In the event of an SHTF event, you will find a certain peace of mind in that you made sure to prep for your pet ahead of time. Often, when there is a disaster, pet owners do not have a plan in place for their furry companions, and as a result, they are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. That is why it will prove essential to not only have a solid plan but to have the necessary supplies on hand that will aid in taking care of your pet.
If you do not plan ahead of time, your pet could very well pose an additional hindrance in an SHTF situation. The good news is that you still have plenty of time to prep for them, which will not only keep them alive but may end up with them possibly keeping you alive as well.
The single most important step in prepping your pet is that you instill obedience. You will need to know, without a doubt, that when you give command that they will obey it—in all situations. The most important command to teach, and considered one of the most difficult, is that of stay. It is vital that this command is developed, before moving on to any of the other commands.
There are other areas that you will need to train your dog as well. These include the command to bark, to be quiet, and to refuse any food offered by strangers. Some individuals have successfully trained their pets to carry their own bug out supply bags.
Water And Food
Dogs, just as humans, need water, so make sure that you add enough for them to your anticipated supply of water. To determine just how much water you will need on hand, you will need to assess how much your dog weighs. The usual rule of thumb is for each pound of body weight, your pet will need an ounce of water.
Keep in mind that this is only the bare minimum, and the weather conditions will dictate how much more may be needed. Other than heat factoring into how much water your pet will need, is when they are sick or when the food they are provided has little to no water content, such as dry dog food.
When it comes to their diet, our furry companion’s bodies run best on food with high protein content. If an SHTF scenario hits, and lasts long-term, this may pose a significant problem, unless you have sufficiently stockpiled ahead of time. There is the option of hunting for your pet’s needs, this can pose a challenge for most owners.
As with water, the amount of protein your pet needs in its diet contains many variables. However, as a general rule, an adult canine that isn’t a lactating female (as they will need more protein) needs 15-30 percent of the content of their food to contain high-quality, easily digestible protein.
The best choice for stocking up, when it comes to food for your pet, is the canned variety. You need not do anything special to store it and it has a longer shelf life, and it will also provide a source of water that most other choices will not.
Health And Well-Being
When transversing the many issues that come with bugging out in an SHTF event, it is important to remember that your pet will be coming into contact with a wider variety of wildlife, as well as strange dogs, than they would normally.
For this reason, we can not stress how important it is that your pet is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations. This goes doubly so for rabies, as not only can it be deadly for your pet, but it can be just as fatal for you if your pet is infected.
Having a first aid kit on-hand, geared towards your pet, is a good idea. Make sure that contents are those of higher-quality and aimed at the care and well-being of pets. It is important to remember when it all goes south, you will be the only source of veterinary care.
Some important items that you might want to consider including in your first aid kit are bandages, gauzes, disinfectants, antibiotics, hemostatic agents, flea treatment, painkillers, muzzles, treats, and any other types of medications that your pet may currently be taking.
The Big Bug Out
If there is indeed a possibility that you may be bugging out with your pet, there are some essential items that you will need to make sure you have in their bug out bag:
- Leash—don’t forget a leash, as when you are traveling through unfamiliar territory, you will need a method for controlling your pet.
- Bowls—one for food, one for water, and in an effort to save space, opt for the type that stack.
- Poop bags—you won’t need much, just a roll of around 100 bags will more than help in staying clean.
- Dog paw-wear—when experiencing prolonged travel, your pets feet can tend to dry, resulting in cracks, cuts, and sores. You may also want to include a container of Vaseline, as this will work wonders for their feet as well.
- Outerwear—A simple dog coat will usually get the job done, however, some smaller breeds will need a little more protection to keep them warm in colder weather.
- Toys—when you stop to camp at night, having a toy on hand can improve your pet’s emotional and mental health. Even better, bring their favorite toy long, to help during those moments of anxiety and stress.
As a pet owner, it is a vital step to remember to prep for your pet. For many of us, they are a significant part of the family, and when the time comes, we need to make sure they are safe from harm like the rest of you.