Tag Archive: Animals

Preparedness Plans for Animals

Guest post by Stephanie Dayle


If you own animals, you need to have an emergency plan for them too.  Leaving your animals at home with extra food and water is NOT A PLAN.  Not only does it put them in danger but it endangers the lives of people who might try to rescue them.

If you have pets or livestock, you need to be able to keep track of them, care for them, feed them, and protect them during an emergency, even a LONG TERM emergency. If you can’t do that, you don’t need them. This sounds harsh but reality is sometimes.  You need to think ahead with plans for water, food and evacuation.



Owning horses, chickens or other livestock means you always should keep enough hay or feed on hand to feed them and make it all the way through the winter until the next growing season.  You also need a way to get water to them if there was a long term power outage.  This is the only way to completely protect them from anything that could affect the area’s supply of feed and water.  For preparedness purposes avoid the bad habit of buying a ton of hay or a bag of feed, using it, then running to town to buy more only when it’s gone.  What if there was no hay available in town or anywhere else near by?  Instead, get into the habit of having a large supply of feed that you rotate by using the oldest first and putting the new stuff in the back.  You would continue buying new feed to replace what you just used, but you would have a large supply on hand at all times.

Don’t be to concerned about it going bad, most livestock feed will last at least 6 months if not longer when stored properly, most commercial dog and cat food will last up to a year if not longer.  If you can’t afford that much feed or don’t have the storage space for it, you might consider reducing your herd or adding storage space so that it meets the demands of at least one winter for all of your animals.


The only exception to this would be a butchering plan.  With livestock, such as cattle meant for beef, it is possible that if faced with a draught (such as ranchers in Texas and the midwest recently faced) or a food shortage, the animals may be butchered at an earlier date than originally planned.  This may not produce the best meat, but it would prevent any suffering on the animal’s part.  Euthanizing your animals should only be a last resort.


Other animals need a backup food supply too.  Cats, dogs, birds – no one wants to run out of food right in the middle of a crisis so have at least a 3 month supply if not more stored at home (we have at least an eight month supply on hand a all times).  In fact, you may want to store it with some travel bowls and a pet first-aid kit so that if you, your family, and your pets ever have to evacuate, it’s all in one spot easy to grab. Click here to see a GREAT article on how to store pet food for emergencies!




Let’s say you live in the city with a few dogs and a hurricane is headed your way.  Evacuation is mandatory, and disaster is imminent.  Here is how you could be prepared and make a plan.  These plans may not work for everyone, but I hope they give you some ideas and jump-start your own planning process.


Plan A – You have pre-scouted some “pet friendly hotels” in a small town several hours from you.  Knowing that the hotels will fill up exceedingly fast, you call ahead and secure a room, you leave town WITH YOUR PETS as soon as possible so as not to get caught in grid lock risking the loss of your room.  This doesn’t take long since you keep their first-aid kit, stored with some extra food and travel bowls in your laundry room.

 If they are taking cards, use one that you leave cleared off for “emergencies only” or better yet a pre-paid cash card, as you may need the real cash you have for extra food or whatever you left behind.  While you were planning, you also wrote down the numbers of the local urgent care center, the local vet office, and a doggie day care center. You grab your own emergency kit (and your family’s if you are evacuating with others) with your pet’s kit remembering to grab leashes and poop bags, and important documents. Next you pile your family and your dogs (in their crates if they will fit) in your car, and hit the road with your tank nearly full of gas because as a prepper you stopped letting it run empty a long time ago.  You have a couple of routes to the small town in mind in case one route is blocked.  With emergency cash on hand to pay for a week up front, you arrive at the hotel to check everybody in.  

This plan gives you a “base of operations” where you can assess the damage and arrange for repairs on your home or make other living arrangements if need be.

Plan B – You have family four hours away from you and have cleared it with them ahead of time that you AND YOUR PETS can stay with them in case of an emergency.  You repeat the above evacuation process and pre-planning.

Plan C – You don’t have any family nearby and can’t afford a hotel. You can still figure out where local rescue groups will be setting up temporary animal shelters for the disaster, you pack up and take your pets there knowing most “people shelters” do not allow pets.  You arm yourself with vaccination certificates, photographs and any ownership papers to prove that you do in fact own these dogs so you can claim them when the disaster is over.  After you drop your pets off at a shelter you and your family will go find a shelter that will take all of you as a group.  Hopefully you will pick your animals up at the shelter when you are allowed to return home.

Evacuation plans also need to include livestock, and somewhere for them to stay with food and water until you’re home is safe again.  If, for example, a wildfire is threatening our place, I would take my horse and all the documents I need to prove ownership, to either my friends place 10 miles away, or my parent’s place 60 miles away.  I have discussed this plan with both parties and have permission to drop him off at either location in case of emergency.  My truck and horse trailer is in good working condition, and my horse is completely trailer broke, meaning he will load up in a horse trailer and unload for anyone (all “must haves” for horses; slacking on trailer training could endanger their lives and the lives of other people).  If I were to be at work when disaster strikes I may not be able to get back to the house in time.  So our neighbor has permission to scale our fence, access a couple of hidden spare keys, and has agreed to throw Pat in the trailer and evacuate with him. 


Part of being a responsible pet/livestock owner means having a plan.  While I don’t expect anyone to use my plans I want you to start thinking about what YOU could do.  Tragedy strikes most often when we are flat footed.  Sit down today and start answering some of those “what if questions”.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via:  American Preppers Network

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This Pet First Aid app could become man’s next best friend

American Red Cross has long been a great resource when it comes to providing education and assistance in disasters. I knew about their First Aid and CPR classes but just discovered their Pet First Aid class and this Pet First Aid app for smartphones.

The app is 99 cents (mine cost $1.06 with tax), but I’ve been very impressed with the amount and quality of information it provides, including instructional videos.

For both dogs and cats, the app defines what is normal for their breathing, temperature, heart rate, pulse rate, capillary refill time, and mucous membrane color. There are quizzes to test your knowledge, an area to enter your own vet’s contact information and locate the nearest animal hospital, along with a detailed list of warning signs that your pet needs treatment now.

As well, you can enter each pet’s name and details about their medical history, special diet, and current medications. Having this information in one place, instead of in paper files at home, is very helpful.

I highly, highly recommend spending 99 cents for this app. It’s easy to navigate, very user friendly, and just might be your pet’s next best friend.

Other Red Cross apps you may be interested in:


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: thesurvivalmom

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Pet Food for Emergency Preparedness – What to Store and How

The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to be prepared. If you own pets you are responsible to prepare for them as well.  Many disasters could cut off your access to more pet food from the store.  A prolonged power outage could keep the stores closed, or they may already be sold out.  Storing some extra food for pets is essential for their health and well-being.


As a pet and livestock owner I have researched and tested various ways to store pet food.  The easiest approach is to store what your dog or cat currently eats, that way you can keep the food in rotation and nothing is ever wasted.  Start by building up a three-month supply of pet food and work your way up from there.  Here are some recommendations and options for storing emergency pet food.

Store Dry Kibble in the Bag 
I work right next to a Purina Mill, and have had several in-depth conversations with the employees in packaging on how to best store dry kibble.  Surprisingly, they all say the best way you can store dry kibble is right in the bag.  Here is another article (click here) which helps to explain the science behind dry pet food storage.  If you look on the back or bottom of a dry food bag you will find a ‘Best Buy Date’ or “Expiration Date”, this date could be several years out.  ‘Natural’ pet food formulas tend to not last as long due to their lack of preservatives.  The date on the back of the food bag means that the manufacturer will not guarantee optimum freshness and nutritional quality past that date.  It’s doesn’t mean that it will suddenly rot and go bad after that date.  It usually indicates that nutritional value could be lost after that point in time, therefore the goal is to use the pet food by then.

Containers:  Pet food manufactures want their product to keep as is stated on the bag or they get in trouble. So they provide you with one of the best containers for it.  The bag keeps the food dry, dark and even allows it to breathe slightly. This is important because even dry pet food contains moisture in the form of fats and oils; it is for this reason that repackaging dry pet food in Mylar or other vacuum sealed bags for long-term storage is not recommended.  Few containers and/or storage methods are appropriate for processed food which contains fat and oils.  The wrong storage container could cause a greasy film to build up on the container’s sides that will go rancid, cause the food to be distasteful and hasten food spoilage of any new food you add to the container.  Even if you seal the dry food up in bags with oxygen absorbers and silica packets the fat and oils in dry kibble will still go rancid.

Keeping dry pet food sealed up in the bag it comes in, is the best way to preserve it.  If further protection is needed it is recommended that you place the entire unopened bag into another container like preferably a metal bin, or an airtight plastic container.  As soon as you open a bag of dry pet food oxidation starts to occur at a rapid pace, once opened, most commercial pet food will last less than six months so it’s best to use it in that time.

The best option for storing dry kibble is to build up a supply and rotate it out for use before exceeding the manufacturers date on the bag.  Use the oldest bag first and purchase new bags just like normal to replace them, rotate the older bags to the front.  Keep an eye on the food’s appearance and smell, if the kibble goes bad before the date on the bag; return the bag to the manufacturer or place of purchase. Keep dry kibble in a dark, dry area protected from extreme temperature swings.

Store Canned Pet Food 
Just like the date on the dry food bag, the date canned pet food means the manufacturer will only guarantee the nutritional quality listed up to that point in time.  Canned pet food can last anywhere from 2-5 years according to most manufacturers.  Some people claim it should be nutritionally valid for up to 10 years.

A year’s supply of canned pet food is fairly inexpensive to acquire, will last longer and takes up less space than dry kibble.  Rotate the supply by using the oldest food first and putting the new stuff in the back.  Once a supply has been acquired continue using and purchasing pet food like usual, this way you are continuously renewing your supply.  If a disaster were to strike on any given day cutting off the flow of new food, there would be still a year’s worth of stored pet food left to use.  Keep canned pet food in a dark cool area protected from extreme temperature swings.

Make Your Own Pet Food 
There are many different recipes for homemade dog and cat food available on the internet.  After all, store-bought pet food didn’t appear on the market until the 1930s so up to that point in time everyone just made their own pet food or fed their pets whatever they ate. In fact, one of the biggest trends in pet health today is organic raw diets, resulting in pet owners around the world moving away from store bought food.

Home Canned Dog Food
(click here for recipe)

One of the ways you can preserve homemade pet food is by canning it. While the resulting jar of food will be cooked and no longer raw it is still FAR healthier than it’s store bought counter parts. Homemade pet food lacks many of the unhealthy additives and preservatives that most commercial pet food contains.  

Click here for a Homemade Dog Food recipe
Click here for a Homemade Cat Food recipe from PetMD

The only drawback to canning pet food is that the canning recipes have not been scientifically tested for safety, so there is a greater margin of risk.  This is an option I would only recommend to someone who has had experience with canning and knows how to mitigate the risks involved with using an untested canning recipe. The running estimate for the self-life of home canned pet food is 10 years.

Another “homemade” option is just to stock extra amounts of the ingredients used to make their food.  This usually consists of rice, meat and some veggies, all these items are easy to add to long-term storage in a house or ‘bug out location’.  Just make sure there is enough food stored for both humans and animals.

Store Freeze Dried Pet Food 

Another option you may not hear about real often is freeze-dried pet food this would also be an option for Raw Diet fans.  It is usually formulated with high quality ‘raw’ food, and then freeze-dried for convenience and longer storage times.  Freeze-dried pet food is expensive just like human freeze-dried food is, but it could be a viable lightweight, long-term storage option for emergency pet food.  Below I have linked to a few types of freeze-dried pet food, click on the blue text to see the product.  I currently use freeze-dried dog food while camping with my own dogs so I can tell you first hand that it’s easy to prepare and they love every bite.

This is freeze-dried dog food, rehydrated.


Most of the freeze-dried pet food products available on the market would need to be repackaged in Mylar as the plastic packages it comes in are not meant for long-term storage.  Adding some oxygen absorbers and silica packets to the mix would also be a good precaution.  Unlike dry kibble, freeze-dried pet food is completely suitable for this storage method. The manufacturers were probably not thinking that preppers would stash their products away for years at a time, so repackaging is necessary.

Word to the Wise on Raw
While raw diets can be a challenge to prep for there are a couple of options available. Not prepping for your pet because they are on a raw diet and it is too expensive or bulky is irresponsible. I am pretty sure store bought or cooked food would be more healthy for your pet than starvation.

As the owner of three very large dogs I combine several of the above options for our pet food storage because I like having a plan B, C, and sometimes D.  Doing what works best for your situation and storage space while making sure your pets are taken care of is key.  Hopefully this information makes setting aside and storing extra food for pets a little more doable and less confusing.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


Via: stephaniedayle1

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