A Word On Types of Pet Food. Dogs, Cats, and Beyond!

Is the Cost worth the Shelf-Life for your Preps?



Go to the store and look St ingredients to the different dog foods. In brands you find in most grocery stores, the protein (chicken, fish, etc.)  is not in the top Five ingredients. This is because it is cheaper for them to use filler, which could be a number of things, than it is to use proteins. When I found this out my first thought was outrage, then as I thought about it it made sense coming from a corporation. 

However most brands of pet food you find in the grocery store fittings this category, there are some alternatives. Somewhere in the Isle these days is a cooler than has refrigerated pet food. This kind of food has great ingredients, can fit special needs for animals, and is easy to measure. The downside to this is the shelf life which is massacred in weeks to days instead of months to years. Great for now but not so great for prepping. As I have mentioned before there are freeze dried options that will last much longer and have great nutritional value, but a lot of times they are composed of 80% or higher just protein. In a short term emergency this is OK but anything beyond 2 weeks your going to need to supplement that protein!

If you don’t what will happen to your pets is what is referred to as rabbit starvation. That is when only protein is consumed resulting in an unbalanced diet, if not righted could result in a timely demise for your pet! Of course neither me, you, or any animal lover would want this to happen. Keep in mind the same can happen to humans so our food needs to be diversified as well.

So the price of a 10lb bag of grocery store brand dog food runs about $10. The same size bag of a specialty pet store type of food rubs about $15. That’s a 50% increase in price, is the nutrition really that much better? 

Remember our talk about ingredients. If the desired protein is not In the top 3 ingredients, i say “put it down!” I ask you, if you had to choose between a fast food burger, or a family owned burger stand for you to eat everyday, mon-fri for a year, even if the family owned burger was 200% more I guarantee you that you would choose it, if not at first, after 2 weeks no doubt in my mind. The reason? One is because of taste of course, the other is you know your getting something fresh, nonprocessed, and in your mind atleast, better for you. Think about this when choosing the pet food. Sure your pet might eat it anyway but for animals that’s the highlight of their day! You want them to enjoy their food as well as benefit from it.

Most of the more expensive brands tend to focus on taste as well as nutritional value. So I the end it’s worth the extra $5 a week for food, which boiles down to less than an extra dollar a day. When considering buying bulk pet food, check those ingredients!! And try to put yourself in your pets shoes when choosing their food. I constantly ask myself if the food looks appealing, if it smells at least not bad, and have I heard of others animals either liking or disliking it. 

Let me know in tge comments of any good bulk suggestions you know of. Most member places like Sams or Costco have only a couple types. Many places are focused on bulk human food, but not many on pets (as usual).

Dog/Cat Activity #3 – Making a Plan

Make A Plan! 

Plan

           Sometimes, and all us preppers do this, we do a lot of learning and reading but we forget to make a plan.  All of our hard work and long nights gets applied when we start making a list of the things we need, a plan to evacuate with our family & Pets from a house fire, and having everything ready to go. Now I know that being prepared is an on-going process, but you need to at least put down the basics of what actions you would take in case of an emergency & share them with the whole family. It doesn’t do any good to make a plan, organize your preps, and then when the emergency happens, everything gets left behind because you weren’t home, and no one else knew what to do!

           Here are a few simple steps to get you setup for success! Remember you can go far and wide with making a plan, getting as super detailed as you want, but getting started is the most important part.

List

  1. Bug Out List – I know what your thinking, “We did this for our Dogs BOB already” but this list is about which bags to grab, which color bag goes with who, and how to pack your Long Term Storage(Humans & Pets) to take along with you. Keep the list somewhere handy and the BOBs for everyone all together, so you or who ever is at the house can Easily & Efficiently get all the Preps, Pets, & People to safetyFire
  2. Safe Location(Fire or Immediate Threat) – Similar to the plan, you want to establish a safe place to evacuate too. in the case of a fire my family always said meet at the mailbox, which was about 500+ feet away from the house. this will differ for you because everyone’s living space is unique! Once you have decided share it with everyone that lives in your home. If you live in an Apartment or large housing development, you could post a sign on the bulletin board, with no name attached, saying “In case of Fire Meet HERE”. You would be so surprised how many Apartment complexes that don’t have any plan in place. Imagine if you didnt have a plan, but you saw this on the board and it saved your life! Also i say “No name Attached” because if you announce it was you, then people (Official or not) will come asking questions and destroy your OSPEC.Bunker
  3. Safe Location (Bugging Out)This is the more long-term solution for something like Economic collapse or a zombie invasion. All of these plans you will keep to yourself & those of you that are in your Preparedness Group/Family. you definitely don’t want to post your private getaway on the board, because then everyone will show up and you WILL have a problem. Figure out your location ahead of time, and if it is a friend/family members house make sure to store some supplies there. you don’t want to show up and use Preps that aren’t yours! So in advance you could (Space allowing) Keep your more long term food storage for you and the pets, comfort items, protection(Weapons for humans) etc. Some of us have a bunker to retreat to,others will probably stay with grandparents, again this varies on your situation.Practice
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice!!! I cant stress this enough! once you have some plans in place, randomly do drills to get everyone familiar with them. this includes, and even more important, your animals. It’s like training a dog to sit, once they know what to do they will remember and feel comfortable doing it. this will lower stress, confusion, and extra complexities that an emergency event will cause for your pets! The same is true for little kids, if you can make it like a game in a time of safety, then when it really matters they will comply. One side note concerning HUMANS – Don’t OVER practice! what i mean here is don’t have a fire drill at 1pm everyday. this falls into the category of the boy who cried wolf. You want to insure the sense of urgency around emergency events, and not “its just another drill”. so about Once a Month is enough practice! I know its hard to fight the urge to do it more often! Pets – Creatures of Habit. you could practice 10 times a day, everyday, and they will never have a diminished sense of emergency! Animals can sense danger and they will know there is trouble.FamChain
  5. Discuss With Family – Make sure that everyone in your household knows the plans, and how to execute them in case you are not there when the event takes place. if you have a large family you can make 1 person accountable for 1 animal, and this chain will create a safety net to make sure everyone gets out OK. In my house we have 3 animals. 2 dogs 1 cat. My wife is in charge of the dogs because one follows the other and they both follow her. The cat will only come to me, so therefore its my responsibility to get her out! I have seen this same system work with families of just people and it works great. Dad keeps track of Mom, Mom keeps track of the Oldest child, Oldest Keeps track of next Oldest etc. Now if i could get my pets to do this on their own that wouldbe amazing!!

 

This is a great starting point for getting everyone, Pet & Person, in your home on track with how to handle an emergency. Just like everything else, the more you put In the more you get Out! But also remember no to over do it and make emergencies seem like a hassle or unimportant.With BOBs, a Plan, and a SAFE location, you take away the panic of a fire, hurricane, even Zombie Apocalypse!

        

 

Dog Activity #2 – Pet First Aid Kit

I will start by saying you can make this as detailed as a human first aid kit and beyond. It can be a little overwhelming at first but here is a basic list of things to have in the kit, then after that you can tailor it to fit the needs of your family!

Nice Flexable Bag

Nice Flexable Bag

-Also depending on what animal or animals you have you would want to get certain medicine or instruments that got their needs. I.E. Cat nail clippers are to small for dogs and are shaped a little different. And Reptile supplies would be completely different than supplies for hamsters.

-Fish are another example, which have a large array of antibiotics you can buy OTC and can be used by humans. It is a cheaper way to stock all First Aid Kits with these and then learn the dosages for both humans and your specific pets.

 

1. First Aid Bag – You want this to be a good size to hold everything you have now and what you add going forward. One thing to keep in mind too is don’t make it so huge you can’t carry it easily. If you need that many supplies or have more than 1 type of pet you can make a central kit and then a smaller supplemental ones to go along with it. I have a central one for all 3 animals, then a small additional one for cats medicine and specific supplies.

2. Scissors – for cutting matted fur, tape for the bandages and getting loose from small cord or fabric trapping them.

Tweezers

3. Tweezers – to get rid of splinters, ticks, small things inbetween the paws, or debris from the wounds.

4. Vet Wrap – this is the bandage with gauze underneath you see when your pet gets home from the vet with a cut or abrasion. It clings to itself so you can dress the wound with Gauze and then rap this on top. Be very careful not to wrap to tight!

This by far to me is the best to use, much better than band-aid type bandages. It gives you both flexibility and strength at the same time! It comes in 2” Rolls and 4” Rolls. The best place to find it is http://www.Amazon.com . just search for pet first aid supplies.

5. Antibiotic Ointment – I highly recommend you get this from a pet supply store and DO NOT use the human brand. The problem is the animals will lick off the ointment even sometimes if it’s under a bandage! It costs about the same to get the pet kind but it’s not toxic to them. In a pinch you could use the human kind if the wound wasn’t in an area that could be licked, or if you have a dog cone that will prevent it.

6. Dog/Cat Aspirin – you might be able to find this at a Vet supply store or you could get it from the vet at your next checkup. This can be very helpful to animals but be sure to mind the dosages and times in between.
If your dog is in serious pain or you might be just fixing them up to get them to the vet, give them one dose then discontinue based on what the Veterinarian tells you. But be sure to tell them you gave it to your animal.

Gauze

7. Gauze Pads/Rolls – Regular human kinds and brands are completely ok for this. You should get various sizes and a few rolls that you can wrap around your pet. A lot of times when you are first cleaning a wound before bandaging you can go through a good amount of gauze. For that reason you should have a bunch in all the first aid kits in your house.
In addition to bandaging wounds you can couple Gauze with the Vet Wrap and a split (ready made material or improvised) and splint a leg if nessecary.

8. Latex Gloves – for you to use while you are working on your animal. This is another item that would be in your normal First Aid Kit so another good time to double up on the preps.

therm

9. Thermometer  – you can buy an ear thermometer for most bigger pets and I recommend these. They do use battery’s but only 2-4 AA at most.  Very Important: make sure to go online and get a Temp chart for the animal you have. Some dogs can differ from each other by breed & Size.

10. Benadryl – OTC or human kind is fine, just remember to either ask your vet how much to give, I have always given my animals a child size, both dogs we have are under 20lbs, and this worked fine.

11. Hot Packs & Jell Ice packs – you can use the ice ones you keep in your freezer for a regular First Aid Kit for a burn on the animal or of they are overheated. The hot packs you can use if your pet shows signs or hypothermia or you know they are very cold. Also snuggling them works well also and makes them more comfortable. With the hot packs also wrap them in a light cloth or paper bag, I find they can sometimes get too hot and the animal will try to scoot away possibly injuring itself more.

PJelly

12. Petroleum Jelly – you can use a water based kind to be safe but for use in wounds when out if antibiotic cream I have personally used it to seal a wound under the bandage and it works fine. Another use would be for the thermometer if you have to use it rectally.

13. Muzzle – your pet is going to be scared when they are hurt so keep in mind it’s good to put a muzzle on them before you start treating. Even the most loyal and passive dog may bite if you touch an open cut and snap at you. It’s nothing personal and they are acting from an internal primal place.

I have personally seen cars both bite and scratch someone who is rinsing out a wound particularly. We all know cats don’t like water and that applies to creams as well.

14. A Pill Shooter Syringe – the first use this had is for the Asprin or any medicine in pill form you can’t trick them into eating. It uses water pressure to shoot the pills into their throat and hydrating them so they won’t choke at the sane time. Wound cleaning is another good use for this. You can use water or betadine or something that doesn’t sting. This will help you a lot while cleaning as well as saving the Gauze you have for later or if you are low/out.

You can get this at the pet store!

You can get this at the pet store!

15. A Clotting Agent – this is used mostly on big wounds to stop the bleeding. If you have to use this I would recommend getting your animal to the vet ASAP!

When you cut an animals nail to close it can bleed and actually cause them to bleed out or get a bad infection. You can use something like Quick Clot on the nail! There are also other brands you can buy that work specifically for pets but if you happen to have this in either the main human First aid Kit or both kits, it will come in handy.

LB

16. Liquid Bandage – works the same way the human kind does, but get the pet kind just to be sure it is safe for them to lick. I recommend it mostly for minor cuts or areas you don’t want exposed but are not serious enough for the gauze and bandage route.

Pet first aid book

17. First Aid Book On Pets – This will give you a lot of information on how to handle each situation as it occurs. From as simple as making a splint to changing bandages over a lengthy time period a good one will get you through.

If possible I would try and get a spiral bound one or make one from print offs from the internet.

Take a class on basic first aid with animals. You could Probably find a list online or ask a local pet store. Having a great kit is awesome, but the more you know how to use it, the more valuable you both are. Everyone into preparedness of any type or that has a family should take a basic level human first aid class.

SBK

18. Pet Snake Bite Kit – Hard to find, once again I recommend http://www.Amazon.com to find it, but well worth it if you hike a lot or know you have snakes around.

 

 

Dog Bones #2 – Pet Tips for Hurricane & Tornado Season

With hurricane season rolling in there are some things to keep in mind when it refers to our Pets.

StormWarning

1. The Storm Itself – Let’s face it, all animals are scared of the loud thunder and lightning associated with Hurricanes. Make sure to get those animals Indoors & in a safe place when you know a storm is coming, most dogs get spooked by the thunder and will run off!

2. Microchip & Rabies tags – Every year make sure you are up to date when it comes to the Rabies shots. If your pet gets loose and then picked up by animal control, a rabies tag will tell them that they are safe to be around and they can track it back to you and let you know they have your pet. The same goes for microchip ping. If animal control picks him/her up they do a scan with a hand held device and they immediately know your info to get you guys reconnected.

3. Comforting Your Pet – during the storm remember your pet is going to be very antsy to say the least. Make sure to give them reassuring attention to calm them down and a couple of treats couldn’t hurt. Depending on the size of your animal you can hold them or sit with them to keep them calm. Finally of your dog is especially effected by storms gets them a calming type jacket. These are designed to calm them down by making them feel like they are in a big hug!EVAC

4. Have A Plan – if during the storm you encounter flooding or power loss have a plan to deal with it. Even just a list of items that you can use for each potential situation is a good start. For Flooding you will need a crate to transport the animal in the car I’m case you have to evacuate. If you have a really big animal then you know to get them to a vehicle fast because they will probably be to big to carry, or you might have a baby, or wife/husband that already takes up that spot!
If you get in the middle if a storm and have none of this at-least thought out you can be in serious trouble fast! From trying to track down a loose animal and all the stress that comes with that, to frantically running around trying to get things ready fast and forgetting something, it can get real crazy real fast!!

5. Bug Out Bags – Wr covered making one of these earlier and now would be the time to put it to use. If you have to leave hone just strap it on your pet or throw it Into the car and you know you have atleast the essentials for 72 hours. You should also have one for every member of your family including human items meeting the same needs. Most important for a hurricane are Food, Water, a Poncho & Entertainment.

Debris

6.Debris Everywhere – when leaving home during a storm or while cleaning up the aftermath keep in mind that limbs, boards, nails, glass, etc could be everywhere. Before you let your pet out and everything goes back to normal make sure you go around their outdoor area and rid it of these things. Most likely the power will be out or a veterinarian’s office won’t be open and a little picking up can save you a lot of stress (and money), and allow you to focus on bigger things.

Small First Aid Kit

Small First Aid Kit

7.Pet First Aid Kit – this is very important. While a few things from a human first aid kit can be used on pets most things are not transferable. From special bandages to medicine to clamping spray, etc you should create a pets only first aid kit. You can take this as far as you want from just the basic animal bandages and wound cream, all the way to Dog antibiotics and nail clippers and blood clotting agents it can, (much like a human first aid kit), can get pretty specialized if you want it to. I will do a post on creating a basic first Aid Kit for Pets in my next activity post.

WaterBottles

8. Water – Just like for us people, the animals are going to need fresh water. I know what your thinking “who needs to stock water in a hurricane or flood?!” Well the problem is the once the water hits the ground it gets combined with dirt, debris, bacteria, etc and it’s not for for consumption by anyone or animal! Again this should be in your B.O.B. But in a pinch or if you are caught unaware it’s a good idea to keep a few bottled waters. On the trunk of your car or just a gallon jug will do. I would consider 1 – 16oz bottled water per day would be enough per animal that’s less than 20lbs. This can be altered to fit your pet, and it’s easy to figure out, just keep track of how much water you give them a day then add another cup or 2. If you feed your animals wet food keep in mind that they do get some hydration from that but kit enough to sully rely on it by itself.

9. Shelter – part of your plan should include a place to “Bug Out” to in case you have to leave home. Once you have a sheltering place locked down, (a relatives house, bunker, cabin in the woods, etc), take your pet there and let them become familiar with it. This will make a world of difference to them in a state of emergency. Along with them being more comfortable they will be less likely to run off by accident due to curious smells or sights, while your unloading the car or getting every living being inside the shelter. Coupled with that if they do get loose or lost, and they are familiar with the area, they can make it back to you themselves! Cats have been known to walk many miles back to an old dwelling after you have moved because they don’t understand.

Sometimes Your home isn't quite Strong Enough

Sometimes Your home isn’t quite Strong Enough

10. Equaint yourself with the Shelters & Staff – one day make it a point to goto the shelter in your area where your animal would end up if lost. You would be very surprised at how far just introducing yourself to the staff of the animal shelter or the animal control person you see in your neighborhood. If they know you and your pets they can get you guys back together faster and they know that you live your animal and are probably out there searching for them. This step could take as little as 20 minutes and could save you hours of looking and your pet from getting lost in an event that a bunch of animals come in at once during the storm.

 

I hope these tips give you a good starting point for your Preps in dealing with hurricanes/tornados, when it comes to your animals. A simple plan can prevent everything from having the supplies you need for a couple days to preventing your pet from falling through the cracks at the shelter! Also see the posts about Bug Out Bags for Pets & First Aid kits for Pets for more info on getting ahead of the game!

Dog Bones #1 Edible Wild Plants

Dog Bones

 A section for where you can mind some facts regarding survival or camping with your dogs

        When your out hiking with your dog, or camping, or surviving the Apocalypse it is good to know what wild things your dog can eat and what is bad for them. Be it you who is giving it to them or if they are foraging on their own, having the knowledge will help you to know if they have ingested a poisonous plant, or a tasty treat!  Also you can supplement your dogs survival food if you know what to get and add some variety day by day.

        Below are a few Common things you’ll run into along your way:

Mushroom

  1. Mushrooms – While there are many variety, species, shape and size, just for the overall I would avoid these completely. there are many that I am sure would be beneficial and stretch food a long way but sometimes even in the same species, you have 2 mushrooms growing right next to each other, exact same, except the one on the left is poisonous and the one on the right is fine.

    Yummy!!

    Yummy!!

  2. Dandelions – Completely safe for both Humans and animals. while probably not the tastiest the dandelion is arguably the most abundant wild edible with a large amount of nutrients. you can pick these as you go and store them a day or 2, and you’ll probably notice your dog eat a few themselves as you walk.Nice Spice
  3. Wild Onion – These are also completely fine for dogs and easy to find. my dogs are intrigued by the smell and immediately try to eat them after I pick some. These are very common and also something you can stock up on as you walk and stretch out the food supply for the Dogs as well as your food also.Poison
  4. Lilies – While this might surprise you, Lilies are very poisonous to dogs as well as cats. pretty much all kinds, be it in a garden or water Lilies stay away from them, and yank them out of your dogs mouth if you find them snacking on one. These mostly come up when referring to cats but dogs are at risk as-well.

    Great Herb 4 Dogs!

    Great Herb 4 Dogs!

  5. Lavender – This is a wonderful planet for dogs to eat and it has some healing quality a as well. Herbs are wild edibles too, and there are a great many good, but about just as many bad too.

    My Favorite

    My Favorite

  6. Strawberrys – a great source of vitamin C and definitely tasty for both dogs and humans! You can give these to Dogs, but i wouldn’t give them only this to eat or too many at once.

    Best fried!!

    Best fried!!

  7. Squash – many different types of squash are great for dogs. Now this might be something you grow in the garden more so then find in the wild, all the same a wonderful choice!

    Poison!

    Poison!

  8. Grapes – WARNING extremely poisonous for dogs in regular form as well as raisins. I had a friend who’s vet recommended feeding his dog raisins as a treat and a week later his dog died from them!

 

So, there are some good ones to start with. Here is a link to a great wild edible site for dogs:

 Toxic Wild Dog Food

Feel free below to add ones you think should go on this list! Poisonous or Yummy for Dogs and Humans, Tell us your favorite!