Animals in Emergencies

If nothing else, recent natural disasters in New Zealand and around the world have shown we all need a plan for an emergency or disaster situation.
We need to plan for our pets as well. Every home is vulnerable in an emergency, and in those containing pets advance preparation for them is as important as it is for other members of your family. 


Wellington SPCA's National Rescue Unit (NRU) is comprised of a group of internationally qualified emergency response volunteers who provide a technical rescue service for trapped animals, as well as responding to disasters that may strike.

Find out more about our National Rescue Unit



Our Emergency Reserve is made up of volunteers who respond to animal emergencies after hours. They also respond to disasters and other major incidents involving animals.

Wellington SPCA has put this team in place to ensure it has people with the right skills to look after animals in emergency or disaster situations. 

Find out more about our Emergency Reserve Team


  • Have an emergency plan
  • Prepare a full survival kit, including provisions for your animals
  • Make sure all of your pets are microchipped


If you have an emergency plan, you and others in your family will be prepared in the event of a natural disaster. You will know where to locate your full survival kit and will have made provision for your animal's welfare. 

If you have to leave your home or area you need to take your pet with you. Your pet cannot survive without you, and you may not be able to return to your property for several days. 


If you have to leave your home or are in a situation where water, power and food supplies are limited or unavailable, you need to be prepared. This is where a survival kit comes in handy.  

You may not be in a position to get it during the initial emergency, but you may be able to secure it afterwards, and it may be the crucial difference in the survival of your pet. 

Items in a survival kit include:

  • A 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 or blankets - used blankets are great as they provide a familiar smell to your pets for reassurance
  • Another 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 3 days (ideally the same food and water as normal to prevent sudden change in diet)
  • Enough medication (if needed) for 3 days
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Familiar toys
  • A tin opener
  • Emergency contact list for your local authorities and vet
  • Litter tray and litter (for cats)
  • Plastic bags / doggie bags
  • Newspaper
  • Cleaning solution
  • Container to carry everything
  • A first aid kit for animals

If is essential that your pet is microchipped beforehand - as your pet will be a lot easier to locate if you become separated. The Christchurch earthquakes had a very successful relocation rate for animals that were microchipped. 

As soon as you realise your pet is missing do a quick search of home, road, immediate neighbours. Post an ad on Call SPCA, Animal Control, vets and get your first round of flyers out in your street.

Animal care

Learn about caring for your pet as well as legal minimum standards for care.  

Pet insurance

Find out how Southern Cross can help provide protection for your beloved family pet.