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Fighting the Flood: Looking After Your Pets

Animals are vulnerable when an emergency evacuation takes place. We urge pet owners to take your pets when an evacuation must occur. Animals, like every other member of your family, deserve the protection and security of safety preparation. Please follow these simple steps to improve your pets’ chances of survival.

Before an evacuation

Plan for your animals’ care well in advance if there’s a chance you may have to evacuate during a flood. Many pet-friendly facilities will book up quickly as the threat of flooding increases:

  • If you can’t take them to wherever you are going, arrange to have family or friends outside the evacuation zone look after them; or arrange to leave them at a kennel, humane society or at a veterinary office.
  • Make arrangements in advance for someone to evacuate animals for you, if you’re not physically onsite when an evacuation is enforced.
  • Update your pet’s tattoo ID, microchip ID and City of Winnipeg licence to its most current address. If your pet does not have any form of identification, it is a good idea to get some in case you are separated during evacuation.
  • Your pets should have proper collars, any required licence or tags and an ID tag with your name, address and phone number.
  • Make sure you have the documents that show your pets have all required shots (rabies, distemper), particularly if you’re using an animal shelter or kennel.
  • Prepare an emergency kit of supplies for your animals.

During an evacuation

  • When moving pets, ensure they are in a proper transportation kennel or container and have access to food and emergency care.
  • Keep proper animal control equipment with the animal, including leads or leashes. Keep your animals restrained at all times if you take them out of the evacuated areas. Unfamiliar surroundings, noises and smells can frighten them, causing them to act out or run away.
  • If an emergency evacuation makes it impossible for you to take your animals with you, put up posters on houses, barns, gateposts and public maps for rescuers. Include information about the kinds of animals that have been left behind, your contact information, and location.
  • If you cannot take your pets, leave enough food and water for at least three to seven days. Leave these supplies in an elevated area that poses no risk of electrocution to the animals (ex: top floor of a house or the loft of a barn or shed).
  • If you are forced to leave your animals behind, tell your veterinarian there are animals on the evacuated site and how to get in contact with you. Also, register your animals’ information with the Winnipeg Humane Society at 204-982-2021.

After an evacuation

When you return home, keep an eye on your animals:

  • Familiar scents and landmarks will have changed and can confuse animals.
  • Downed or exposed power lines, or disrupted wildlife may be a hazard.
  • Keep animals leashed or contained until they seem calm and act normally.

Emergency supply kit for animals

  • Animals should have all identification (collars, harnesses or halters with tags, microchips, tattoos). Identification should include (or give a contact number for) owner’s name, home address, phone number, emergency address and phone, special needs, medication, etc.
  • The transportation equipment you use and supplies you pack should also have the above contact information.
  • Enough fresh water and food (ex: dry kibble, canned food, hay, grain, seed) for at least one week, a can opener if packing canned food, toys and treats.
  • Food and water bowls, slippers, etc. (Spill proof containers work best).
  • Blankets and other coverings to keep animals warm, coverings for cages, jackets and animal bedding (ex: straw, shavings, towels).
  • Any heating devices that might be needed (ex: heat lamps for birds).
  • Restraints such as leashes, halters, ropes, etc.
  • A week supply of any medication your animals need, with clear instructions in case someone else is caring for your animals.
  • Sedation for animals that may need to be moved – talk to your veterinarian.
  • One week’s worth of supplies to clean up after animals (ex: paper towels, scoops and disposal bags, disinfectant, cat litter, litter box).
  • A current copy of vet records with contact information for your veterinarian and a copy of the ID for all animals.
  • A current photo of you with your animals/pets.
  • A current list of details about your animals’ care in case someone else is caring for them (ex: food/water amount/timing, exercise needs, medication instructions, how to deal with temperament, special needs).

Animal Care Line

The Manitoba government’s Animal Care Line co-ordinates requests for help from pet owners and hobby farm owners that may be affected by flooding.

Winnipeg: 204-945-8000

Toll free: 1-888-945-8001

Hours: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.

These lines are monitored seven days a week by the Chief Veterinary Office.

Manitoba Farm and Rural Support

The Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services offers confidential support, counseling and information for rural residents. Call toll free 1-866-367-3276 Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. or visit the Chat Support Line here.


Print off the following and keep them in your emergency kit, so they’re at your fingertips when an emergency strikes: