National Preparedness Month
In case you didn’t catch it, September is National Preparedness Month! This is a month designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Department of Homeland Security that encourages Americans to prepare for natural disasters. September 2011 was when I first started hearing about and learning about “preppers.” It intrigued me! And a few short months later when I found out about our new little one on the way, I got started on this crazy preparedness journey that makes me feel so much more confident and secure for my family’s well-being.
Now, I think being prepared helps my family out in hundreds of ways, and isn’t only for big, natural disasters that may occur or the end of the world scenarios that so many preppers talk about. I think it helps us when my husband gets paid a few days late, or when we’ve all caught the stomach bug and are stuck in our own little isolation camp that is the hall bathroom. I think it would help us if we had an unexpected illness, injury, or job loss that caused our income to dramatically drop. Prepping is beneficial in so many ways!
National Preparedness Month has always been a great time for me to reorganize my preparations, hone some skills, and stock up on a few extra essentials. If you aren’t already following The Prepared Bloggers on Facebook, you should! (Or better yet, just go to the new website HERE!) This month we are all teaming together to bring you “30 Days of Preparedness,” where you will get a new challenge each day. You will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape. Thanks for joining us as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness.
Don’t Forget About your Pets!
Pets tend to be put on the back burner sometimes when it comes to preparedness, but if you ask most people, they’ll tell you that their furbabies are family members, too! We can’t forget about them! So how can you prepare for your pets?
P.S. I don’t have cats so this list is partial to dogs. I’ve tried to think of things cat owners might need, but if I miss something please forgive me! 🙂
Preps at Home
- Food- We have 3 months worth of food stored with a goal of 1 year, (Same as our people food storage) but this length of time is completely up to you. Preferably you’ll want to store dry food for the longer shelf life, but if your pet is used to wet/canned food you might want to try finding some sales for that, too. Store away your newest purchases and rotate through your older stores so nothing goes bad or gets wasted. You can also check out some alternative food sources for your pet in case you run out. Here are some Dog Approved People Foods by Cesar Millan, or you can check out these DIY Dog Food or Cat Food ideas on Pinterest.
- Water- One ounce of water per pound of body weight is the general rule. This is a very small amount of water to have on hand. Our little pup currently weighs only 8lbs, but will be about 35lbs full grown. I have taken that into account, too, so we store about 7.5 gallons per month for her. (Personally, I’m not sure that will be enough so we might double it just in case.)
- Treats- A bag or two of your pet’s favorite treat could go a long way in a stressful situation
- Food & Water bowls- Obviously you already have food and water bowls for your pet, but an extra set is never a bad idea. Remember: two is one and one is none! 🙂 I set aside an extra set of hard plastic bowls (kind of like these for picnics and such) with our dog’s emergency supplies.
- Plastic bags- for waste. You can use the bags made specifically for dog waste, but personally I think they’re a waste of money (no pun intended!). I just use my old plastic grocery bags instead.
- Collar and Leash- Again, an extra of each is not a bad idea.
- Medications- Flea & tick treatments, heartworm preventative plus any other medications your pet needs on a regular basis. You might need to talk to your vet about this and see if they will prescribe extra for you. Certain vaccinations are also available at most Farm & Supply stores like Tractor Supply or Atwoods. Just remember that they tend to have a shorter shelf life, and you’ll also need syringes and needles. (And know how to give them properly!)
- Pet First Aid Manual– Could also be combined with a simple First Aid Kit for pets, although most everything included would also be in a human’s first aid kit
- Kitty Litter- For obvious reasons. 🙂 Kitty Litter has multiple uses for emergencies so even if you don’t have cats, it might be something to look into!
- Storage Tote- Something to keep all of this together in one place is a great idea. You can use a simple cardboard box, but I prefer the storage totes because they’re sturdier.
Bug Out Bags for Pets
If at all possible, your pet should be able to carry their own Bug Out Bag. I know this isn’t always possible, but if your pet is strong enough, make use of that! We had a Border Collie whom we loved to death and carried his own Bug Out Bag in the form of a pet pack like THIS. Sadly, we had to rehome him because his medicine caused him to be incredibly aggressive and we were afraid he might bite Little Man. 🙁 We got a new puppy this month, though, who is obviously not strong enough to carry her own bag, but as soon as she gets big enough we will start letting her wear a pack and get used to it 🙂 A healthy, full grown dog should be able to carry about 1/3 of his or her body weight, so if your dog weighs 30lbs, you should be able to pack about 10lbs of gear for them. Of course, you’ll want to work up to this and let your dog get used to the weight on their back. Until then, you might need to share some of the load.
What to Include in their Pack
Basically just smaller amounts of everything you have stored at home, but in a more portable package. I’ve also added a couple of extras specific to bugging out.
- Food- for at least 3 days
- Water- for at least 3 days
- A few treats (but this is a luxury so depending on your space/weight needs, can be eliminated)
- Collapsable food and water bowls- These things are super cheap, and could help you save a lot of space in your bug out bag!
- A favorite toy or blanket to keep them calm
- Muzzle- I don’t usually condone muzzles, but if you NEED your dog to be quiet for security reasons or if they’re prone to biting when they get frightened, it might be a good idea. Keep in mind that a proper fitting muzzle will still allow your dog to eat small bits of food and drink plenty of water.
- Stake and lunge line- If you’re bugging out on foot, you’ll most likely stop to camp every now and then. Having a way to tie your dog out so you can take a break from holding the leash yet not be afraid they’ll run off could be incredibly helpful for your bug out journey.
- Medications- Those mentioned above, plus you might consider including sedatives to help your pet manage the fear and anxiety of being in a new place, on the move, with new people around and/or loud noises.
- Pet Carrier- Cats will likely get very anxious and try to run off in an emergency situation (especially if you’re bugging out on foot). A leash might be acceptable, but if they aren’t used to it, it might cause more harm than good. A small pet carrier could be invaluable. I like the idea of a soft sided one that can collapse if need be.
What About You?
Do you have preparations for your pets? Do they have their own BOBs? What have I forgotten on my list?
Your challenge for the day is to make a list of supplies you want to have on hand for your pet and gather at least 5 of them. Check around the house, you’ll probably have more than that on hand already 🙂
Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.
Day 1 – Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 2 – The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 – I’m Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 – Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 – Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 – The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 – It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 – It’s a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 – Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 – Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 – The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 – The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 – Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 – How We Choose The Right Gear – (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 – Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 – Food and Water for a 72 Hour “Go Bag” from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 – 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 – Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 – Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 – Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 – Preserving & Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 – Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 – KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 – Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 – Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 – How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 – How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 – Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 – What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 – How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness
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