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Dog Safety in Bush Fires

Updated: May 11


With Australia burning out of control here is everything you need to know to keep your four legged friend safe.



If you are leaving early with your dog, preparation is key; have bedding, food and water ready to go and make sure you can transport them – always put your own safety before the safety of your pets.  


Long before any bush fire consult your local Council, Department of Primary Industries or the RSPCA for information on animal refuges in your area. Listen to the local radio for updates on bush fire conditions in your area and check www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.



Decide what your trigger will be to put your Bush Fire Survival Plan into action. Because of the potential stress on animals in a major bush fire, we recommend that you relocate your pets early to a safer location.


If you are going to stay and actively defend your property, small domestic animals should be put in a secure place, a small room (toilet, laundry), a place that will be easy to clean after the event. Dogs can sense danger and could easily become stressed. Keep a watch on them and reassure them.


Your Pet Bush Fire Relocation Kit Should Include:

  • Food and water

  • A bowl for each pet

  • A second collar and lead

  • A carrier for small dogs

  • Bedding and a woollen blanket

  • A pet first-aid kit – seek your vet's advice

  • A favourite toy

  • Any medications, along with a written list of what they are

  • Your pet's medical history, including proof of vaccination

  • Your vet's contact details     



Bush Fire Survival Plan:

  • Do not tie animals up during a major emergency area, it could be fatal for them. In bush fires, move animals to a well grazed or ploughed area, preferably around the home and sheltered away from the winds.

  • Check your property insurance for (animal) related items. R

  • If it is your decision to relocate your dog(s), this MUST be done long before the bush fire is in your area.

  • Make sure your animals are clearly indentifiable with your contact details on all lables and tags.

  • Do your animals have any special needs or require medicines or vet assistance?

  • Make a note of these requirements and put it with your relocation kit. B

  • efore you leave your property check that your chosen place to relocate your animals is accessible.

  • Do not leave at the last minute, this is the most dangerous option for you and your animals.


Hot Weather:


Heat stress in dogs and cats occurs when they are unable to maintain their normal body temperature on a hot day. On all hot days, especially days of Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger, keep your pets as cool as possible. Keeping your pets comfortable on a hot day is your responsibility.


Look for the Warning Signs:

  • Excessive panting

  • Salivating

  • Pets that whine or seem agitated.

  • In cases of severe heat stress or heat stroke, pets may stop panting and vomit.

If your pet shows these symptoms, consult a vet immediately. Keep your vet’s contact details in your Bush Fire Survival Plan.


Tips for Keeping Pets Cool:

  • Have fresh, cold water available at all times

  • Ensure your pet has shade at all times or bring them inside into a cool room

  • Wipe your pet down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on

  • Wet your dog with cool water several times throughout the day

  • Consider buying a wading pool for your dog

  • Place ice blocks in your pet's water bowl

  • Place ice in a pillow case and place it near your pets

  • Consider having your dog clipped if their coat is long and thick

  • Never leave your pets in a vehicle on a hot day


This article was based on the Bush Fire Safety Guide for Pets by NSW RFS.



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