Phoenix Bird


This is an old article but still useful for planning for your animals during an emergency or disaster.

We have a dog - actually, she's a puppy but someday she's going to be a medium sized black Lab with a big appetite. I haven't figured it out yet, but we would need a lot of dog food since she eats at least 10 lbs. a week right now! A 55-gal. drum filled with dog food sealed in plastic bags of 10 lbs. or so to keep it fresh should be sufficient - and we can rotate out the food and refill as needed. On occasion she'll need shots, wormed, toenails clipped, a new flea collar, etc. Luckily for us, there are mail order veterinary supply houses Like Petco where we can get most of the things we'd need for her, including hypodermic needles and canine vaccines. She also needs toys to prevent her from chewing shoes, pillows, and stray nails she finds under the porch where the construction crew dropped a few boxes from the looks of it. If you remember the events of Campout '98, you know that Benadryl works on dogs to reduce swelling from insect bites and bee stings, so we need to have some of that on-hand for her as well.

If you have a cat, don't forget some cat litter. There may be times when even your "outdoor" cat can't get to the outdoors! Cat litter is also a good substitute for ZipZorb oil absorber, and can be used to increase traction if you get stuck in the snow or ice. When I lived in NY I always carried a small Rubbermaid tub full of cat litter for just that reason. Since getting to the cabin entailed driving a seasonal use road (no plowing or maintenance from December 1st to April 1st each year, and little maintenance any time of the year), I had to be very conscious about carrying the proper winter survival kit in my Jeep. You'll also need to keep cat food on hand, though I'm not sure you'd need a 55-gal. drum of it. Figure out how much you use every week, then plan on having enough for at least a month. If you live in an area where field mice abound, you'll need a supply of cat wormer. You can also buy vaccines for your cat from Petco. I'm sure there are other supply houses but this is the one I'm familiar with. You can shop online at their website.

Don't forget a brush for your pet to keep shedding problems to a minimum - and a set of battery-operated clippers if you have a dog that needs regular trimming. People who have some of the more exotic pets know that failure to clip hair can result in some serious health problems from clogged glands, etc.

Birds, tropical fish, iguanas and other kinds of pets also need to be considered in your survival plans. Tropical fish can be especially troublesome because they need a constantly oxygenated water supply. I don't know if you can get a battery-operated pump but you might want to find out.

One of the guys and I discussed what to do if you have a pack of hunting dogs. These animals can be an asset in assisting you with your hunting and self-defense plans; in a drawn-out disaster scenario even loyal and well-trained dogs can become dangerous when their food supply disappears. I can't tell you what to do in such a case, but I can tell you that it's something you need to think about...

If you have farm animals, make provisions for them also. Put up some extra feed, hay and straw. If worse comes to worse, you can always have a pig roast. If you have laying hens, postpone the chicken and biscuits until the last possible moment.