Feeding Our Dogs In An Emergency

Disclaimer: I am not a vet or canine nutritionist. I do have years of experience feeding my own dogs and wish to write about that experience. I have also taken canine nutrition and health courses to assist me in writing about dog health and help my own dogs. If you choose to use information I am writing about that is your choice and there is nothing wrong with that.

Taking Care Of Our Pets

Everyone wants to take care of their dogs the best they can. There are as many different ways to do this as there are dogs and people and not one way is the best. You know your dog best and how he reacts to different things, including food.

In the situation that the world is in now, we don’t really know how easy or difficult it will be to give our dogs the optimal care in the future.  Dog food is usually purchased from a store, or online and delivered but someone has to make that food for us. Supplements or special diets can be purchased from companies for dogs, and some people just rely on whatever they can get or maybe don’t really think about it much from day to day. No matter what you are feeding your dog(s), you most likely have to rely on others to get at least some of it.

What I’ve Been Feeding My Dogs

For several years now, I have been feeding my dogs fresh food – raw meat/organs, eggs, fish, bone broth, oysters etc. This is real food – not all raw, but real. I don’t feed anything processed or with additives.

When we realized that we will most likely be isolating ourselves to try and prevent sickness for the next few months, we were not worried about how to feed ourselves and our dogs because we have been prepared for many months and even years for something like this. It is just part of being prepared – especially if we have animals that we need to look after.

We are currently feeding three dogs: Ira – 86lbs, Emmett – 55lbs and JoJo – 43lbs

It’s important to know how much your dog weighs and SHOULD weigh when thinking about how to feed him in an emergency.

My dogs normally get two meals a day: 

9 am Breakfast – raw meaty bones, mostly chicken, sometimes duck or rabbit with amounts according to each dog’s weight.

4 pm Supper – meat, organs, occasionally meat with bone depending on the dog and what he/she needs that day, supplement food ( eggs, oysters, bone broth, greens and other vegetables, some fruits that we grow ourselves – raspberries, apples, Saskatoon berries and herbs etc.)

Extras

In the evening before bed, all the dogs get a small treat, usually cooked meat or fruit. I brush their teeth 5 night out of the week with coconut oil.

What Will Change In An Emergency

So now that we’ve gone over that, things have changed in the last few months. Currently, we ourselves still have to limit going out to get food for the dogs, as in we don’t go out at all anywhere there are people. I have always had a good supply of food for both ourselves and the dogs on hand. I try to keep each food item at a certain level and not take from that unless we can replace it immediately. However, over the last couple of months we have had difficulty obtaining meat at our usual suppliers because we can’t go there. Our stock has been depleted. So far we have not been able to replace what we had stored in the freezer.

We need to be prepared for anything – even the most serious situation that we can think of. When you prepare for these things, you will have peace of mind because you don’t have to worry about where the next meal will come from. This means being able to grow or produce some of your own food and your dog’s food, as well as have enough on hand before things get worse, for whatever the issue is.

What We Did

Our plan was to supplement dry dog food, which we had picked up weeks before trouble started from the grocery store, with as much local food and our own produce as possible, if necessary. I had a feeling a few months ago that we would possibly need some extra food, so we made the decision to buy dry dog food. Since all the types of food that were available to us were pretty much the same – grocery store brands – it didn’t really matter what we picked. We weren’t going to be able to make a trip to the city to get better quality dry food ( if you can say there is such a thing), so this would have to do.

The result was that I ended up feeding one of our dogs dry food for each of the two meals and alternately adding in mixed blended greens and herbs from our garden, sardines, canned salmon, apples, raspberries and Saskatoon berries from our garden/property and eggs.

As an aside, any green plant fed to a dog MUST be either cooked or pureed, otherwise the nutrients will not be absorbed by the dog’s system. There is some good research showing that adding some vegetables to a dog’s daily meals decreases the risk of cancer. For more info on this please refer to planetpaws.ca

Emmett has always had issues with eating fresh food, likely due to his age at when we started do that. He has trouble eating organs without getting loose stool and can’t eat ground beef at all – cooked or raw. He just throws it up. So he was the obvious candidate for feeding the dry food to. Emmett has been eating dry food with supplements for a couple of months that we have not been able to properly grocery shop.

JoJo and Emmett getting ready to go for a walk in the park after a long isolation.

At the end of June (a few days ago) we obtained fresh beef from a friend’s ranch for us and the dogs. This made me extremely relieved because the meat is all in our freezer now and we don’t have to worry about running out completely or having to go to the city to shop.

We also have livestock for our own emergency meat. I won’t discuss this in this blog post as it won’t pertain to any of you who do not have the capability to raise your own livestock. But this is something that could be looked at for the future if and when things settle down and the opportunity to do so becomes available.

The Most Important Thing

It’s crucial to be prepared in advance. Most people are not prepared and live from pay check to pay check.  I have seen so many posts and comments where people defend that they cannot prepare for emergencies because they can’t afford it. This is either an avoidance tactic or a complete misunderstanding. There are so many things that money is spent on that are not important. Avoiding buying those “wants” is crucial to having peace of mind and knowing you won’t run out of important things.

We all know know that emergencies can happen because they just did. Don’t waste another minute not being ready.

Panicking and hoarding means you are NOT prepared. We are not talking about that. Being prepared means getting to that point over a long period of time in an organized and calm fashion. It also means getting the best information you can and doing the best you can in a crazy situation.

So there are many things you can do to avoid getting into a situation that is super stressful. But that requires thinking ahead and avoiding impulse purchases. But that is for another blog post.

Being prepared for the dogs is important, in order to give them the best care possible.