Don't forget your fur family in an emergency

Published date15 March 2023
One area where many such plans may be lacking is with the family pets. The safety of cats and dogs also requires forethought and special provisions to survive a 'big one', says pet insurance specialist PD Insurance chief operating officer Michelle Le Long

"The possibility of a natural disaster is never out of mind. It's one of the facts of life living in New Zealand, and with a little preparation it needn't be cause for undue concern," she notes.

"But do give a thought to your pets; taking similar precautions for the furry family members means assuring their wellbeing along with your own should the unexpected happen."


· The dangers we face

The risks faced by everyone in New Zealand are clear on the government 'Get Ready' web page. Hazards include earthquakes (most prominently) along with floods, landslides, storms - the recent Cyclone Gabrielle stands out - and tsunami and volcanic activity. Government advice starts with a plan for your household, and Le Long stresses this plan should include the pets.

"Everyone in your household should know what the plan is," she says.

"This includes preparing supplies that will get you through at least three days in terms of food, water and necessary medicine. Be sure there's enough for the fur babies, as you don't want them going without."


· What to pack for the pets

Government advice recommends at least nine litres of water for every person and long-lasting ready-to-eat food, with suitable options for babies and pets.

Other recommendations include toilet paper and large plastic buckets for an emergency toilet. A medical aid kit should be included too, along with any medications for chronic or specific conditions.

Besides sufficient food and water for your fur babies, consider bowls, carriers, leashes, kitty litter and poo bags. Comforting items such as favourite toys or a blanket are ideal supports for the stress your pets might experience in an emergency. Also bear in mind that even though there's every possibility additional household items will be available and useable if you're trapped...

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