When disaster strikes, taking care of your family, both two-legged and four-legged, is often the first priority. While many people store food, build a reserve of cash and keep first aid and emergency essentials on hand, supplies for the pet are easy to forget. Food is just one part of a pet's emergency kit, but it's a very important one! Prepare and select your pets' emergency food rations carefully to ensure safety, usability and nutritional value when you need them most.
Emergency Food Packs for Pets
Mayday Emergency Pet Food
Mayday Industries manufacturers a complete and balanced dog food specially packaged for use in an emergency. It boasts a five-year shelf life and vacuum-seal packaging. Ingredients include, among others, yellow corn, meat and bone meal, chicken byproducts, brewers rice and soybean meal. Each sealed pouch contains enough food to sustain an average-sized dog for one day. Not only are these food packs excellent for inclusion in 72-hour packs, bug-out bags or emergency kits, they're perfect for long-term storage as well. Mayday emergency dog food can be purchased in bulk.
ER Emergency Pet Rations
ER Pet Food is a name-brand food formulated for all dogs' and cats' life stages. It meets AAFCO nutrient profiles and one 8-ounce pouch provides all necessary vitamins and minerals for average-sized pets for three days. Additional calories or extra servings may be necessary to help your pets maintain a healthy weight. ER emergency pet rations are hermetically vacuum sealed and shelf-stable for five years. Additionally, the packaging meets military specifications for a waterproof, vapor-proof, heat-stable material. According to QuakeKare customer support, top ingredients include corn, wheat, chicken meal, meat byproducts and animal fat.
Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Foods
Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods such as Sojos, Honest Kitchen and NRG, make excellent emergency food packs. Not only do many of these foods contain all-natural ingredients, most are pretty high-calorie. Some of the NRG formulas pack a whopping 600 calories or more per cup! For some pets, that's an entire day's worth of food. Lots of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods come in shelf-stable packaging and can be stored as-is. If a container must be opened, it's best to re-seal the food for storage or inclusion in an emergency pack. Consider vacuum-packing daily dry portions, making the food and canning it for long-term storage or, for dogs, baking the food into "K9 meal bars" and vacuum-sealing the bars.
Unfortunately, once opened, dry food isn't shelf stable and can go rancid in a matter of weeks. Even food that's in unopened bags only has a shelf life of a few months. Including your pet's regular dry food in an emergency kit is only feasible if you rotate the food on a regular basis so fresh food is continually being placed in the kit or in storage and your pet is eating the older food.
We also encourage you to check out ASPCA's info-graphic on keeping your pets safe when disaster strikes.
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.