Prepping with Your Pets

Are you a “prepper?” Prepping is an increasingly popular concept- being prepared to deal with and survive a disaster. Hard-core preppers may have a bomb shelter. They might have 12 months of food supplies tucked away. There are lots of websites on prepping, and the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) have been doing this for years- they have very specific instructions on putting aside rations for each person in a household.

Now, I certainly hope that we do not face a food shortage lasting months. Or a tsunami that reaches Dayton, Ohio. But being prepared for the small things, like power outages that last a few days, or a tornado, makes sense to me. Consider an emergency stash for your family- and include your pets. These are things that can easily be put in a central place in the house, or in your basement, or can be put in a back-pack that can be grabbed in an evacuation situation (sometimes referred to as a bug-out bag).

It’s a good idea to have 3-4 days’ worth of food for each pet. You can rotate a bag of dry food, or portion out food into air-tight containers or bags. Just be sure to note expiration/best by dates if you use a container. Consider having some special treats put aside as well.

We all need potable water for drinking. Water can be a bit tricky to store for long periods- it tends to mildew and mold. There are websites that sell water packaged to be shelf-stable for a long time, or consider rotating gallon jugs. There are some really great filtration systems out there, too. The recommendation for people is 5 gallons of water per person per day. Yes, that is a lot of water to keep around (5 gallons x 1 person x 3 days= 15 gallons per person). While we might not need to allocate water for cooking or bathing for our pets, having at least a gallon a day is probably a good idea.

If your pets takes medication regularly, consider keeping a week or so worth with the rest of the preparedness items. Medications that need to be refrigerated, like insulin, might be harder to keep with the other items. In that case, be prepared to grab it out of the fridge in a hurry, and have ice packs and a small cooler ready.

Having a set of vaccine papers, a recent photo of you with your pets, your vet’s contact info and any other information rescuers may need on hand can be helpful.

Consider other items, like a warm blanket, toys, carriers, leashes, and even a muzzle. Please don’t be offended. In a scary situation, putting a muzzle on can keep rescuers safe. Pets can react out of character in a stressful situation, and may react badly if they feel threatened.

We certainly hope that prepping is purely precautionary, and that none of us are in a situation where we depend on these items for survival. But the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” makes good sense.