Prepping for Your Dog

by Millie in K

In the rush of prepping for your family, don’t forget the canine members (and other pets) of your family! I will be writing about dogs, much of this same information will apply to cats and other pets. I have owned and cared for dogs all my life, owned a boarding kennel, taught obedience classes and trained service dogs, I was a retail sales clerk in a pet department, and was a groomer. I will try to cover things in a practical manner for you.

The first thing to consider is food. There are a couple of ways to approach this. You can buy and save commercial dog food for your dog. Or they can eat what you eat, in which case you want to make sure you buy for “another person”.

Dog food is processed and packaged to last 18-24 months. There is a date, somewhere on the bag that will indicate when the food expires. The little secret the dog food companies don’t tell you is that it will be good for at least a year afterwards, if the packaging is intact and you have not gotten bugs in it, or mice. So buy the food with the furthest expiration date you can and rotate, rotate, rotate! When SHTF you should not worry that Fido has the super-premium, all organic, all meat formula. Buy what you can NOW to meet his needs. If the super-premium food costs $60 a bag or the average food costs $40 a bag, save yourself some money and get extra food from the $20 you will save. Most of the mid-priced foods are very nutritious, especially if you can find a brand that is not so nationally advertised. For example, you can buy Blue Buffalo which is a good food in so many ways, but costs $50-60 for a 28 lb. bag. Or you can buy Premium Edge (manufactured by Diamond) for about $40 a 35 lb bag. There isn’t really a whole lot of difference, nutritionally, the difference in the price is the heavy advertising that Blue Buffalo does.

If you buy your food, check the expiration date. If it is getting within about 6 months of expiring, find someone ask for a big discount for you to take that food off their hands. You know it will last longer and you can use that food now, setting back food with a longer date for later use. They don’t want this food around because if it expires, they will have to throw it out.

This gets more complicated if your pet has a medical problem or allergies. In that case, you may want to think about feeding them what the family eats. Family dogs have eaten scraps for years, so long as you don’t overdo it on the fat, they will be fine. You can experiment now with two sources of nutrition. One will be a protein source, one will be a carbohydrate source. Most of the allergens that dogs react to are the grains, second is the meat source. If they are on a trout and sweet potato based food, you can start with that. Find a fish that the dog can tolerate. You can stock a pond, if you have it, for fresh fish for everyone. You can buy cans of fish for them for storage until you can figure out something else to do. You can fish for the dog every few days. Sweet potatoes can be grown in the garden and stored easily. Try and find other things your dog can eat in this case. Experiment by adding a singular kind of food to the regular diet for two weeks. If no reaction, you probably have found something else they can have. This needs to be done NOW so you can be ready for the future and know what they can have.

How much to buy? My dogs on average, eat about a cup of food a day. Sometimes the bag will indicate how many cups are in the bag. Sometimes you have to weigh a cup of food, divide the pounds in the bag by that weight to get the number of cups. Or you can take the kilocalories in the entire bag (don’t ask me why they put this on the bag) and divide that by the kilocalories found in a cup which will also be on the side of the bag. This will give you the number of cups in a bag. One thing to keep in mind is that most dogs are somewhat overweight. Dog food takes up room. So figure out how much food every day that Fido can have and then buy appropriately. Go ahead and get him slimmed down to what he needs to be. Then you won’t be wasting prep room for an overweight dog that is certainly going to be developing some kinds of health problems over time.

I have bought enough food for my pack for a year. I figure by that time, I may be sharing the food we have with them, or we will have figured out what will work for us. I worked out how much oatmeal I would need for each dog and it was an enormous amount. Oatmeal is a great thing to feed because it is one of the most nutrient dense grains there is. Corn, wheat or soy which often causes food sensitivities in dogs over time are not good choices, but rice is a good choice for most dogs, as is bread or macaroni. You can also explore other grains such as amaranth or milo.

When storing the food, it doesn’t matter so much if it gets cold. But it should not get hot. Most dog food is “extruded” meaning it is cooked, then made into a gooey mass and then extruded into nice little kibbles, which are then heated to “bake” them and sprayed with flavored oils to make them more appetizing for your pet. That oil can go rancid if the food is in a place where it is warm. Your dog will not eat it and nothing will make your pet eat that food if it smells bad to him. Canned food should be kept from freezing, as any canned goods should, as well as not getting hot. If you have it in a pile with your supplies, be sure you have some sort of rodent protection around it. Mousetraps or poison (make sure Fido does not go in that area!) or mothballs work. Dogs will eat mothballs and they are poisonous. They taste sweet to them. A better alternative is cedar oil or peppermint oil or dried leaves. Put the oil on cotton balls and refresh them every month, tuck them around the bags.

Plant a package of mint somewhere on your land. It can be very invasive so keep it away from your gardens or it will take over. It will re seed itself every year in that same patch; while you are about it, throw down a package of catnip for Kitty. She will appreciate the fun she can have with a fresh branch every day and you can dry it for winter fun or even tea for yourself if you desire.

When you run out of commercial food, Fido will have to rely on scraps, crows and other birds I can shoot, road kill and/or predator meat. If I shoot a coyote, I will put it to use. I probably won’t want to eat it but the dogs could. Any varmints, such as possums, groundhogs, foxes, feral cats, all could be useful for this. I am also working on a better chicken house so that my chickens are not being picked off by hawks, a cup of oatmeal and a fresh egg or two would make a fine meal for most dogs.

When hunting after SHTF don’t forget to save the bones for the dogs. Raw, uncooked bones will keep their teeth cleaner and provide some nutrition as there will be meat on the bones. If you still have electricity and can freeze them, they can be kept that way for a while, they can also be smoked. Be aware that all bones can splinter and cause awful problems, especially the cooked ones, so look for the sturdier leg bones for them. Take them away after most of the meat has been removed, throw them on the roof to dry out better, pulverize them in the spring to put calcium in your garden. Bones of smaller animals should not be given. However, if you decide to cook a whole rabbit or a chicken (or birds that have been shot for this purpose) in a pot of water, cook it covered on low (a la crockpot style of cooking) for 24 hours. Take a potato masher and mash it all up. The bones will be fragile and disintegrate. I cook chicken this way all the time for my dogs in the crock pot. Remove the skin on the chicken and the rabbit. Dogs can also have tongues, brains, liver, heart, etc. of whatever you hunt. You can also teach your dog to help hunt. Right now my barns are filled with mice and I’m going to be taking one down every day and letting them learn the joy of catching and eating a mouse.

Make sure you have a water bowl and a food bowl in your BOB, with food, a sturdy leash and collar for your pet. The water bowl can double as a food bowl if necessary and to save on weight. Kitties should always have a small crate; they get frightened and take off if you let them out. Some kind of litter box would be helpful and you can use just plain dirt for litter if necessary.

Water: A dog will need about 8 oz. of water (one cup) for every 5 lbs. of body weight. They will need a little more in hot weather. Dogs can and do drink some really scummy water and don’t seem to mind but some can be more particular. Mine really like the algae water that is in their swimming pool on a hot day, warm, green, very yummy apparently. They do have a shorter digestion system, so many of the things that would affect us can pass through their guts quickly and without problems. But you cannot count on that; giardia comes to mind, and coccidia. Those will cause digestive upsets and especially diarrhea. Make sure your water filter can make enough water for your pets, too.

Medicine, wormers and flea control: Please verify what I am telling you. I am not a vet nor do I play one on TV. Double check the dosages of anything you might need to give to your dog. Also be aware that many things that work well in humans and dogs will kill a cat, such as aspirin. Never give a dog Ibuprophen. Do some research on what you put in the kit for use in animals.

Also, NOW is a good time to be sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations and wormings. Get this on your to do list now and keep an eye on the timing for this. There won’t be vaccinations for animals when SHTF. Rabies is particularly important, no one wants to see a redux of Old Yeller with their beloved family pet.

Make sure there are things in your medical kit that will help Fido, should he need it. Benadryl for insect bites, particularly bees and wasps, is helpful. 1 mg. per pound is the dosage. A couple of different antibiotics for fish is a good idea, tetracycline is not as effective for most things but amoxicillin and cephalexin are good choice and easily obtained as fish medicine. Make sure you look up the right dosage for your pet’s weight.

You can buy tapeworm medicine made for fish, too, check the dosage and make sure it is written down. They will get tapeworms from fleas, they nibble the fleas and the fleas are ingested and then you have tapeworms. People can get tapeworms so it’s a good idea to keep on top of this. You can keep flea preventative on hand, I’ve not seen expiration dates on the spot on type. You can also make a tea out of mint and spray that on your dog, it will repel the fleas at least. Diatomaceous earth can be rubbed into the coat and put in the dog’s bedding, it supposedly cuts the flea larva up and dries out the adult fleas. Pennyroyal is also good for repelling fleas but should not be used on pregnant dogs.

If you are in an area with heartworms (carried by mosquitoes) you will want to be sure you have preventative on hand. You can buy cattle Ivermectin, the 1% injectable kind. The recommended dosage of cattle Ivermectin for dogs to prevent heartworm is .0015 milligrams to .003 milligrams per pound of body weight once a month. Figure the dosage very carefully and measure out with an insulin syringe, be sure you know what you are doing. This will be given ORALLY, not injected, once per month. Put it in something tasty to get it down your dog. You use the insulin syringe to get a more exact reading. Cattle Ivermectin is good for longer than the expiration date on the bottle. Never give Ivermectin to dogs that are of “collie” origin, collies, border collies, Australian shepherds, or mixes thereof. The measurements on an insulin syringe are in units. There are 100 units to 1 cc or 1 milligram. The 40 unit syringes are easiest to work with and you can reuse them for this purpose only. Do not think you can make a mistake on this; Ivermectin poisoning can kill your dog. Do some research to be sure you know what you are doing.

Training: You may need to train your dog for various duties when SHTF. One may be that you want the dog to raise Cain and bark its head off any time it sees a stranger or something unusual. Barking vigorously gives the impression that the dog means business, even if it is a small dog. Most people cannot read a dog’s body language and assume the dog means to bite if the dog can get to them and will give a wide clearance. Conversely, you may wish the dog to be silent. It may be best not to draw attention to what appears to be an abandoned house where you may be. Training to bark is easier than training not to bark. You may need to have some help bringing in cattle or sheep. Be sure your dog has some instinct in this area, you aren’t going to be able to bring in cattle with a Maltese, but you can train a poodle to retrieve ducks, it’s what they were bred for.

Toys: At some time, there will be worn out toys and we all like our dogs to have some fun. Old socks, knotted together make a fine tug toy as does an old rope. The lid from a 5 gallon bucket makes a pretty fair Frisbee. Bones are always amusing. And it’s probably not a bad idea to lay in a small supply of tennis balls for the dogs who love those to play with, we never know when we may run across another tennis ball!


  1. Babycatcher says:

    Thank you for this article! These are great ideas!

  2. A book I am currently reading about “The Collapse” has a section where he talks about getting items for his dog’s health. Timely.

  3. Awesome so true we forget, our four legged family!

  4. patientmomma says:

    Thanks for the information! If the dog food is kept cool how long will it safely last beyond the expiration date? I’ve been trying to figure out a way to store a year’s supply but have not gotten more than a few months. I have 12 dogs ranging from 2 pds to 110 pds and I go thru about 250 pds of dry food a month. When things go really bad I plan on making the Alaska mushers soup for the dogs. Cats are way easier!!

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Dog food can be processed like grains. freeze and store in oxygen free enviroment. If I fed that amount, I would put in 55 gallon Barrels, with oxygen absorbers.and DE. too much to freeze, unless in very cold climate. . Rotate.
      ..I would also store a ton of rice and oats, and begin cutting the feed bill now. One alternate would be to utilize the current feed with rice/oats ect. Even if you only feed hot food 3x week you should see drastic cost reduction…and you will know who tolerates it well and who does not. This should enable a deeper food supply for them.
      My feed bill is abt 1o0 lbs for 4 months..currently. These methods will work better for ones who use a similar amount. I store in a large tub (holds abt 150 lbs and seals with bung) and rotate. If very hot I will freeze a bag and store in bucket like flour.with like items. I also re use kitty litter buckets and jugs. A 2-3 gal jug filled with their kibble can be sealed, and lasts my dogs a few weeks.6 jugs will easily hold 50 lbs of food.
      I already give them treats from our left overs, stretching their current food. The overwt one has lost slowly and the smaller one is stable.
      When i had cats, it costs as much to feed those moochers as it did the humans.

      • patientmomma says:

        Thanks Anonamo Also!! I store all the animal food in 55 gal drums with removable lockable lids; some in the shed near the house and the remainder down at the barn. I normally put some bay leave in the barrels, but the newer barrels still smell of jalapeno peppers, so the mice and possums haven’t been a problem.

        I have used rice in the dog food I make when I harvest roosters but have not mixed with their daily food due to lack of time and laziness; but it would be very cost effective. A 25 pd bag of rice is about $17 and would definitely stretch their food, plus they would love it. I could just cook it at night and it would be ready for the morning feeding.

        I would have to check the availability and price of 25/50 pds of oatmeal. Normally I get my oats from the LDS store but they are #10 cans. I have made it for all the animals (the pigs love warm oatmeal) on really cold winter days, but it is the exception. But I like the idea to cut costs.

        I give them home made treats but I rarely feed dogs people food unless animal is sick and needs babying. Plus there would be a big dog fight.

        My four cats and two smallest dogs eat about 25 pds of dry cat food a month. During chicken harvest they get treats of minced chicken with juice or gravy. On cold days I make a mild gravy and pour it over their food bowls. I also save the kitty litter buckets which are great for all kinds of things plus they stack 6 high.

        Thanks for the ideas; it helps!

        • Anonamo Also says:

          Glad those ideas helped.
          Try the feed, tsc, store, they may have a grain mix suitable.. maybe rolled oats by the bag? I checked price just now on line, 17.99 50 lbs rolled oats/Producers Pride brand. Our grocery store has gereric old fashioned , or quick rolled oats in paper can like quaker, for 42 oz is 2.29. Wish I had a source for some of those barrells, every time i find any i am dead broke… I have plenty luck. Smile.
          I won’t let the dogs have cat food, too high in protein and is supposed to do kidney damage. Have two dogs. one is a pointer mix,weighs about 45 lbs now, was up to 65 24 months ago. the other weighs in about 16 lbs, a JRT. I give them just bites, by giving a bite or two it stimulates the little one’s appetite and he goes to his crunchies.

  5. mom of three says:

    Great article, I have forgotten how much dog’s needs are. Cat’s are a bit easier but still they need their humans to feed and pamper them..

    • mom of three says:

      Also our vet, said not to feed the hard food it’s like us eating potato chips, and why our cat put on the weight. I cut her dry food down and upped the wet but she sure cried for her dry food. If we get another kitten I’m going to feed wet, and give the dry food like a treat.

  6. Tennis balls are not good for dog teeth. Playing fetch with one is probably OK but if the dog is allowed to lay and chew on it it can do real damage. is a good source for dog food, it cost me the same as buying it in the store when the tax is included. Price includes free FEDEX delivery.

  7. Thanks Millie.
    Love the article. I’m an ole dog and cat Mom. Have food for each for a year plus. Kind of high end dehydrated raw plus canned. Set up for homemade transition for years as well. Also, homeopathics and CM guide with accupressure too.
    I have the mint growing. Need to get the catnip seeds! Gave the cat hunting opportunity since she was a kitten. Good idea to train the dog to hunt too. Barks just fine! The no bark is impossible!

  8. Owl Creek Observer says:

    Thanks very much for this info and for the dog chow recommendation. I just ordered a smaller bag of the Premium Edge lamb, rice and vegetables and will see how our Shih Tzu does on it. If it works, I’ll stock up.

  9. while I currently only have cats (who do not like dogs) I hope to have a dog sometime in the future and enjoyed the information. hopefully I find similar information on feeding cats a more natural way.

  10. Thanks for thinking of our “best friends.” I’ll keep a copy of this in my BOB too.

  11. Every time I go into my storage room for anything the dog comes with me and stands in front of the sliding door till I open it so he too ” can check his preps”. I keep at least 2 bags of both dog and cat food plus about 50 cans of wet food there.I figure that I can mix the dog food with beans and rice to stretch it out. After sniffing the bags he is content to leave the room wagging his tail.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Ha! Hello, poorman! Too funny that your dog likes checking on his own “preps!” At one point in time I thought that was what my big dogs were doing, too, until I realized – that they realized – this was the place I also stored their “treats” and were actually vying for such at any time of night or day I happened into the food storage area. I’m guessing your dog is more genuine than mine once were as he seems happy with simply knowing all is in order! Mine . . . not so much.

      When they both (two lovable, giant breed dogs at the time) started cornering me in the food storage area – not letting me simply leave without standing stoutly and literally making me think it an easier task to just give them a treat rather than push them both aside without offering a treat – I finally realized they had both “trained me” to give them a treat for merely acting the cute & interested doggies in the food storage area as happy tailed canines! 🙂

      I finally moved the treats to the kitchen – to a cabinet of which they could not corner me – and they suddenly didn’t give a diddly darn about their stored chow in the food storage / pantry area and became a bit irritated that I couldn’t be “cornered” in the kitchen for a “treat,” (as if they didn’t get daily “treats” – just cuz) without the frequencies of said antics after the transfer of such.

      Ha, ha, ha! Only took two years (more grins & giggles from this slow learning dog mom) to finally figure that one out before she moved the treats! Gotta love the smartie-pants fur kids that know where their main chow is stored and keep an eye on such, regardless – – – don’t ya’?!?! 🙂

  12. Chuck Findlay says:

    Dog food is a recent invention (likely invented to extract more money from people) before it came along dogs hat the same food people did.

    I don’t really see the need to store dog specific food as throughout most of history we shared with dogs they got by well eating table scraps.

    And lets be honest, almost all dogs prefer table scraps over dry dog food. They will eat dry food only when they figure out you are not going to give them any of your pork chop or steak.

    I would also look into a book on herbal meds that is dog based. Just stay away from books by ” Juliette de Baïracli Levy” She has a few dangerous things in her books and her things are not science based.

    • When you watch a “free range” dog on a farm, you will learn their true preference as to what THEY want to eat. My nephew’s dog prefers horse manure as his snack of choice. Next on the list seems to be rotten soybeans that smells a lot like the manure. He will chew on corn kernels for hours at a time. Any dead animal he can come across, if mummified all the better.

      Seriously, I find myself amused at the TV ads that declare with pride that X dog food has no grain. Dogs eat grain (even with a bowl of “dog food” waiting for them) all the time if they have access. I assume the ads just appeal to the owner’s guilt perhaps?

  13. Red Headed Stranger says:

    I cook chicken bones for my dogs too. I add a little (+ – one Tbsp) white cider to the water when I start the process. It helps break the bones down faster so you don’t have to cook ’em as long.
    Also, plan on getting bags for your dogs. The “saddle bag” type. There is no reason Fido can’t carry his food in a Bug Out situation. Even a small dog can help carry some of it’s own needs.

  14. BlueJeanedLady says:

    Thanks, Millie in K. I completely appreciated & enjoyed your detailed article concerning food prep / ideas for the canine furs as well as several of the follow-up comments about food preps for the pets. However, something you did not mention for preparing / prepping for our four legged charges was a specifically labeled, pet first aid kit (an actual kit) of which I believe should also be considered for our four legged furry family members! 🙂

    Granted, you mentioned a few health concerns and we all know that most domesticated mammals can benefit greatly from a human first aid kit, but I’m one of those people that has a separate first aid kit for the cats & dogs. Maybe it sounds redundant as I do have several human intended, first aid kits (home / autos) but I like keeping such a pet first aid kit separate simply because all items are not necessarily interchangeable. As well, I enjoy having human back-ups stored in the pet first aid kit just as a precautionary point for human duplicity, if necessary.

    I use a backpack (not cheap enough to fall apart after a toss or two such as elementary school aged student marketed backpacks, but reasonably priced & sturdy enough to endure routine wear & tear and light enough to pluck off the storage room wall and toss into the jeep if we need to head out in an emergency situation with the pets). I also keep a handwritten note tied to such to remind me to toss in any recently prescribed, temporary meds for the furs – medications which are probably living on kitchen counters if we’re currently dosing – should we need to evacuate in an unexpected hurry – or even if we just get an itch and want to head out for a long day or a short weekend at the lake with all the dogs in tow (the cats would prefer staying put for a day or two so for most short treks we merely supply them with extra kibble and water as the dogs go with) just for fun. Honestly, it’s calming to have most ready to go, whenever the want or need arises. Helps me stay sane – – – some of the time! 🙂

    Since our worry about the four legged creatures and possible emergency evacuation is limited to dogs and cats these days, I also keep my two first aid reference books (one for cats, one for dogs) in this bag, too. And yes, crates for the cats and the small dogs which are also easily accessible in the garage. Again, it’s nice to have all gathered in case of an emergency for a quick grab and go scenario.

    I’ve also been known to take such (pet first aid, backpack kit & crates) with us – skins & furs – to the root cellar / dirt floor basement (as well as the household human first aid kit with the human first aid reference book) in case of a tornado warning, too. Yes, I also have a “tornado kit” as I live in Tornado Alley also in a backpack that I keep stocked during tornado season, too. (You’d be amazed at how many average sized backpacks – as was I – you can throw on your shoulders and haul off in an emergency situation! Ha, ha, ha!)

    One thing I never see mentioned for a pet first aid kit – but now have in mine since the dawn of our days living with large & giant breed dogs – is a large & sturdy tarp or two. Actually it’s probably not a bad idea to add one to an automobile, human first aid kit, either . . . Note to self – buy more large, sturdy tarps for the human first aid kits used when traveling . . . just in case someone (or some large pet) is too heavy for a survivor to actually carry (it’s easier to drag than to carry) if 911 transport is not available back to civilization &/or full fledged medical facilities for either the skins or big furs. Again, just a precaution that I seldom see mentioned for pet prep (or skins) and believe should be considered in roving first aid kits.

    On the light side, especially since the dawn of the days of giant breed dogs for us, I also keep all the collars and leads the canines (& felines – although the kitties mostly disrobe of such before their 1st birthdays) outgrow all too quickly as all can be reused with the next kit or pup and these items now live in the bottom of my home-based / traveling pet first aid kit, too. Ya’ never know when you might be out and about around the hills and the lakes or a big state park and stumble upon an abandoned, friendly dog or cat. Nice to have the collars and leashes on hand to help the critters find their old (or new) forever homes when you can!

    Thanks again, Millie in K! Very smart, well written & informative article. You & yours keep taking care and continued happy prepping wishes for all.

  15. Desertwolf says:

    I have a dilemma when it comes to prepping for my dogs, we have four dogs and three people… On top of this two of them are abnormally large, and as such the services they provide I’m not sure I could part with. Dog 1 is a 120 lb lean beast that herds my goats and is trained in protection, his obedience is unwavering, and he is fast enough to catch small game given the oppourtunity, would probably try to take down a bull elk if I asked it of him. Dog 2 is a short 90 lb tank that people fear the sight of. His muscular build doesn’t allow him to run as fast as others, he is slightly protective mostly of children for whom he is a great source of entertainment., and he has jaws that put the jaws of life to shame, he does not bother my farm animals(aside from the cat,) but if there is any animal that does not bong there it won’t be for long. Dog number 3 is a 35 lb hound mutt that is a great tracker. She is still being trained but she could put a bloodhound to shame, she is a bit small to take on anything of any size herself, but with 1&2 by her side she is untouchable to any predator short of a bear. Dog number 4… Is a little tiny alarm system, the little girl will not part with. Of all of them she has the least use but I’m not going to complain because she is the easiest keeper. We go through 120- 200 lbs of dog food a month on a lean restricted diet for all( the reason for the fluctuation in feed is because of our extreme winters) all but #3 are house broken however it Gets hectic with that much energy in the house. I have found a cheap source of high protien feed with good ingredients. $23 for 40 lbs however the storage space….. Right now I have 3 large containers in an outdoor she’s that freezes in winter and gets around 115 in summer. And that might be 3 months of feed maybe?, and then there’s the question of a big out situation, until I finish my B.O.V. Project I am limited to a small crossover that hardly fits my people. 2,3,4 ride great in the car but, #1 who I see to be of the most use has a high energy level and takes up 2 seats. So here I am at an impass. I see all of them as necessary yet in a survival situation or a grid down situation it would be a struggle to keep all of them, if it were at all possible. Maybe I could get some ideas from the pack?

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Hello Desertwolf! Okay – since you asked – I’m going to take a stab at a portion of this! 🙂 I think you actually answered your own question about what to do,

      I see all of them as necessary . . .

      and are really only asking for ideas of how to do such,

      . . . yet in a survival situation or a grid down situation it would be a struggle to keep all of them, if it were at all possible.

      That noted, in the words of the brilliant & famous leader, (albeit fictional) Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Make it so.” 🙂

      Tackle the “struggles” head on, just as I suspect you do in all aspects of life, and make the survival of all skins & furs as positive & possible for you & yours as you can.

      Funny things first – – – Don’t talk to me about “abnormally large dogs” as I’ve got you beat by a landslide or two. Ha, ha, ha! I’ve raised English Mastiffs, among other dogs & cats, and they’ve all topped out between 210 – 220 pounds at full maturity! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      From the way you worded your post, Desertwolf, it doesn’t sound like getting rid of one or more of them is an option for you (nor should it be, IMHO, so thank you for valuing your pets and striving for the best outcome) but the real challenge you are questioning is how to actually manage such. I agree that might be challenging, yet I’m convinced it’s possible if you put your mind to such.

      Just to give you a bit of insight from where I’m coming from, I’ve been a lifelong pet person and yes, (cough, sputter, cough) I crossed the half century mark a few years back (meaning I have quite a bit of real life experience) and have seen too many instances of people getting rid of pets for selfish reasons & personal conveniences . . . sometimes even with great regrets, months & even years later. I don’t wish that on you at all and hope you keep trying to make it all work for your human and pet families. That said, please stay with me for a few more sentences as I share a few points of my personal opinions which might help you commit to doing all you can to keep all together because all are loved & valued pets.

      Not that I believe there are many, if any, of these types on this site at all, but I have read comments from some prepper types in the past (were they in jest? I know not) when some proclaimed (again, in jest or not?) about keeping their pets fat for human consumption – – – Jokes or not, those types of comments made my stomach crawl, so that’ why I’m piping up here.

      The sad reality for our loved and valued pets is that they don’t really have that many years here on planet earth to begin with (compared to the potential years that humans have) so we rather owe these creatures, who’ve entrusted their well-being into our hands, the sincerity of honest care for the entirety of their natural lifetimes – which is but a short blip in the timeline of our own potential lives.

      There’s a quote that I’m sure I’m mangling badly and darn it, I can’t find / cite the source either, but it goes something like this, “You can judge the character of a human being by how he or she treats the animals,” which has been a significant touchstone for me for decades. As I’ve always interpreted such: it means I keep taking care of those animals that have come into my life through thick or thin and they are not disposable when or if they simply become inconvenient.

      Enough about me and back to your inquiry. 🙂 It seems you have two major issues that you are concerned about. 1) How to store more dog food, and 2) how to transport the skins(3) & the dogs(4) (& the cats?) all at one time. Am I correct?

      I honestly don’t have much to add to issue #1) the food storage issue, as others have already covered most of what I do and added a few thoughts I’d not yet entertained that make very good sense to me. As I also know, a lot of pet prep is individual to each pet, too, so sometimes generic information is only a guideline and not necessary a rule. One thing I didn’t see mentioned in the article or comments (did I miss it?) was to make the decision to store the extra dog food bagged / canned chow in the house if it was too challenged with varying temps in sheds and garages. Maybe you could consider that option?

      We always dump the big bags, as they are purchased, into large Rubbermaid type bins with the snap seal lids and no longer keep unopened bags just stacked. Although we also have great variations between winter and summer month temperatures like you do, we’ve not had many problems with storing some of the extra (in large Rubbermaid containers) in our detached garage. No the garage is not insulated – – – but there’s so much junk in the garage that I do think the junk acts as a bit of an insulator in the winter months! Ha, ha, ha! We did have mice get into the garage and then the pet food bags one winter (before purchasing multiple Rubbermaid containers – and remember that’s mostly a one time purchase so not that expensive in the long haul) so that was the simple ending, altogether, of any pet food bag stacking practices and all’s been relatively uncomplicated since.

      Again, for food prep, re-read the article & all of the other comments and do some addition research on your own and I’m certain you can work out the food issues.

      Now, as far as your #2) transport issue . . . this much I can offer with semi-confidence! (Don’t ask how many times I learned by experience alone but feel free to question me if I seem to not make sense! Traveling with pets is not for the light-hearted but it can be done. 🙂

      Let me clarify how I read a few points in your post considering issue #2) how to transport all, and please correct me if I’ve misunderstood:
      Dog 1) 120 lbs., goat herder, protector / guardian, A+ in obedience, fast, energetic, prefers 2 seats in car.
      Dog 2) 90 lbs., intimidating looks, protective / guardian, entertaining, minds his own business around others except for animals that don’t belong, with a tendency to bug the cats, travels well
      Dog 3) 35 lbs., great tracker – still learning & improving that skill, holds her own with the big dogs, travels well, (but still not housebroken?)
      Dog 4) Tiny dog, the little girl’s best, best, bestest friend, travels well
      The Cat(s?) Unless the cat(s) are completely feral (and maybe even then if they are good mousers / small rodent assassins) they need your attention, too.
      Keepers, of course, one and all, indeed! 🙂

      Questions – – – With the possible one time evacuation to a bug out location, is there any other reason you would need to take all the skins & furs anywhere in a single vehicle at the same time? I’m not certain what you mean about a “crossover” vehicle (I’m soooo not a vehicle, lingo-recognition person) but how many seats does it have and is there a cargo area? Do you have a trailer hitch and/or a trailer to reach your bug out location? (If not, these might be good purchase priorities to look into & I’d suggest this even if you didn’t have pets – – – both are just such practical property additions to own and can be used in a multitude of ways for a multitude of purposes.)

      Before beginning a long journey, add to the expected travel time as every hour or two, quick breaks (yes, quick) will be needed to help break-up the boredom and restlessness with all except the cats. (The cats won’t be happy til you get to your new location!) Be sure to have collars and leads for all and transport extra water / water bowls for all to use during breaks.

      1) Get that #3 dog housebroken, now as she’ll need that skill for the trip! Ha, ha! You didn’t mention her age, but unless she’s old and incontinent due to health issues, you really can teach a dog of any age new tricks. Make it a priority for a couple of weeks and I’ll bet she catches on quickly. Be sure to give her tons of praise for making an outdoor deposit! 🙂
      2) Invest in (if you haven’t yet) at least two (more if transporting cats) smallish yet appropriately sized, hard plastic travel kennels / crates with a wire door for dogs #3 and #4. They are both small enough (and the crates are affordable enough for the people) to comfortably travel in such. Keep a leash attached to each kennel to use for any necessary road trip breaks – – – last thing you need in a bug out situation is a run-away dog.

      – – – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can almost here your little girl crying because she wants to hold doggie #4 in her lap but stay strong, emphasize that this is “an unusual situation” and the dog must be kenneled for his/her own safety. (Let her put the kennel on the floor under her feet, or nearby if possible, for a possible reduction in tears. 🙂 I’m assuming, of course, she is indeed, “a little” girl, of whom I’m willing to give a few emotional breaks! 🙂 – – –

      3) Put small dog #3 (also kenneled) on opposite floorboard in backseat area.
      4) Give dog #2 his own seat next to the little girl. Do put a lead on him in case he decides to dash (he’s the slower one, isn’t he?) when you stop for breaks. With the lead / leash already attached to his collar you can probably grab it before he gets too far.
      5) If it’s a bench seat, put the little girl in the middle of both dog #2 and dog #1 and tether – with a lead attached / securely tied to a permanent, non moveable (don’t use the door handle) part of the interior vehicle – for dog #1 so he can’t go any further than perhaps putting his head in little girl’s lap or atop the kennel directly in front of him on the floorboard so he won’t be randomly roaming the entire interior.
      (Been there – that happened once with a giant breed dog trying to crawl into the front seat as we were traveling down an interstate highway at 80 mph – scared the baloney out of me – made sure it never happened again. Ha, ha!)
      Keep dog #1’s lead on him, also, just untie it from the anchor source & keep a firm hand on it, when you stop for breaks so he doesn’t dash off either. If you do have a decent sized cargo area, you could also consider tethering up dog #1 in that area instead of a single seat.
      Also – – – If the cat(s) are also traveling, two small ones (as long as you don’t pair up a tom with a gal in heat) can share another smallish kennel and be placed in the cargo area. The cats will probably do best if you make sure the wire area of a plastic kennel is facing away from the crowd. They are cats, and I love cats, too – – – but they will most likely appreciate some privacy during this crowded transport! 🙂

      May not be the most fun road trip you’ll ever take – and yes all (people included) will probably howl at times – but when you all arrive at your destination safely, it will certainly be one of the most gratifying trips as all of the skins and furs begin adjusting to the new space.

      Sorry so long, but again, heed the words of Captain Picard and, “Make it so!” Best wishes for all.

      • Desertwolf says:

        Thank you for your ideas, I really apreciate the positioning ideas you have, unfortunately the cargo area is completely filled as is one of the rear passenger seats with four bags,(one for each human and one combined for the animals. )And a small tent, a jug of water and a small tool kit, we travel light, one because I have made it my business to be as resourceful as possible and two, because of limited space, with my vehicle a trailer is not much of an option and I have the roof space already filled in my mind with other necesary equipment, if some way some how I could find a luggage rack. I’m currently working on a secondary vehicle that I’m specifically customizing for this purpose, that will suitably pull a small trailer (which is next on the list. However it is still a few months to a year out due to budget and time restrictions… I have concidered letting him (dog #1)take my seat and taking my motorcycle, which would only be safe for a late spring or summer bug out. As for the cats…. It may be that I am cold hearted, or it may be that I don’t think there could be any situation in my area that would greatly impact their current living situation, (aside from #2 not being around,) so they will probably be left behind.. And the potty training #3 is a work in progress, she is young but my biggest excuse is little girl likes to let her roam the house with no one watching. Thank you very much for your advice.

  16. BlueJeanedLady,

    Off hand, I don’t know how much the tarps you have in mind cost, but Rescue Essentials sells a sturdy fabric litter (folds and/or rolls up) that can hold up to 500lbs. They sell them for $16.49 each. They can be machine washed and re-used, although they are designed as one use disposables. They have carrying handles on the sides, front and back.

    I’ve used this type of litter before and it beats the heck out of using a tarp (actually a rain poncho). Easier on the patient as well as the people toting the load.

    Just a thought.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Zulu 3-6. Thanks for the comment / additional purchase recommendation. In hindsight I realize I used the term “tarp” too loosely & in too much of a generic manner which was not entirely adequate / correct for the situation(s) I mentioned. My apologies to all.

      The “tarp” we currently have in our pet first aid kit – and the ones I’m imagining adding to the human auto first aid kits – are indeed painting tarps (none are of the light weight plastic ones being mere ponchos as you adequately described) yet the one we have used successfully for an ill and non-mobile English Mastiff pet (over 200 pounds – but maybe we just got lucky) was made of canvas and worked like a dream for our needs at the time. (That canvas tarp and some lovely neighbors helped saved that big boy’s life as we loaded him into our SUV for transport to the vet-med hospital.) That said, especially because we probably got a bit lucky with our chosen options, thanks for bringing up a correction & clarification & offering yet another source to purchase a more appropriate item for future consideration.

      I like your idea from Rescue Essentials (I did not know of this entity previously) and hope others do, too. I’ll be researching this site, soon. Thanks for the head’s up to this source / site. More thanks, again, for offering a better source option for a more appropriate item in case my casual comment unnecessarily confused anyone! I honestly appreciate your clarification about such a product(s) while offering a better option for our needs and hope others do, too, for their own needs!

      -BlueJeanedLady- Wow! What we can learn from like minded friends! Glad to meet you, Zulu 3-6! 🙂

      • BJL,

        My pleasure in bring a bit of info to you and the pack. My interests lie primarily in first aid (I used to be a paramedic), and self-defense (I am a retired cop and retired military – hence the carrying an injured person on a rain poncho, in the rain). I try to keep track of useful tidbits in those fields.

  17. Anonamo Also says:

    Also Do not forget to get extra collars, leashes, a tie out chain in case you need to control closely and prove the control you have..a crate treats, and a soft mat for them to rest on, in some areas you will need foot protection for their paws.especially in areas where chemicals could be, or where it is very cold…insulated , water protection can definitely make your dog more comfortable. also will need a first aid pack for them, specific to your animal…

  18. I have large cans of sweet potatoes that I keep in case my chicken needs feed. There are plans for more chickens in the spring. But, since dogs like sweet potatoes, cans for them can be used for humans, too. A little crossover never hurts.

    My one hen pouts and will not eat unless she gets a small portion or large of whole oats. She eats from my cardboard canister and gets warm oats with oil in the winter.

    I store Uncle Ben’s PARBOILED Brown Rice for myself. Parboiled brown rice stores almost as long as white rice and has 80% of the nutrition of brown rice, much more than white rice. Chickens love rice, oats, and sweet potatoes. So do dogs! I will get a dog, so I have thought about dog food before.

    As for bones, use a pressure cooker on them to soften where an animal can eat them. I accidentally cooked a chicken in the crockpot for about 24 hours and a friend noticed the chicken had a funny texture. He was eating the soft bones.

    A friend said his mother pressure cooked bones for their dogs, so I know it works on any size bones.

    I also pull grass and weeds I have seen my chickens eat. Remember, people want other animals along other than dogs and cats. I have a cage for her, but want one like dogs and cats use that has a handle.

    My chickens will get some of their own eggs plus all the shells. Remember, dogs will eat chicken shells. Plus, they are good for dogs. So, if you have chickens, you could store the eggshells once baked, not burned, for a while in the oven. I don’t know if cats will eat the shells, but ground shells would work for them if they are not harmful to cats.

    Well, this comment seems a little disjointed and maybe out of line for a dog prep. My hen is also my pet.

    By the way, you can freeze the dog food to prevent bugs since they dog food most likely will have bug eggs in it. Don’t store in plastic since rats and mice can smell it. I would think that a metal garbage can would make a great storage. Just make sure the lid is fastened some way since a larger animal (dog, raccoon , bear) might decide to take off the lid or turn over the can.

  19. A very nice article, however, I would not recommend giving ANY cooked bones to dogs. As a vet tech I could tell many stories of dogs suffering from well-meaning owners giving them cooked bones. And here is a good rule of thumb for homemade dog food: 1/3 protein (meat), 1/3 carbohydrate (rice), and 1/3 veggies (like green beans, or peas and carrots). NEVER ONIONS. And you should supplement with a canine-type vitamin. I like Dr Fosters and Smith ( Also, if your dog is overweight you can reduce his regular food by a tablespoon (small dog) or a few tablespoons up to 1/4 cup per meal and add in the equivalent amount of canned green beans. They will slim down nicely. Remember not to ever give your dogs chocolate, grapes (or raisins also), onions or any other foods that can cause them harm. There are tons of lists online to research or call your local veterinarian. Dogs are not always smart when it comes to choosing and eating foods. Or bones. As for storing commercial dog foods, I do recommend freezing them like other grains or food before storage. We just disposed of a wormy bag of new food we opened for our two GSDs. Yech. I would have taken it back to the store if I had kept the receipt.

    Blessings all…..

    • Should say…”a few tablespoons up to 1/4 cup per meal FOR A LARGE DOG”….nd add in the equivalent amount of canned green beans.

  20. My vet recommended a much higher dose of ivermectin – 1 mg per 10# of body weight. This was to cover all worms, not just heartworms. I’ve done this for years on several dogs with no ill effects and no worms.

    • That dose is from memory – don’t use it without checking with your vet. It might be 0.1 mg.

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