Every once in awhile, I get a chance to watch the Nat Geo show, Doomsday Preppers. I find it very interesting. Why?
If you do–or don’t–believe that the “end of the world” is coming, there are so many ideas in the shows for providing for yourself and your family in case of any emergency–from hurricanes to tornadoes, floods or worse.
You can take a little of this and a little of that from the different shows to use yourself. The experts evaluations at the end of the show–rating the featured families preparedness for their chosen scenario–is helpful, too. You get to learn what is really needed–and what isn’t.
Pets need to be included, too!
One thing that I have never seen covered in the shows that I’ve seen is preparedness for taking care of pets, especially providing for them in the bunkers or shelters the preppers are building. I shudder to imagine that they are all planning on leaving the animals to fend for themselves, so I’ve decided to address this issue, hoping to ensure the pets can be saved, too.
Here are some areas of major consideration, which will require planning and preparation:
There are lots of freeze-dried pet food companies on the market, like Stella & Chewy’s, for instance. This way, you can stock more food in less room and the animals can eat the foods dry or rehydrated.
Make sure your animal likes the foods you are going to stock and has some occasionally in their regular diet. If you don’t, the sudden change of food can cause gastric upset and diarrhea.
Hill’s a/d–the same stuff for dogs and cats–is high calorie food in small cans and is great for feeding scared or sick animals. I would stock this as well (links below).
If you run out of pet food or don’t have the room to stock it, find out what foods your particular pet/s can eat that are common to humans. For instance, I know that my dogs can eat meats, white and sweet potatoes, butter, peas, beans, and lots more. If I were buying dehydrated “survival” or camping foods, I would lean more toward those, so that we could all share–just in case.
Remember, your animals are used to going out at least several times each day to run and play. Being confined to a small area will be hard for them to understand and may be unhealthy. IF you are building one of the luxury bunkers with TV and a frig, washer and dryer and more, how ’bout including a treadmill that both the people and animals can use? The key to making this successful though, is to train your animal to accept it–and not be afraid of it–before you are on “lock down.”
I would also stock lots of long-term chews, toys and extra bedding. Bored or stressed animals–without something else to chew on–will pull apart their own beds/blankets or even gnaw on their own feet!
This is a big one. While you may be able to train your kitty cat use the toilet–or biodegradable litter–(better start now), dogs are different. They sniff and circle and need to find the perfect place to deposit their “gems.” Decide on how you are going to train them to go indoors so start working on it before an emergency.
If it were me, I’d buy some pee pads now (biodegradable.) Then, train the dog to go on the pads now. (I’ll have more tips about how to do this on my Rescue Ranch blog for you about this: http://www.firststop-laststop.com/blog.html see Feb. 20, 2014 entry).
Pets need their supplements and medications, too. Since they will be limited in their activity, you may want to stock up on probiotics for their digestion; flax seed oil for health and inflammation; prescription meds–talk to your vet and explain what you are doing, especially if your pet is on long-term meds for their heart, diabetes, etc. (Note: There are now meds for diabetes that do not require refrigeration so see if you can begin the transfer to them now.)
I think it may be a good idea to stock “calming treats” to take the edge off if there is lots of noise outside or the pet is anxious about being confined. (See links below. There are prescription meds that you can get from your vet, too, if you think this will be a big issue.) The less of a change there is, the less the pet will be in shock. That goes for your family, too!
Supplements and First aid
I would do some research and talk to your vet to see if your animals can have kelp or potassium iodide or whatever you are going to stock for radiation, water purification, etc. I would also study tapes now on pet first aid–focus on issues like taking care of bloat; broken tails and limbs; open wounds; bites, life-threatening illnesses, etc. and practice. In an emergency, you don’t have much time to go find the book!
Many of the supplies that you use for people-care will be OK for the pets, but again, bring a list of your first aid kit items and have your vet check it over. Hydrogen peroxide is something that makes dogs vomit, for instance. Other things could be toxic to cats or dogs so stock the appropriate things for everyone.
Below, I have chosen some items that I believe to be invaluable in an emergency, especially with pets. (Note: If you order anything through the links on this blog, amazon will donate a small percentage to help the Rescue Ranch special needs animals with each sale.)