We Love our dogs! If you’ve been around awhile you probably already know that! The last couple of years have been an eye opener for us! During Covid lockdowns, getting our furry friends vet care, whether routine or not, was challenging! Many veterinarian clinics provided emergency care only for several months! That meant routine visits for annual vaccinations, good health exams, etc. had to wait! Many 24hr. emergency vet clinics were no longer 24hr. in our area and those that did remain open, had long wait times! But the challenges didn’t end there! Supply shortages have also had a huge impact on caring for our dogs! Being a responsible pet owner comes with huge responsibility! It’s not about just providing food, water and shelter! There’s so much more that comes with being a responsible pet owner! Today, I’m going to talk about some preparations you can do to be prepared when SHTF.
- FINANCIAL PREPS; The world runs on money! If the power grid were to go down, banks will be closed for a time being. You will not be able to run to the closest ATM. Be ready! Have an emergency fund setup in your home to handle such cases. The amount will vary depending on the quantity of pets you have. The more you can squirrel away the better because you never know how long it will be until banks and ATMs are back up and running. Plan for vet emergencies and food expenses.
- FOOD PREPS; We always like to have a 90 day food supply on hand at all times! That means we have every day food stored away in it’s ORIGINAL PACKAGING! That’s the most important thing when storing pet food long term. The lining of feed bags is coated in a preservative to make the food shelf stable. Many folks bring a bag of kibble home and transfer it into another container. That’s fine short term, but not long term. Kibble stored in any other container other than its original packaging will go rancid! So, when storing for long term, keep it unopened and in its original packaging in a cool, dark and dry place. If you want to store pet food for longer periods, look into freeze dried options. Freeze dried food can have a shelf life that ranges from 5-25 years depending on what it is. Freeze drying as opposed to dehydrating removes more moisture content in the food which gives it a longer shelf life.
- WATER PREPS; This is a hard one! Water stored is bulky and heavy, but water is life! If you live in a rural area and your water comes from a well, you need electricity to run that well. If the power grid goes down, how will you get water? Sure, you may have a generator that can run your well pump, but for how long? Generators run on fuel, fuel will eventually run out and may not be obtainable when you need it! Have a backup plan! One option is to have a manual pump installed so you can still have access to fresh water from your well. If you have livestock, this is a MUST! If you only have a couple small pets, you can stockpile emergency drinking water pouches, these can be purchased through Amazon (pictured below). Worst case scenario, you have to haul water from a large natural water source such as a lake. In which case, you still need to think about purification so be sure to have means for boiling water to kill bacteria and parasites.
- FIRST AID PREPS; Emergencies happen! How are you prepared to handle them when they do if you can not get to the vet? Every pet owner should have a first aid kit handy for their furry friends! Some things to have in your kit are: gauze bandages, adhesive medical tape, butterfly sutures (these are non invasive), vet wrap, sterile eye wash, sterile scalpel/knife, scissors and scissors with blunt end, cotton balls, tweezers, tick removal tool, povidone-iodine prep pads, alcohol prep pads, tourniquet, tongue depressors, 3% hydrogen peroxide or activated charcoal to induce vomiting (always check with your vet or animal poisoning before administering), ice pack, disposable gloves, original Neosporin (do not use any wound ointment with pain reliever, this is toxic if ingested), syringe, blood clotting powder, towels, sterile saline solution for flushing wounds, pain/fever reducer (ask your vet), Benadryl (ask your vet for dosage for your animal), disposable pee pads, these are great for keeping a work area clean if you need to clean and dress wounds especially if outside etc., trash bag, flashlight/headlamp, know how to perform the heimlich maneuver or buy a choking device that serves as a plunger to force the lodged object out, have copies of your pets vet records with lists of any known allergies and emergency contact info in your kit too. NOTE: I am not a veterinarian so I have not included dosing for any meds, you will need to ask your vet for that info and keep it in your first aid kid.
- ALTERNATIVE CARE; Have a plan in the event that you are not able to care for your animals. If you have a house fire, accident, health crisis etc., how will you care for your pets? A better question, is WHO will care for your pets. Talk to your neighbors, family or friends about helping you should an emergency present itself that puts you in a position where you are not capable of caring for your pets. Have a spare house key hidden outside your home in case someone needs to go to your home to care for your pets. Have instructions written out and easy to find for your stand-in caretaker in case you are incapable of giving instructions, be sure to keep these instructions updated. Have leashes and collars within an arms reach of your pet. Our dogs are crated while we’re away and each dog has a collar and leash with their crate.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about! Being prepared BEFORE an emergency will help that emergency be less stressful and chaotic should it happen.