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Animal Care


Emergency preparedness

As we head into another wildfire season, it’s important to think about what you would do in an emergency. Part of that planning is being prepared for your pets and livestock.

Be pet prepared for an emergency

It is always best to take your pets with you when you evacuate. Your pet emergency kit should contain everything you will need to care for your animal away from your home for up to two weeks.

Your kit should include

  • sturdy pet carrier or crate (labelled with pet’s name & your contact info)
  • food & bottled water (7–14 days worth)
  • medications (2 weeks supply)
  • copy of pet’s medical records and vaccinations (in waterproof container)
  • food & water dishes
  • extra leash, harness and collar
  • kitty litter and tray (foil roasting pans work as an alternative litter box)
  • extra toys & blankets

Use your pet carrier to store your emergency supplies.

Pet evacuation centre in Edmonton - May 2016

It is also important to have your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date and to have a record of them with you. If you need to take your pet to any type of boarding facility, you will be required to show proof your pet’s vaccinations are current.

Evacuating without your pets

In some circumstances, you may be forced to evacuate without your pet. Reuniting with animals during a disaster can be complicated.

To improve your chances of being reunited

  • have pets licensed with your local municipality so details of the animals are established and on the record
  • have up-to-date ID for animals including
    • tattoo or microchip
    • ID tag with animal’s name, your phone number & urgent medical needs
  • keep recent photos of pets with you (on your phone)

If you must leave your pets behind, increase their chances of survival by

  • not confining or tethering them
  • leaving out lots of food
  • leaving out lots of water such as filling a bathtub, sink or large container
A dog is reunited with its owner in Edmonton - May 2016

Managing livestock during an emergency

Emergencies such as floods and wildfires can happen with little warning. Farmers and ranchers need to have a comprehensive plan in place in order to manage and move their animals, and to help cope with stress and uncertainty.

Make a plan

Loading and transporting livestock can be a time consuming process. It is critical for farmers and ranchers to develop a plan on how and where you will move animals on short notice should conditions dictate a full evacuation.

Explore options in advance for where you might move your livestock if you are forced to evacuate. Plan how you will move the animals, including what equipment is available for loading and transporting, and who can help you load.

Create a contact list of people who you may need to call during an emergency.

The list should include

  • neighbours
  • livestock handlers
  • veterinarians
  • feed suppliers

If time allows, have feed and a water source in place at the location where the animals will be moved. Ensure food and water sources do not require power.

Ensure animals are visually identifiable

An emergency evacuation will be chaotic. Livestock owners should ensure their animals are visually identifiable.

This includes

  • identification on the animals with your contact information
  • a file with all ID & ownership records
  • all records stored onsite, offsite & digitally
  • utilizing the Alberta Government’s Premises Identification Program (PID)
    • links livestock and poultry to land locations or premises
    • allows emergency officials to contact livestock owners if an emergency situation is imminent for their location

Leaving livestock behind when evacuating

Livestock owners may not have time to move livestock during a disaster, or it may not be practical to move an entire herd or flock.

If animals need to be left behind, take steps to give them their best chance of survival by taking the following steps:

  • leave minimum 72 hours food & water
    • ensure food & water sources don’t require power
  • open gates or reroute fencing
  • close barn doors so animals do not go back inside
  • ensure livestock handling equipment is readily available for emergency responders
  • connect with emergency contacts about ongoing feeding & watering of animals
  • ensure animals are visually identifiable
  • store records listing your animals in a conspicuous place in or near your barn

Additional resoucres

You can find additional resources on preparing for disasters and other emergencies on the Government of Alberta website.

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