So you’re a survivalist, a prepper, someone who’s ready for the unexpected and for the worst. It’s good that you’re prepared and that you and your family are working to a life of off-the-grid readiness and independent living. However, have you paid mind to your pets and their survival in the days to come?
Most people forget about their pets assuming that they can simply use the same supplies stored they have prepared for themselves. The truth, is, however, our pets have different needs than us. Their bodies work differently than ours and as a result, they will require different medicine, food, and other miscellaneous supplies. So what can you do to make sure that your pets are also provided for in your new way of life?
Health and Nutrition
Many people assume that they can simply share their own food with their pets in case of an impending disaster that should cause the pet food stores to diminish. While this may work for some pets and for a time it is no permanent solution. Animals have different digestive systems than we do, meaning they won’t metabolize our food as well, and have different nutritional needs as well. So while we can share our food in tough times, it could lead to health issues and other problems down the road. It’s best to invest in food that is labeled as natural to avoid artificial fats and sugars that cause our pets to overeat (being loaded with sugar) as well as being labeled with fats that cause the food not to keep as well. Canned food will keep longer than dry food, and is good to have on hand as it is beneficial to digestive health and helps the prostate particularly in male cats. It is more expensive, however, and can cause some issues with digestion in excess. Avoid brand names, especially imports, from supermarkets and try to lean more towards wholesome natural food purchased at pet specialty stores.
Also, don’t forget to seal your food in vacuum tight containers to preserve freshness beyond the stated shelf life.
Like us, our pets get thirsty and need water too. To play it safe keep an extra supply for your animal companions as well as extra food and water dishes.
Vitamins and Supplements
It’s always good to have vitamins and supplements, especially those your pet already takes, on hand. Consult your vet about any nutritional needs your pet may have beyond what they can obtain from basic food sources, and keep a healthy, bounteous supply on hand.
If your pet has any health conditions that require medication keep a large supply on hand that will last far beyond your next veterinary visit. Consult your vet for information on any medical needs your pet may have in the future and plan accordingly. Whatever medication your pet may need and can be purchased over the counter and stored at home, keep plenty of extra supplies on hand. This includes flea and tick medication. Keep a copy of vet records in case they are needed in the future.
Store a healthy supply of any soaps, shampoos, wipes, or any product you use to keep your pet healthy and clean. This should especially include any flea or tick shampoos. Also keep their dental health in mind and pack an extra pet toothbrush (if applicable) as well as dental treats. Alternately you can simplify this with pet dental spread, which removes plaque, tartar and any other dental pests from your pet’s teeth, keeping them healthy and sharp.
In addition to keeping your pets clean and healthy, you’ll also want to remember that they, like us, have other “personal needs”. Waste disposal methods are especially important for cats who need plenty of litter or newspaper as well as baking soda or other safe cleaners to keep the smell at bay. You should also keep plenty of pet waste disposal bags on hand for good measure.
Make sure your pet has plenty of toys and playthings to keep them happy and entertained. If you live in a cold environment keep a blanket and a nice fuzzy bed for your pet (if applicable) as well as plenty of warm pet sweaters and other clothing to keep away the harsh winter winds.
Remember to always keep an extra leash and/or carrier on hand. You don’t want your pet wandering off and getting lost, especially in the wild where many dangerous animals lurk or harsh climate may arise. Keep your collar and tags as well in case your pets wander off and should be found by fellow survivors.
Papers and Photos
Remember to keep extra copies of any document on your pet with your survival kit. This could include tags, registration, and medical records. Optionally you can also include special instructions in case the worst should occur and you find yourself in a situation where you have to entrust your pets care to someone.
Finally, don’t forget to keep copies of any photos you may have collected of your pets over the years in case you should lose track of your most precious memories in all the chaos.
As you can see having your pet prepared is far more vital than we realize, but is not quite as complicated and overwhelming as it seems. Keep these things on hand and all in one place so you’ll be ready to retrieve your kit and keep your furry family members safe.