Consider livestock and pets in your bushfire survival plan

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CFA has reminded Victorians to remember to include their pets and livestock in their bushfire survival plan this year.


While you should always put your own safety above the safety of your animals, it’s important to ensure you have a plan for them in the event of a fire.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said during high-risk bushfire days, make sure you have bedding, food and water ready to go and make sure you have safe transport for them when leaving early.

“You can make sure your pets can be easily identified by microchipping them and including your details such as your phone number on their collars,” he said.

“Consider whether your leave-early destination can accommodate your pets.

“You should also practise how you will move your pets if you leave. It takes longer than you think.

“A separate plan is needed for horses and livestock as late evacuation will put them and you at risk.”

Ahead of high fire risk days, Larpent Dairy Farmer Mark Billing works with his staff and family to make sure his livestock are well protected.

“Grassfires present the biggest risk to our property, however we also have property in the Otways so we plan for bushfire risk there as well,” he said.

“We prepare the livestock with sufficient water and do a quick check of private firefighting equipment on the farm.

“We try to get feeding done either the day before a high fire risk day or really early in the morning – this is so we can avoid using tractors and machinery as much as possible, as they can also pose a risk of starting fires in paddocks.”

Every fire season, Mark briefs his staff on what to do should a fire start near the property.

“Everyone knows that if it’s safe to do so, we get the cows in the dairy yard where we have sprinklers that can keep the cows cool if a fire is on the property.”

“If you’re in a high fire risk area you have to plan for everyone and that includes your livestock or pets.

“We work hard to make sure it’s not a last-minute thought to have to move the cows, or any animals for that matter, and ensure they’re as safe as they possible can be.”

It’s safest for horses and livestock to be in a large, well-grazed area on your property where they can move freely with a supply of water.

Remember to remove all gear from horses and open internal gates to allow them to move around.

Do not allow them to roam freely off your property as horses and livestock are a serious risk on roads where visibility will be poor in the event of a fire.

For more information and tips on how to keep your pets and livestock safe during high bushfire risk days, visit

Your Pet Bushfire Relocation Kit should include:

  • Food and water
  • A second collar and lead
  • A carrier for cats and smaller pets
  • Bedding and a woollen blanket
  • A pet first-aid kit – seek your vet's advice
  • Any medications, along with a written list of what they are
  • Your pet's medical history, including proof of vaccination, and your vet’s contact details

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
  • For cats, rub damp hands over their coat or along their tummy
  • Place ice in a pillowcase 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


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Submitted by CFA Media