Remember that pets can also be an important part of your SHTF plans. They can be useful in many situations. In fact, our dogs are trained to defend and round up our free-range chickens. Dogs can anticipate storms and defend your home from invaders. There are dozens of tasks they can perform, so keeping them around can benefit your family.
7 Things Crucial to Your Pet Surviving SHTF:
#1. Stockpile Necessary Items
This tip is probably the most obvious. Just like humans, pets need their items to stay healthy. Pet food is one of the most important items. Animals can eat other food, but that can take away from your family. Plan to stockpile their food or food that you can get on sale with coupons. You might also want to consider canned foods like tuna or beef stew for your pets.
TIP: Dog and cat food, because of that fat content, can go bad after a period. Make sure you pay attention to the expiration dates and rotate your stock. You can also try storing the food in Mylar bags with O2 absorbers.
Kitty litter is another important item. Cat feces can be toxic, especially to pregnant women, so litter is important. Also, you can use kitty litter to absorb the odor from makeshift toilets. There are a lot of different uses for kitty litter so that it won’t be a waste of your money.
There are other items you might want to consider such as:
- Leashes and collars
- Nail clippers
- A pet first-aid kit including allergy medication and antibiotics for bacterial infections
- Flea medication or treatment options
#2. Consider Making Your Own Animal Food
When we think about a long-term scenario, it may be smarter to learn how to make your animal food. Luckily, many homemade animal food recipes are financially smarter and more filling than typical dog food! You can search for recipes online, but most include some cooked meat and grain, such as rice.
The great thing about making your animal food is that you can use whatever meat you have on hand. If you recently shot a deer, you can use the scraps to create a week of dog or cat food. The bones can be cooked down into a hearty broth as a base for your food!
If you have cats and dogs, remember that cats need more protein than dogs! That may seem shocking, but it is a key reason why you shouldn’t give cat food to a dog. Dogs can develop stomach aches and diarrhea if given cat food for too long.
Another difference to remember is that cats need an amino acid called taurine. Dogs, on the other hand, create their taurine. If your cat lacks it, ut can develop heart disease and other deadly health issues. Cats are born hunters, loving the chase. Your cat has the instincts to chase and hunt mice. One thing to remember is that cats because they are a hunter, prefer warm or room temperature food.
TIP: Worried about not having enough meat for the time after your dry food runs out? Start canning meat now. You can use it for human meals as well!
#3. Access to Clean Water
Chances are you already have a storage of water for your family members, but did you remember to include each of your pets? Every pet should have a gallon per day. Farm animals require more than that. Pets rely on hydration just as much as we do!
For a typical SHTF scenario, you should have a week or two supply of water on hand. Your dog might need the food prepared with water, or your pet might be exposed to chemicals during the situation. Owners should also think about having clean water and eating bowls to ensure your animals have fresh water. Don’t just think you can use dirty bowls! Exposing your animals to pathogens and bacteria in a crisis is NOT wise.
#4. Obedience Training
You don’t need to send your dog to prepper obedience training school, but your dog must be obedient. Dogs should be trained to come, be quiet, sit and stay. If you are hiding, the last thing that you need is your dog barking and giving away your location. All animals require some training. Even a horse can be trained to stand still, making it easier to mount and dismount.
#5. Work on Desensitizing Your Animals
During an SHTF situation, your family may encounter strange sounds that don’t happen as often. All animals can spook easily because of strange sounds. Guns tend to be at the top of the list, yet even the smell of smoke can disturb some.
The best course of action is to work on desensitizing your animals before these situations arise. If you are target practicing, take your dogs with you. Integrate them into your regular task so that they can be obedient and calm during these situations later. The last thing you want is your horse spooking because of gunshots and running off.
#6. Find Tasks for Your Animals
As you live your life in these situations, your animal has to be able to put its weight. An animal without a service task is just an extra mouth for you to feed daily and sucking resources. You might not realize that right now, but you will quickly later.
All animals can complete tasks! Dogs can pull sleds or people. They also can be trained to carry a backpack and protect your home from invaders. Horses, donkeys, and mules have more obvious services to your family. Create a plan about how your animals can be more than just a companion to your family.
#7. Keep Them Healthy
Before any disaster scenario happens, you want to make sure that you work on keeping your animals healthy. A healthy animal is less of a burden and will pose fewer issues during an SHTF scenario. Keeping your pets healthy requires you to visit the vet regularly, staying up-to-date on vaccinations and giving your dog his medications. That also means you should give your animals regular flea treatments!
The rabies shot is important. Most states require you to have the rabies shot for your dogs, but it is important for preppers. After an SHTF scenario, you want your pets in tip-top shape. The rabies shot prevents them from injuries later.
We want all of our pets to survive emergencies with us. Pets can live through the crisis and excel, just like humans. If you have children or are single, having a few pets with you might make the situation even easier. Kids love their pets and find them a great comfort during hard situations!
If you want your pets to survive, take the time to plan out their SHTF survival plans, just like you would your own. Start creating a kit, stockpiling food and learning how to grow your own. Head to the vet soon for a yearly checkup and make sure your dog is doing well. All of these things contribute to your pets’ survival.