Our pets are a part of our lives, but people often forget that they will have needs if SHTF too. They’ll still need to eat and they may get sick. Storing back pet food and common medications is a necessary part of your prepping.
Pets can be useful in survival situations; they can warn you that storms are coming, they can defend your home, and they can perform a multitude of services to help you survive. Today we’re going to talk more about prepping with pets.
Pets are Weather Radars
Dogs, cows, horses, and other livestock can tell you when storms are approaching.
They get skittish and may begin to gather in herds facing the same direction.
Depending on the type of animal you have, you may get a few hours’ notice to prepare.
We could write an entire book on this topic, but for now, just know your animals and what to look for, and read our previous article about warning signs on animals.
When prepping for pets, there are several items that you’ll need to stockpile. Just as with your other prepping efforts, try to choose multi-purpose items that store well. Here are some examples.
- Kitty litter – this can be used for more than giving kitty a place to go. You can also use it to absorb odors in your own waste system. The active ingredient is bentonite, an absorbent clay with unique clumping properties. It’s also a sealant that can be used to seal koi or algae ponds. Since you can add water to it to make a slurry, it may also be useful to seal cracks to keep the heat in and the cold out sodium bentonite can also help heal wounds and boils by drawing toxins out. Make sure that you buy unscented kitty litter with only bentonite (or bentonite and diatomaceous earth). Avoid the kind that reduces dust, too.
- Pet Food. This is just an opinion and I’m sure that we’ll have a lively discussion about it, but you may want to consider storing foods such as tuna or low-sodium beef stew that you may find on sale BOGO (or even free with coupons) in place of part of your pet food. That way, your pet food is also edible by people, and frankly will cost less than buying canned dog or cat food. It may not be ideal now but if SHTF, it’ll do!
- Leashes and Collars. Make your leashes and collars from paracord that can be disassembled and used in an emergency.
Training Pets for Emergencies
There are several reasons why you should provide your pet with training in case of emergency.
Dogs or even birds can provide protection, horses can be used for work or as a means of transportation and even pigs can be trained.
But the keyword is training. Just as your animals can help you if properly trained, a barking dog or a bucking horse can be your downfall.
Here are some basic training categories that you should provide when prepping for pets.
- Obedience. Your dogs should be trained to come, to be quiet and to sit/stay. In case you’re hiding, a barking dog can be a dead giveaway that you’re there. Your horse or mule should be taught to stand still to be saddled and mounted and to take a bit without a fight. You can lose valuable time chasing it in circles trying to mount.
- Desensitization. Many things will be strange to your animals. The sounds of guns, flapping tarps, the smell of smoke; all of these can frighten animals. Get them used to all of this before SHTF so that they will remain obedient, useful and safe if SHTF.
- Service. Train your animals to be of use. Dogs can pull people or small carts, carry backpacks and act as protectors. Horses, mules or donkeys can be ridden or used as plow animals and can pull the sick or wounded. Pigs can be trained to defend the house or even carry items. Birds can even be trained to protect you or to act as an alarm. Train your pets to serve a purpose if at all possible; otherwise they’ll just be extra mouths to feed.
Pets are awesome companion animals but when you’re fighting for your survival, they can quickly become a burden. If you only have a small space to store your stockpile, even putting back pet food can take away space from what you need to store your own food. By storing food that both people and animals can eat when prepping for pets, you’re killing two birds with one stone.
It’s imperative that you train your animals so that they don’t put you in danger and can actually help you in a survival situation. Research what your pets can do, then either learn how to train them or work with a professional trainer.
In a SHTF situation, properly training your pets may just be the difference between surviving, or perishing. If you have other pet-related tips, please share them with us in the comments section below.