If you remain on your property during an emergency, you will need to decide whether to confine large animals in an available shelter or leave them outdoors.
Survey your property for the best location for animal sheltering. Ensure that your animals have access to high areas in case of flooding, as well as to food and clean water.
If your pasture area meets the following criteria, your livestock may be better off out in the pasture than being evacuated. A safe pasture has:

  • Native tree species only. Exotic trees uproot easily.
  • No overhead power lines or poles.
  • No debris or sources of blowing debris.
  • No barbed wire fencing. Woven wire fencing is best.
  • At least one acre (0.4 hectares) of open space. Livestock may not be able to avoid blowing debris in smaller spaces.

Ensure that you have enough food and essentials supplies for you and your family for at least 72 hours (three days).
If your property does not meet these criteria, consider evacuating your animals, but only on the advice of your veterinarian or local emergency management officials.

Plan to evacuate

  • Contact your local emergency management authority and become familiar with at least two possible evacuation routes. Familiarize all family members and employees with your evacuation plans.
  • Arrange in advance for a place to shelter your animals. Plan ahead and work within your community to establish safe shelters for farm animals, such as fairgrounds, other farms, racetracks, and exhibition centers.
  • Ensure that sufficient feed and medical supplies are available at the destination.
  • Be ready to leave as soon as an evacuation is ordered. In a slowly evolving emergency, like a hurricane, plan to evacuate at least 72 hours before anticipated landfall, especially if you will be hauling a high profile trailer such as a horse trailer. It may not be possible to evacuate heavy loads safely in high winds. Also, once the emergency hits roads may be restricted to emergency service vehicles and not open to traffic.
  • Set up safe transportation. You will need to have access to trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting each type of animal, along with experienced handlers and drivers. You may need access to a portable loading ramp to load, or unload, animals.
  • If animals are evacuated to a centralized location such as a fair grounds for shelter and will co-mingle with other animals of unknown health status try to:
    • Make sure your animals have sufficient identification (e.g. ear tags or brands) to be able to tell them apart from others.
    • minimize the contact among animals from different premises.
    • protect feed and water from contact with wild animals and birds. Verify the health and vaccination status of animals which must be co-mingled.
    • handle any mortalities in a manner to minimize the possible spread of contagious diseases.
    • monitor the health and well being of the animals on a daily basis, whether sheltered in place or evacuated. Seek appropriate veterinary medical advice and services on suspicion of an animal disease problem.
    • Accommodation will need to include milking equipment for dairy cows (as applicable). Milk may need to be stored separately from cows of other herds. Milk “pickup” companies should be notified where to pick up the milk.
  • Whether you evacuate or shelter in place, make sure that you have adequate and safe fencing or pens to separate and group animals appropriately.

When leaving the farm

  • Ensure that the electricity on the farm (typically on a power pole into the farm) is turned off.

Get Prepared

  • Make sure every animal has durable and visible identification and that you have proof of ownership for all animals.
  • Reinforce your house, barn, and outbuildings with hurricane straps and other measures. Perform regular safety inspections on all utilities, buildings, and facilities on your farm.
  • If possible, remove all barbed wire and consider re-routing permanent fencing, so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas during high winds.
  • Identify alternate water and power sources. A generator with a safely stored supply of fuel may be essential, especially if you have milking equipment or other electrical equipment necessary to the well being of your animals. Generators should be tested regularly to be sure they will work when needed.
  • Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week. Be aware that municipal water supplies and wells may be contaminated during an emergency.
  • Properly plug any abandoned water wells on the site. The exact method for this varies according to provincial/territorial regulations. Regardless of method, the intent is to prevent contaminated water from entering the groundwater. Production wells should also be checked to see that they are secure from flood waters. It may be necessary to decontaminate wells after a flood.
  • Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris; make a habit of securing trailers, propane tanks, and other large objects. If you have feed troughs or other large containers, fill them with water before any high wind event. This prevents them from blowing around and also provides an additional supply of water.
  • If you use heat lamps or other electrical machinery, make sure the wiring is safe and that any heat source is clear of flammable debris.
  • Label hazardous materials and place them all in the same safe area. Provide local fire, rescue and emergency management authorities with information about the location of any hazardous materials on your property.
  • Remove old buried trash—a potential source of hazardous materials during flooding that may leech into crops, feed supplies, water sources, and pasture.
  • If there is a threat of flooding, ensure that in-ground manure pits or cisterns are kept at least half full of water of other liquid to ensure that they are not damaged or “floated” by rising groundwater.
  • Chemicals should be stored in secured areas, preferably on high ground and/or on shelving off the ground. These areas should be protected so that chemical spills will not result in any runoff or seepage.

Step 2 : Make an emergency plan

  •  Make an emergency plan to protect your property, your facilities, and your animals. Create a contact list of emergency telephone numbers, including your employees, neighbours, veterinarian, poison control, local animal shelter, animal care and control, transportation resources, and local volunteer organizations.
  • Include an out of town contact person who is unlikely to be affected by the same emergency. Make sure all this information is written down, and that everyone on your farm and your contact person has a copy.
  • Review, test, and update your emergency plan, supplies, and information regularly.

Step 3: Prepare a farm emergency kit

  • Make an emergency kit so you have emergency supplies in one location, and let everyone know where it is. Check and update contents regularly. Include the following items and personalize according to your needs:
  • Current list of all animals, including their location and records of feeding, vaccinations, and tests. Make this information available at various locations on the farm.
  • Supplies for temporary identification of your animals, such as plastic neckbands and permanent markers to label animals with your name, address, and telephone number.
  • Basic first aid kit.
  • Handling equipment such as halters, cages, blankets, and appropriate tools for each kind of animal. Include bolt-cutters to quickly free animals in an emergency.
  • Water, feed, and buckets. Tools and supplies needed for sanitation.
  • Emergency equipment such as a cell phone, flashlights, portable radios (with weather radio band) and/or Weatheradio, and batteries. Know the weather radio broadcast frequencies and local weather information telephone numbers.
  • Other safety and emergency items for your vehicles and trailers.
  • Food, water, and emergency supplies for your family.

Farm Disaster Kit

Put together a disaster kit with what you will need on hand in the event of a disaster. Have the kit in a central location and let others know where it is. Regularly check to ensure that things are fresh and complete. Include emergency items, then add items that you use every day:

  • Current list of all animals, records of feeding, vaccinations and tests. available at several locations. Make sure that you have proof of ownership for all animals.
  • Have temporary identification of your animals, such as plastic neckbands or large permanent markers to mark your animals with your name.
  • Have a basic first aid kit.
  • Handling equipment such as halters, cages, and tools for each kind of animal.
  • Water, feed, and buckets.
  • Tools and supplies.
  • Emergency equipment such as a cell phone, flashlights, portable radios, and batteries generators.
  • Other safety and emergency items for vehicles and trailers, gas, oil, chains and tools
  • Food, water, and disaster supplies for your family.

Your local humane organization, agricultural extension agent, may be able to provide you with information.

The Common Disaster – Barn Fires

Preventing barn fires and being prepared in the event of a fire can mean the difference between life and death for your livestock. Knowledge of the danger of fires and how to deal with them is of the greatest importance and should be an ongoing concern to livestock owners.

Fire Prevention Is Key

  • Prohibit smoking in or around the barn. A discarded cigarette can ignite dry bedding or hay in seconds.
  • Avoid parking tractors and vehicles in or near the barn. Engine heat and backfires can spark a flame. Also, store other machinery and flammable materials outside of the barn.
  • Inspect electrical systems regularly and immediately correct any problems. Rodents can chew on electrical wiring and cause damage that can quickly become a fire hazard. _ Keep appliances to a minimum in the barn. Use stall fans, space heaters, and radios only when someone is in the barn.
  • Install a sprinkler system.
  • Be sure hay is dry before storing it. Hay that is too moist may spontaneously combust. Store hay outside of the barn in a dry, covered area when possible.

Be Prepared For A Fire

  • Mount fire extinguishers in all buildings, especially at all entrances. Make sure they are current and that your family and employees know how to use them.
  • Keep aisles, stall doors, and barn doors free of debris and equipment.
  • Have a planned evacuation route for every area of your farm, and familiarize all family members and employees with your evacuation plans.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers at each telephone and at each entrance. Emergency telephone numbers should include those of the veterinarian, emergency response personnel, and qualified livestock handlers. Also, keep your barn’s street address clearly posted to relay to the 911 operator or your community’s emergency services.
  • Be sure your address and the entrance to your farm are clearly visible from the main road.
  • Install smoke alarms and heat detectors in all buildings. New heat sensors can detect rapidly changing temperatures in buildings. Smoke detectors and heat sensors should be hooked up to sirens that will quickly alert you and your neighbors to a possible fire.
  • Host an open house for emergency services personnel in your area to familiarize them with the layout of your property. Provide them with tips on handling your animals or present a mini-seminar with hands-on training.
  • Familiarize your animals with emergency procedures and common things they would encounter during a disaster. Try to desensitize them to flashlights and flashing lights.

In The Event Of A Barn Fire

  • Immediately call 911 or your local emergency services. Keep that number clearly posted.
  • Do not enter any building if it is already engulfed in flames.
  • If it is safe for you to enter the barn, evacuate animals starting with the most accessible ones.
  • Move animals quickly to a fenced area far enough from the fire and smoke. Never let animals loose in an area where they are able to return to a burning building.