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Advice for animal owners during severe weather


Advice on caring for your pet during severe weather:

 If you need to evacuate:

If you have animals contained near water ways that have the potential to flood, move animals to higher ground if it is safe to do so. If you are required to evacuate, take your pets with you.

If you come in contact with an animal that has been in flood waters, ensure you change out of contaminated clothing and wash your hands thoroughly.

Caring for your pet(s) and/or livestock:

Your local veterinarian is on standby to assess your animals. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns relating to your animal’s health.

If you need assistance with animal welfare contact your local SPCA for further information.

Stray animals:

If you find an animal that you do not own and it needs immediate medical attention please take small animals to your local veterinarian or contact your local SPCA. For large animals contact MPI on 0800 00 83 33.

Lost and found animals

If you have lost or found a pet, you can advertise at or read through our tips here.

Additional information for Rural / lifestyle block owners/horse owners:

Flood Water

It is important to get animals off contaminated or inundated pasture so that they can be fed, watered and contained, and to ensure that adequate feed supplies are available until animals can be returned to pasture.

When animals are left in flood waters for an extended period several issues can occur.  Due to contact with contaminated water, skin can be prone to bacterial infections and chemical burns causing skin to sluff off. To reduce to risk of such injuries remove animals out of flood water as soon as it is safe to do so.  Additionally, decontamination of the skin/coat can be achieved by hosing the animal with non-contaminated water.

Other injuries

Animals will run in various directions to escape from raising water.  They will run or swim through fences or other obstacles in their way.  Do a visual assessment of your animals looking for penetrating wounds which may just look like a small hole or tear. Contact your local veterinarian if you have any concerns about injuries to your animals.

Containment and Identification

As fences may have been washed away, stock containment could be an issue along with identifying animals through ear tags (as they may have torn off).  If you find a large animal and are unsure about the ownership please contact MPI 0800 number, animal control or the SPCA for advice. If you need assistance to reinstate fencing for stock containment farmers please contact Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254.

Feed and Water

Pasture and stored feed may be soiled.  You may therefore need to purchase supplemental feed for your stock.   

Do not allow animals to drink flood waters as it can be contaminated with biological waste and chemicals.  If stock water is compromised a contingency plan for stock water access will need to be developed.


Your pet survival kit should include:

  • Pet carrier or crate for each animal with your name and mobile number on it
  • Pet collar, lead and/or harness for each dog
  • Muzzle for each dog, even if they are friendly (emergency workers may need to handle your animal)
  • Towels and blankets
  • A spare set of pet identification documents - a collar and tag with your contact details (if your pet is not microchipped)
  • Vaccination, veterinary records and photos of your pet
  • Enough food, treats and bottled water for three days
  • Medication (if needed) for three days
  • Food/water bowls
  • Familiar toys
  • A tin opener
  • Emergency contact list for your local authorities and vet
  • Litter tray and cat litter
  • Plastic bags/doggie bags
  • Newspaper
  • Cleaning solution
  • Container to carry everything
  • A first-aid kit for animals