In our modern world, preppers need to be concerned with guns, ammunition, food, gasoline, medical supplies… the list goes on and its daunting. But don’t forget about the family pets. An often overlooked and very helpful resource to your preps is a dog. In our everyday lives, a dog is a loyal companion, an early warning system, a vermin eradication system, a pack animal, and much more… in a SHTF scenario, a dog can be a life saver for all those reasons but to a much greater degree. There is also something very comforting about having your best friend by your side in a disaster knowing they will do their best to take care of you… you owe it to them to take care of them in return. With some basic preps, you can do just that.
First and foremost, pick up some basic supplies for your dog. Food is number one… you may have a years’ worth of freeze dried food in your basement for each person in your house, but how much do you have stored for your dog? I suggest picking up a minimum of six months worth of food and store it in a cool dry place. Rotate it the same way you rotate the human food you have stored (first in, first out).
My food is stored in buckets and Rubbermaid containers next in my pantry… I even built a cabinet to fit dog food storage under it. Next, get a kennel that you can transport and house your dog in. In a “mandatory evacuation” the national guard or red cross or whoever is providing aid will not transport or lodge your family unless your dog is secure (or the animal is left behind…Ive seen it happen). A simple wire kennel or vary kennel fits the task perfectly and are relatively cheap at garage sales or on amazon. Also think about other items you dog uses every day and get spares. Purchase several leashes of varying lengths… I recommend a short leash to walk the dog at heal (about 1 foot in length), a regular leash that you normally walk the dog with (about 3 feet), and a check cord (20+ foot line that allows them more movement). Your dog should have a bug out bag too… yes Im serious. Think about purchasing a dog backpack so he can carry all of his own gear (a few days of food, dog bowls, leashes, etc). Get him used to the bag by taking him hiking and making him carry some water, snacks, etc.
Involve your dog in outdoor activities….
especially activities where he has to pull or carry more than his own weight
This brings us to the next topic, you should include your dog in your buggout training. An untrained/uncooperative dog can make a bad situation much, much worse. Imagine trying to leave your home because of an impending brush fire only to have Fido not willing to get into a car because its new and scary… leaving him behind would break your families hearts. Get him used to jaunts away from home… go hiking, for long walks, camping, boating, etc. with your dog and make him a true part of the family. Get them used to car rides, either in a back seat or in a kennel. Some dogs hate to be in a car… they are only in them to go the vet or the boarding kennel or other unhappy places so it makes sense. Take them on car rides to fun places and this aversion should subside. If they are severely averse to car rides, there are simple steps (baby steps) to get them to cooperate. If you cant even get Fido into a car without a struggle, try feeding him next to the car for a few days or even weeks…. then once he realizes the car isn’t going to hurt him, try feeding him in the car with his feet on the ground for a while… then, feed him in the back seat with the door open… and eventually, feed him in the car with the door closed. These baby steps help teach a dog that a car is a happy place and nothing to be feared. After this process, be prepared to give Fido a quick treat for hopping in the car when you head to the park for a walk… think Pavlovs dogs haha. You can also try these steps if your dog hates kennels.
Make your dog a part of your preps… and take steps now to ensure you will both be safe and sound if a catastrophe strikes.