Awhile ago, I blogged that I was real­ly hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time prep­ping for my pets (one dog and two cats). This can be a major issue, espe­cial­ly if you have to go and quick­ly. This has made me think heav­i­ly about how I would ensure the sur­vival of my pets in a SHTF event.

It real­ly is not much hard­er to pre­pare for a pet than a per­son. All that must be done is con­sid­er all the things required to sus­tain life and pro­tect the pet. Of course, there are spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions that don’t apply to peo­ple that apply to pets and I will get to that.

For my big dog, this is his list:
‑Water 1 gal­lon a day. In the heat, this is a min­i­mum. If we lose pow­er and AC, this could go up to 1.5 or 2 gal­lons a day.
‑Food: I feed him every day, so it is easy to get an extra 35 lb bag of food which is 3–4 weeks sup­ply. This is not vari­able with tem­per­a­ture, but could increase if we end up walk­ing.
‑Med­i­cine: Thank­ful­ly, this only includes heart worm, flea and tick med­i­cine. It is a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to con­vince a vet you need an extra six month or a year sup­ply. If you go to the same vet year after year and keep the vacin­na­tions up to date, they will usu­al­ly work with you.
‑Leash, col­lar, way to tie up: This is fun­da­men­tal and cheap. Have an extra in the dog’s go bag.
‑Crate: This is a must. More on this lat­er.
‑Go bag. For my dog, this is a dog­gy back pack that con­tains a 72 hour sup­ply of food and water as well as an extra leash and col­lar. If we need to get out fast, this is grab-and-go ready.
‑Toys: Have a dog’s favorite toy is an extra.
‑Treats and bones: Your dog will appre­ci­ate hav­ing extra treats which can be used as a reward for good behav­ior.

For my wife’s cats (OK, they are my babies too), the list is sim­i­lar:
‑Water: 1 gal­lon a day for the two cats.
‑Food: An extra bag will last a long time.
‑Lit­ter pan plus lit­ter — portable if pos­si­ble.
‑Crate — they need to be con­tained.
‑Leash and har­ness: believe me, you will want to not have them in a crate the whole time.
‑Med­i­cine: One cat is healthy and the oth­er is on reg­u­lar meds. Make sure you have a good sup­ply.
‑Treats: Once again, the cats are used to treats. They also come run­ning for treats which is use­ful if you need to find them in a hur­ry and go!
‑Go “bag” or buck­et: This can con­tain every­thing they need.

So, this is a pret­ty short list, what are some oth­er con­sid­er­a­tions? First, if you plan to evac­u­ate, you may need to board your pets in a ken­nel. I had to do this with my dogs when I evac­u­at­ed for hur­ri­cane Ike. Your pets must be up to date on their vac­ci­na­tions and you must have their shot records. Keep­ing the records with your vital records in a go-bag is the eas­i­est way to ensure they are up to date. If you end up in a shel­ter, you must have a crate to secure the pets. Most like­ly, the shel­ters will not accept pets, so be pre­pared for that even­tu­al­i­ty. State agen­cies are more pre­pared than in the past, but in a major SHTF event, pets will be they last con­sid­er­a­tion for emer­gency man­age­ment per­son­nel.

Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion is pet friend­ly hotels. Many hotels will accept pets, but have many restric­tions espe­cial­ly on dogs. Check their poli­cies close­ly as they will indi­cate only one dog under 50 lbs. I evac­u­at­ed Hous­ton for Rita and had two big dogs at the time. I end­ed up lying to the check in clerk and sneak­ing around when I had to take them for a walk or to the bath­room. I also had a sob sto­ry say­ing we were refugees ready in case they want­ed to kick me out. It was nev­er an issue as the staff looked the oth­er way.

In the event that pets are not allowed on an evac­u­a­tion vehi­cle, you need to decide in advance if you will leave them behind or stay behind with them and risk death. In my case, I can­not even have that con­ver­sa­tion with my wife. My dog is my best friend and my cats are my wife’s best friends. My best chance to get her to leave with me is to have the abil­i­ty to get the dog and cats out with us. So, think about what you would do in dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios:

1) You could load up one vehi­cle with your fam­i­ly and pets as well as sup­plies. How would you do it?
2) You could not take a vehi­cle, but were evac­u­at­ed with your pets on a gov­ern­ment trans­port (truck, bus, etc). In this case, a crate would be required.
3) You had to walk out of there with only what you could car­ry. How would you include your pets in this? In my case, the dog could walk on his own, but the cats would have to be in the crate and car­ried. For this sce­nario, I would take a cart, a decon­struct­ed dog crate, the cat crate plus what­ev­er food and water would fit. A back pack for me, a back pack for my wife and that would be it.
4) You had a sit­u­a­tion where you had to leave the pets behind. This would be almost impos­si­ble for my wife and me. Our pets our like fur­ry chil­dren to us. Leav­ing them behind would be extreme­ly dif­fi­cult. My dog could walk with us, but the cats could not. If it came to car­ry­ing the cats ver­sus car­ry­ing sup­plies, that would be equal­ly as dif­fi­cult. I hope I nev­er have to make the choice.

At the end of the day, prep­ping is a holis­tic exer­cise. You must con­sid­er all liv­ing beings in your plans. Oth­er­wise, when it comes time to go, you will hes­i­tate and risk sur­vival.

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