SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Keeping your pets safe during a flood

During extreme weather scenarios such as flooding, it is vital for households to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Companion animals are their owners’ responsibility during emergencies too, so SPCA wants to help Kiwi pet owners prepare to best care for their animals during these stressful times.

There are several threats posed by floodwaters to companion animals, so if there is flooding in your area, here are a few things to remember to keep your pets safe:

  • If any floodwater has come into your home (or is likely to), bring pets that live outdoors inside, and shut your pets away in a room upstairs if possible, with access to plenty of fresh food and water
  • For animals who can’t come inside, such as horses and farmed animals, make sure they have access to high ground, clean water and shelter
  • Don’t take dogs outside until it is safe to do so. Do not allow dogs to swim in flood water (much as they may seem to want to!) as the water may be contaminated and hidden objects within the water could injure them
  • To avoid cats getting trapped if water levels rise, keep them contained indoors. You can find information on keeping your cat safe and happy at home here

What to do if you have to leave your home

If your home is at risk of flooding or landslides, you may need to leave quickly. If you are told to evacuate, find somewhere to stay (e.g. a friend or relative’s house) that is on higher ground. Take your pets and emergency supplies with you.

Refer to this checklist to help with planning for your animals during an emergency.

Be aware that your insurance company may move you into temporary accommodation and it might not be possible for your pets to stay with you. In this instance, reach out to friends, family, or your wider community. You can also look for animal-friendly accommodation, boarding kennels, or pet-sitters who could take your animal in.

After the immediate danger subsides

Make sure your pets have clean water sources. Flood waters may be contaminated, so it is important not to let them drink from them as it may cause illness.

Check your property for hazards such as damaged fences, or any other damage that may pose a risk to your animals.

Monitor your pets, and try to create a calm environment. Extreme weather events can be stressful for our animals, as well as for us, so try to comfort them as much as they comfort you during uncertain times. Avoid loud noises and other stressors to keep your animal as calm as possible.

Who to contact in the event of an emergency

In natural disasters such as flooding, emergency responses involving displaced animals are coordinated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). They can be contacted for emergency response support on 0800 222200.

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