If you have pets, your furry critters depend on you to save them. By planning ahead, you should be able to safely escape any disaster with your pets.
Typically, if it is not safe for you, it is unsafe for your pets too. Your animals need to be protected, as would any member of your family.
At the same time, pets are great companion animals but when you’re also fighting for your survival, they can quickly become a burden.
And if you only have a small space to store some supplies, finding room for pet food can be difficult.
Training your pets with emergencies in mind and prepping for them too may be the deciding factor of their survival.
And well trained pets won’t put you in danger and can actually help in a survival situation.
Today we’ll cover some important tips for prepping with a pet.
Your Pets In An Emergency
There are two main survival situations to consider – a small natural disaster that may force you to evacuate and find shelter elsewhere, and the other is full blown SHTF.
We’ll go into more detail about both soon, but in both situations pets still need to eat and go to the bathroom, and they may get sick or need regular medications.
Planning To Evacuate….
1. Identify and document details about pet friendly areas in the vicinity and in surrounding area and also disaster relief agencies well before anything happens. Always keep the phone numbers of your vet, pet friendly hotels, nearby animal hospitals/shelters as well as any relief agencies around in your vicinity.
The Red Cross and other organizations have sometimes supplied portable animal shelters for domestic animals during a crisis in certain locations of the United States.
Most local disaster relief shelters are intended for people and don’t allow anyone to bring animals of any kind because of the mess and dangers of an animal attacking someone or another animal.
If you plan to go to a relative’s home, ask ahead of time if they are alright with taking your pets in too.
2. Make sure your pet has all of their current vaccinations / shots and that you have any necessary medicines available. Flea and tick medications are important too. Your house may not have fleas or ticks but shelters will have them and other temporary locations may have them too. If your pet requires any allergy medicines, heartworm medicine, or prescriptions, make a small stockpile of them.
3. Bring food for your pet. Dried foods in the original packaging would be easiest to store. Canned foods is heavy and will add significant weight to any pack or kit. Many times your pet can simply eat whatever you do, so it’s a good way to save space. Tuna or canned beef stew could be eaten by both of you, for example.
4. People generally need one gallon of water every day to stay hydrated, but your pets will not want that much unless they’re huge dogs, but you should still plan on at least 1/2 gallon a day for every pet.
5. Food and water bowls, along with covers, chew toys, leashes, collars, harnesses, maybe even warm clothes for certain pets should be in your kit. Make your leashes and collars from paracord and you can disassemble them in an emergency.
6. Indoor cats will still need their litter boxes in a shelter, and you must have scoops and bags to dispose of the used litter.
7. Up-to-date pictures and/or descriptions of your pets needs to be in the kit as well so other people can help look for for your animals if you get split up.
8. If you’re going to be in a shelter pet accidents will happen, so be ready. Pack newspapers and plastic bags for waste.
9. Pet id’s are important, though personal privacy should be a concern. Your pet should have tags attached with your information on them in case your pet gets lost or ends up at a shelter, but you’re also exposing your info during a time that you may want to remain more anonymous.
You may not be home during an emergency, and you might not be able to get home for a while. Find a reliable buddy or next door neighbor you can contact take care of your pet until you can get back home. And of course, any pet sitter would need to have a key or access to a hidden key.
You can be prepared for survival and still panic and freak out. Your animals will be freaking out too, but it may not be as obvious. They may not listen to you at all, so don’t trust them to simply run around you or obey your commands, be prepared with a leash.
SHTF Survival Situation
In a long term SHTF situation, everything changes. Think about if you could never go to a store again, what would you need to take care of and transition your pets off the grid?
Are you bugging in or bugging out? What would you do if your dogs make noise at the wrong time? How long can you spare food and water? Are they going to be more of a hindrance or a help?
These are very tough questions to answer, and sometimes it means making a hard choice. Check out this video for a breakdown of what you might face.
Training Your Pets For Emergencies
Don’t just assume your pet will do ok because he knows how to sit and fetch a ball. Just like you, your animal will be very stressed and not like himself at all. He might completely ignore you and simply run around like mad. He might bolt at the first chance and never come back, or he might become aggressive to everyone. These are his animal instincts and you can’t do a whole lot about them.
Your dogs should be trained to come, to sit and stay, and to be quiet. The last thing you want is a barking dog that won’t stop.
Once your animals get out into the world everything will be strange to them. Fires, smoke, guns, and other people and animals can all scare them. Spend time now training them around these things so they will remain obedient when it counts.
And train your animals to be useful too. I know they are cute and like family and we all love them, but in a serious situation everyone and everything should pull their weight. Train dogs to pull small carts and carry backpacks. Some breeds can also be excellent protectors.
Being prepared is the key to surviving with your pets. If you have more than one pet, put someone in charge of each animal and make sure everyone knows where the emergency pet supplies are.
Figure out ahead of time how you’ll take them with you and where you’ll go. Figure out how to fit them into your vehicle.
Keep your pets out of any floodwaters, and don’t let them drink any floodwaters either. Natural disasters can cause wild animals to be displaced too, and they will be nervous. Your pet’s natural instincts may get him hurt if he runs into them.
Plan now, and plan to go to a shelter and also for something on a grander scale. Train your animals well and remember they will be just as jittery as you.