Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Preparation - Emergency Supplies for Pets

Having good provisions, be it for a disaster or a holiday party is always essential. (old picture but the Barkley photobomb made me smile). We think about the basics, nutrition, and water but we don't always think about the other things that make life good, coffee, perhaps a small tin or two of savory or sweet snacks. .  and how about PET FOOD.  Most of us might keep an extra bag or a few extra cans of cat food on hand. But that's not enough for more than short term for a pet.  If there is a full-blown disaster that may be more than a day or two, you will need much more.

My dog is part of the family, and during a disaster, is also an early warning system to anyone wishes to break into my home (Abby is a gentle dog but she has a ferocious growl and bark if she hears footsteps on the porch.)  I want to make sure she is safe in the event of a man-made or natural disaster.

If you have to evacuate.  Keep phone numbers for pet friendly hotels, nearby animal hospitals/shelters as well as Red Cross or any other relief agencies in the area you have as your evacuation point if your disaster is limited to the small area in which you live.  I mention Red Cross as they sometimes have supplied portable animal shelters during a crises in certain locations within the US.

If you have more than one pet and one family member, put one person in charge of a specific pet so they are tasked with making sure they know the pet's location at all times.

Make sure you have pet carriers for pets that won't ride freely in a vehicle and practice getting them into it for a few short practice drives.

Include in your handbag or backpack a pet description, any microchip info, pet insurance, and a photo of your pet in your kit, so you can alert others if you are separated as you evacuate (keep in your home supplies as well).  Have a tag with a phone number on your pet, but you may wish to leave your address off.  In a disaster you may not want to advertise that you are home. Meet up at a safe public location to retrieve your pet if you are split up.
If worse case, you are fleeing on foot, don't let your pet near any floodwaters, nor let them drink it. Be vigilant if you are in a rural area.  During flooding or fire, wild animals may be displaced as well and how they will interact with you and your pet is unknown.

If your bugout location is a friend or family members property, make sure they are OK with you showing up with your pets.  If they are highly allergic or have small children that may not interact with your breed of animal safely- have a Plan "B".

Whether you are going to a safer location or hunkering down for the duration of the emergency -the following tips are invaluable to keep your pets safe (and don't forget supplies for your two-legged family members).

Make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations/shots and you have at least six months of flea/tick medication.  If your pet requires any other medications make sure you stockpile several months worth.
Abby likes Blue Buffalo Basic (grain free and several "flavors" for variety

For food - remember canned food can be heavy and will add a lot of weight if you decide you need to leave your home. Dried food is better and a food bin with a locking seal or food grade buckets to keep vermin out.  Also keep a couple oxygen absorbers to preserve freshness and discourage larvae.  If your own provisions include canned meats and stews, that can be a source of food for a pet as well, but only as a last resort due to the high sodium content. Do not resort to a "cheap" food due to the bulk purchase. You want a food high in nutrients and essential fatty acids.  I rotate my bags each month as I purchase a new bag so freshness is not an issue.
I learned the hard way about giving Abby cheap food, then loading her up in the car

Your pet will also need up to 1/2 gallon of water per day, more if they are a larger breed.  Keep it in an assortment of mediums so you can grab a little or a lot depending on the circumstances. Do not store water in previously used milk or juice jugs.Treat stored tap water with 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon (safe for pets and humans alike) if the water is clear.  If water is cloudy use water purification tablets and/or boil (if loca of tap water with a handle that are by the back door on the garden, then refill every Spring and Fall, a CDC reccomendation).
Treats and toys - will reduce stress.  Make sure if you are using peanut butter as a treat that it does NOT contain xyletol.  That's showing up in more and more PB and can cause fatal hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs.

Add a couple of extra leashes and a harness to the food and water bowls.  In an emergency situation your dog may be as stressed as you, so even if they're good off leash in normal circumstances, leash them as you travel and keep them in the harness while in the vehicle. If you can, have one of the spare leashes made out of paracord so it can be taken apart used in an emergency.

Keep 50 feet of vinyl cord in your kit, for a runner or tie down.

Keep a thermal blanket for each family member including pets, which holds in 90% of body heat.  A pet bed should be added if you can.

Make sure you have newspapers and plastic bags for doggie waste.  If you are stuck inside, have a washable mat that the dog can use to relieve itself and treats to reward it when it complies with this new task. Another option - especially with a larger bread that's a veritable poop machine invest in a Doggie Dooley Septic Tank: it works like a miniature septic tank.using tural bacteria and enzyme cultures to reduce dog waste to a ground absorbing liquid. Just shovel stools into the system, add water and Digester Powder and you're done. It's a clean way to dispose of waste under any situation.
If you're a cat person, make sure you have extra litter, scoops, and bags to dispose of the waste.

Lastly - a first aid and care kit

Wound Spray such as Pet Relief Dog first aid spray. Pet Relief Dog first aid spray is an all-natural spray that will help your dog heal fast. It's 100% safe and effective.

No-Chew Bandages: PetFlex No Chew Bandage is a flexible, cohesive bandage with a bitter taste to help prevent chewing, biting and tearing of the bandage. PetFlex tears cleanly by hand, will not constrict, does not stick to skin or hair, and stays in place. It's just enough to dissuade 
your dog from chewing so that the injury can heal.

Manuka Honey - Manuka honey is a natural antibiotic and safe for pet consumption

Paw Disinfectant
Gauze Pads
Ear Ointment

If you have a breed prone to ear infections add Zymox for Treatment of Chronic Ear Infections: ZYMOX  is an over the counter enzymatic solution for dogs and cats in the treatment of acute and chronic inflammation of the external ear caused by bacterial, viral ,
and yeast infections. Have on hand in your emergency preparations. Treat once a day for 7 days for acute infection and once a day for 14 days for chronic infection.

Sam Splint
Kerlix Gauze Bandage Rolls
Celox (blood clotting agent)
Zymox Topical Cream
grooming brush
exam gloves (for first aid and applying topical meds)
doggie toothpaste and two toothbrushes
tweezer and magnifying glass (for ticks)

Since a vet may not be available learn basic animal first aid.  A great reference book available on Amazon is "First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats" by Amy Shojai.

Training - teach your dog to bark at unknown persons or noise on your property.  Equally as important, teach them to stop barking on command (to not alert an intruder to your presence).  Abby knows both Woof! and NO Bark which was easy to teach with treats. Knowing STAY may save your dog's life.  Cats - well, good luck with that :-)
Have your emergency food and supplies location where they are together and easily able to be moved to a vehicle should hunkering down be no longer a safe option (this is where you will thank yourself for adding a loading cart to your ladders and home improvement stuff)  An old roller bag suitcase or duffels work or if you are going to a location where you won't be traveling further store the items in your empty food bins. We have the majority of the emergency rations for people and pets in the basement by the back door (it's a walk-out), easy to load up if there was an emergency that forced us to leave for a longer term with short notice.

We also keep a small duffel with just 3 days of supplies and a small medical kit for both people and pets by the back door  if the nature of the emergency if we have to leave immediately to stay elsewhere but only for a night or two (i.e. tree takes our roof, train derailment, or gas leak etc,).

Because Blinky the Snowman Says -

It's all fun and games til someone pokes an eye out.


  1. All excellent reminders and superb advice for pet owners. We all think it won't happen to us, but you never know that for sure.

    Woos - Lightning and Misty

    1. You never know. Last year, there was a possible hazmat issue with a local train that runs a block away and we had to evacuate on about 2 minutes notice. Having the bag with human and pet food, water and medicine, a toy and some treats, made it a lot less stressful, though we were able to go home about 12 hours later.

  2. I admit we don't even have an emergency kit for us humans. Really should get on this!

  3. Excellent list and reminders.
    I would add one thing though, this coming from experience with horses and the possibility of too long a wait for the vet: have the tools and the knowledge to euthanize an animal too badly hurt to be saved.
    Chances are, if one has actually gotten around to an emergency list for the animals, one has the required tools. But, it isn't a bad thing to also Know How to do so quickly.
    Most of your readers probably know how, but it isn't always obvious with some types of animal. Thankfully most good, older vet manuals have a chapter on it somewhere.


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