A YouTube follower recently requested an article on prepping your dog for SHTF. I’ve done a poor job of preparing my dogs for emergencies. I think it’s time to write a comprehensive article on doggy preparedness.
I’m not a professional, but I did do a lot of research for this article. I hope this information helps you prepare your dogs for a natural disaster, long term SHTF, or a short-term emergency.
3 Things to Consider Before Prepping
Before you start prepping for your pup, think about your dog’s capabilities, the location where you live, and the most likely disaster you will face.
All dogs are not created equal, so Prep for what your dog can handle. An unneutered Weimaraner trained as a hunting dog is in better condition to handle bugging-out on foot. In the right location, he may supplement his diet by scavenging for food and water, and he has the strength to carry his supplies.
A 14-year-old lab with a bum leg and bad eyes will be dependent on you for survival and may not be able to bug out or will put your group in so much danger you’ll have to make some tough decisions.
Urban areas are more subject to Without Rule of Law situations where stealth is necessary, depending on the breed a dog may give you away and put your group in danger. My dogs are barkers and way too friendly. Not the best when you are trying to stay undetected.
In an urban area, your dog will be more dependent on you for food and water than in the woods.
Most Likely Disaster
Consider the most likely disaster as you plan for survival. How you will get out of dodge with your dog(s.)
Bugging-out with a vehicle, walking out on foot or Bugging-in your home are going to present different challenges you will have to plan for.
Walking out on foot is going to be the most challenging scenario for most breeds. Only a highly trained dog, which most of us don’t have, will be an asset and not a hindrance when evading detection on foot.
Let’s take a look at survival supplies for your dog and daily calorie requirements
How Many Calories Does My Dog Need Per Day?
Before you decide how much food to stockpile you need to know how many calories your doggie will need per day.
The calorie count requirements in the following chart are based on an imaginary “average dog” by weight. You can use this chart to ballpark the amount of dry dog food to stockpile.
The calorie count(s) in the following chart are based on an average imaginary dog.
- The Dog Lives indoors
- He gets moderate exercise
- Doggie is spayed or neutered.
- Fido Is eating Purina Dog Chow, Complete Adult Formula with Chicken, at 416 calories per cup. I picked a typical dog food as an example: it gets good reviews, is relatively inexpensive, and readily available.
Table #1 Daily Calorie Count Requirement By Dog Weight
|Dog Weight (lbs)||Daily Calories Required||Cups of Food Per Day||3-Day Supply|
|30 Day Supply (lbs)|
|10||206||1/2 (.49)||1.5||14 3/4||3 3/4|
|15||274||3/4 (.65)||2 1/4||19 1/2||5|
|20||342||1 (.82)||3||24 3/4||6 1/2|
|25||410||1 (.98)||3||29 1/2||7 1/2|
|30||479||1 1/4 (1.15)||3 3/4||34 1/2||9|
|35||547||1 1/2 (1.31)||4 1/2||39 1/2||10|
|40||615||1 1/2 (1.47)||4 1/2||44 1/2||11 1/2|
|45||683||1 3/4 (1.64)||5 1/4||49 1/2||12 1/2|
|50||751||2 (1.80)||5 1/2||54||13 1/2|
|55||820||2 (1.97)||6||59 1/2||15|
|60||888||2 1/4 (2.13)||6 3/4||64||16|
|65||956.||2 1.2 (2.29)||7 1/2||69||17 1/2|
|70||1024||2 1/2 (2.46)||7 1/2||69||17 1/2|
|80||1160||2 3/4 (2.78)||8||83 1/2||20.87|
|85||1229||3 (2.95)||9||88 1/2||22 1/2|
|90||1297||3 1/4 (3.11)||9 3/4||94||23 1/2|
|95||1365||3 1/2 (3.28)||10||99||25|
|100||1433||3 1/2 (3.44)||10||104||26|
- 30 x dog weight in pounds
- Divided by 2.2
- + 70
- Equals: The average dog’s daily caloric requirement.
- I then divided the daily calorie requirement by calories provided per cup of dry dog food.
- This will tell you the minimum number of cups to feed your dog per day. Use the calories or kcalories per cup listed on the dog food bag. The kcals provided by kibble are a little different for every brand.
Dry dog food that meets the American Association of Feed Control Officials guidelines has calories provided per cup on the packaging.
AAFCO guidelines are the general basis for the nutritional content of commercial pet foods.
A working dog, a puppy, a sick dog, or a pregnant dog may require a special diet. Check with your Veterinarian if you need clarification.
Find the Caloric Content Statement On a Bag of Dog Food
As Per the Association of American Feed Control Officials AAFCO: Caloric Content Statement: must be located on the dog food bag under a heading titled “Calorie Content.”
- The Caloric Content Statement is the section on a dog food bag where kilocalories or kcals are listed by unit (e.g., per can, per cup, or biscuit) and calories per kilogram of kibble.
- Calories or kcals per cup will help you determine how many cups of dog food your dog need per day.
- Kcals per kilogram will be used to determine the total calories in a bag of dog food.
What Is a kCalorie?
- For our purposes, a Calorie and a kilocalorie are the same things. Following is the definition of kcal from Nutrition.gov.
- “The “calorie” we refer to in food is kilocalorie. One kilocalorie is the same as one Calorie. A kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius.
Dry Kibble Pounds to Kilograms Chart
Convert total pounds of dog food to kilograms of dog food, and use “kcals per kilogram” provided in the “Caloric Content Statement” to determine the number of calories or kcals in X pounds of dog food.
Table #2 Dog Food Pounds to Kilogram Conversion
|Pounds of Dog Food||Pounds to Kilogram Conversion|
|5 lb Bag||2.267 kg|
|10 lb Bag||4.53 kg|
|15 lb Bag||6.8 kg|
|20 lb Bag||9.07 kg|
|25 lb Bag||11.33|
|30 lb Bag||13.6|
|35 lb Bag||15.87|
|40 lb Bag||18.1|
|45 lb Bag||20.41|
|50 lb Bag||22.67|
Converting LBS of Dog Food to Kilograms: Directions
- Look at your dog food bag and find out how many pounds of food is in the bag. Convert pounds to kilograms.
- On the Google search engine, type “convert pounds to kilograms,” A conversion calculator will be at the top of the page. Or, look at the chart above.
- Knowing the total Kgs in a bag of food is needed to
- Calculate the calories in an entire bag of dog food
- Calculate How many days the bag will feed your dog.
How Long Will A Bag of Kibble Feed My Dog?
5 Steps: The Number of Days a Bag of Kibble Will Feed Your Dog
- Convert the lbs of dry dog food, in the bag, to kilograms (see chart above for most common dog-food bag size, lb to kg conversions)
- A 42 lb bag of dog food has 19.05 kilograms.
- Take the number of kilograms you converted from lbs on the dog food bag and multiply by the kcal count per kilogram on the bag of dog food (see the picture above)
- The 19.05 kg of dog food is multiplied by 3598 (kcal per kg found on the calorie statement) equals 68,541 kcals in this 42 lb bag of dog food.
- Divide the total calories in the bag (68,541) by the daily requirement for your dog.*
- As an example, the average 40 lbs dog needs 615 kcals per day. (see chart above)
- Divide total calories in the bag 68,541 by the daily calorie requirement for a 40lb dog of 615 calories.
- 68, 541 divided by 615 equals 111. 5 days (rounded up)
- This calculation gives you the number of days a specific bag of food will feed the average dog based on daily calorie requirements.
- The 40 lbs dog in the example will get its daily calorie requirement from this 42 lbs bag of dog food for 111.5 Days
*see chart above for the average daily calorie requirement by dog weight.
How Many Cups of Dry Dog Food Are In The Bag?
One Pound of Dry Dog food contains 4 cups of kibble.
The number of cups in a pound of dry dog kibble will vary slightly by brand. This chart provides a good baseline for calculating SHTF food to store for your pup.
Table #3 Dry Dog Food Conversion: Pounds to Cups
|Dog Food In Pounds||Cup Conversion|
Calories In 1 Cup of Dry Dog Food/ Kibble
Following is a list of calories, per cup, for some common dog foods. I went to Wally Mart and big box stores and took the information directly from the bag of each manufacturer. To find the kcal/calories in your specific brand of dog food, find the “calorie content” section on your bag of dog food. (see picture above.)
Table #4 Kirkland Signature Costco Brand Kibble (calories per cup)
|Adult Formula Chicken, Rice, Vegetable (Costco Brand is what I feed my dogs)||393/kcals/cup|
|Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal and Sweet Potato||336/kcal/cup|
|Nature’s Domaine Beef Meal & Sweet Potato||327/kcal/cup|
|Nature’s Domain Puppy Chicken & Pea Formula||340/kcal/cup|
|Nature’s Domain Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato||336/kcal/cup|
|Adult Formula Lamb, Rice, and Vegetable||373/kcal/cup|
|Puppy Chicken, Rice Vege Formula||390/kcal/cup|
Table #5 Whole Earth Farms Kibble (calories per cup)
|Turkey and Duck/Grain Free||381/kcal/cup|
|Pork, Beef and Lamb/Poultry Free||374/kcal/cup|
|Salmon and Whitefish||373/kcal/cup|
Table #6 Blue Buffalo Kibble (calories per cup)
|Adult Chicken & Brown Rice||377/kcal/cup|
Table #7 Simply Nourish Kibble (calories per cup)
|Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe||370/kcal/cup|
Table #8 Nutro Kibble (calories per cup)
|Beef & Brown Rice||339/kcal/cup|
|Lamb & Rice||303/kcal/cup|
Table #9 Hill’s Science Diet Kibble (calories per cup)
Table #10 Authority Kibble (calories per cup)
|Adult/Large Breed Chicken and Rice||371/kcal/cup|
Table #11 Purina Kibble (calories per cup)
|Pro Plan, Adult Chicken, and Rice||382/kcal/cup|
|Pro Plan Shredded Blend Beef & Rice||371/kcal/cup|
|Beneful With Farm-Raised Beef||346/kcal/cup|
|Dog Chow Complete Adult Formula with Chicken||416/kcal/cup|
|Dog Chow With Real Beef||421/kcal/cup|
Table #12 Pedigree Kibble (calories per cup)
Table #13 IAMS Kibble (calories per cup)
|Mini-chunks for Large Breed||351/kcal/cup|
|Lamb & Rice||359/kcal/cup|
Wet Dog Food: Calories Per Can
Old Roy Canned Dog Food
|Chicken & Rice||418/kcal/13.2oz can|
Pedigree Canned Dog Food
|High Protein Beef & Lamb||370/kcal/13.2oz can|
|Chicken & Turkey||363/kcal/13.2oz can|
Purina Canned Dog Food
|Beyond Chicken & Sweet Potato||304/kcal/12.5oz can|
|Beyond Beef Potato & Green Bean||442/kcal/12.5oz can|
Blue Bison Dog Food
|Wilderness, Lamb||522/kcal/12.5oz can|
|Wilderness Beef & Chicken Grill||523/kcal/12.5oz can|
How Long Can I Store Dry Dog Food in My Survival Pantry?
Dry dog food or kibble will store for 12 to 18-months unopened in-store packaging. Kibble contains moisture in the form of lipids or fats, which increase the speed of oxidation. Oxygen-free storage will not eliminate the enzymes that cause kibble to spoil. Opened kibble will last six months.
You can probably get another 12 months out of dog food by storing it in Mylar bags with Oxygen absorbers, but it’s not worth the time and expense. There are better options for long-term situations.
- Use kibble for emergencies out to the “best buy date and rotate with FIFO (First In First Out). There are better options for long-term storage.
- Dry Dog Food is one of those prepper foods better off left in-store packaging.
- If you store your dry dog food in an airtight dog-food bin lipids and fat will build up in the container.
- If you use a bin don’t take the food out of the bag.
- O2 absorbers produce moisture in the food package. They can develop mold rings when used in kibble. Consider that Kibble is already borderline when it comes to moisture content. O2 absorbers add more moisture.
- Kibble has pores that make it difficult for oxygen absorbers to create an oxygen-free environment.
Warning: If kibble is above 10% moisture content, oxygen absorbers should not be used in your storage container as anaerobic bacteria such as botulism may form.
14 Ways to Tell Your Dog Kibble is Bad
You can usually tell if the dry dog food is bad. It will look discolored, or it will smell sour or rancid. A dog can handle eating foods and drinking water that would make a human sick. The problem is you don’t know when it will be a problem.
- Food smells off, rancid or sour
- Food is discolored
- Kibble is overly moist
- Food has mold growing on it
- Signs of bugs
- Your pup won’t Eat the Food
- Your pup eats but reluctantly, and in small doses
- Your dog eats and doesn’t act right. You’ll know.
- After eating, your dog gets sick
- Abdominal cramps or pain
- Lack of appetite
- Skin rash
6 Long-term Effects of Dogs Eating Spoiled Kibble
Your dog may be less demanding; they may be hungry enough to eat lousy food. Here are six long-term effects your dog may experience if they eat bad kibble.
- Poor coat and hair condition
- Hair Loss
- Lethargy and lack of energy
- Sleeps more than normal
- Weakened Immune System
Is Canned Dog Food Good For Long-term Storage?
Canned Dog Food has a “best buy date” of two years, but you can get a good ten years out of it. Wet or canned dog foods are one of the best options for long-term storage; they take up less space than dry dog food, they provide extra moisture, and less food rotation is required.
- Expensive per kcal.
- It’s heavy
How Long Is Canned Dog Food Edible?
Canned food, in general, including dog food, is safe to eat and retains its nutritional value way beyond the two year “best buy date.” There may be some decline in color and texture, but if appropriately stored, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf-life if stored below 75° F.
10 Signs A can of Dog Food is Bad
- Bulging lid (botulism)
- Dented or otherwise damaged
- Broken Seal
- Bubbling when opened
- Food is moldy
- Food Spurts out of the can when opened
- Hissing sound when opened
- Food looks spoiled
- Food smells foul
- Can is leaking
Is Freeze Dried Dog-food Good for Longterm Storage
- Most of the freeze-dried dog-foods I found are more like homemade types of food or cooked natural ingredients freeze-dried, not actual kibble.
- Freeze-dry your dog food if you want to go that route. Again, it’s expensive. The home freeze-dry units can bust the bank.
- I’m not affiliated with HarvestRight, but they set the standard for home-based freeze-drying units.
List of Companies That Sell Freeze-dried Dog Food
- Dr. Marty Nature’s Blend
- Open Farm
- Whole Life
- The Honest Kitchen
- The Ready Store
Make Dog Food From Your Long-term Food Pantry
Make homemade emergency dog food from ingredients stored for your consumption—another tool in your pet survival arsenal. Using pantry staples like white rice and rolled oats bypasses the high expense of freeze-dried and canned foods and the short-shelf life of dry kibble.
Plan to feed your dog (s) long-term survival foods that you store for human consumption like staples with a 20 to 30-year shelf-life.
Human Survival Foods You Can Use to Make Dog Food
|White Rice||30 Years|
|Whole Wheat (ground to flour)||30 Years|
|Non-fat powdered Milk||20 Years|
|Dried Whole Eggs||10 Years|
|Rolled Oats||30 Years|
|Corn Meal30 YearsShelf Dates are based on foods packaged for long-term storage. Information is Compliments of Augason Farms
Dog Food Recipe From Long-Term Storage Ingredients
This dry dog food recipe doesn’t store long-term, but the ingredients do. If you have a long-term pantry, you are probably already storing most of these items for you and your family.
Mix The Dry Ingredients First
Add The Wet Ingredients
Note: If you change the ingredients, you will change the nutritional content of the recipe.
We know that surviving on our long-term stores is going to create vitamin and mineral deficiencies, that’s why we store multi-vitamins or garden for produce.
The same goes for your pup. This Dry Dog Food recipe is for “survival mode.” With a steady, long-term diet of this food, your dog will have vitamin and mineral deficiencies without supplements.
Tip: Consider storing store-bought dry, wet, or freeze-dried foods for short-term emergencies and beef up long-term food stores so you can feed your dog (s) during long-term catastrophes or hard times.
Homemade Dog Food Characteristics
Fact: All three of my dogs like this food. My wife’s Bichon tries to herd us to the counter with the homemade dog treats.
Warning: I am not a professional. Before feeding your dog food(s) that are not to AAFCO standards, consult with your veterinarian.
Homemade Dog Food: Olive Oil Substitute
Most oil(s) have a shelf-life of 1 to 2 years at best, and you may be looking for longer-term storage options.
Other Ingredients You Can Add To Homemade Dog Kibble:
16 Foods You Can Supplement In Your Pets Diet During a Catastrophe
Recipe & Information Compliments of PracticalPrepper.com
Ready Squirrel Video: Survival Dog Food From Long Term Storage
12 Foods Not to Feed Your Dog
Some of These are obvious, but in an SHTF situation, you may be tempted to use what you have. Plan, so you don’t have to use any of these foods.
Information compliments of ASPCA.org
Do Dogs Need Vitamin Supplements With a Homemade Survival Diet?
If you feed your dog homemade dog food in a survival situation, you will need to plan for vitamin supplements or additional ingredients at some point. Dog’s are omnivores, they eat plants and meat, but a diet of just staples will leave gaps in nutrition without some form of supplementation.
Dog Diet: Two Minerals Commonly Supplemented In A Vegetarian Diet
Fact: Commercial dog food labeled “complete and balanced” or marked as complying with AAFCO standards are formulated to provide all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your dog needs.
Vitamins Your Dog Needs In Homemade Dog Food
If you decide to make pet-food from your pantry, it’s going to be as tough to get well-rounded nutrition for your dog in a long-term SHTF situation as it is for you. A dog, just like a human could, probably survive quite a while on only white beans and rice, but it wouldn’t be healthy.
Table #14 Vitamins Your Dog Needs For Survival
Table #15 Minerals Your Dog Needs For Survival
Table #16 Nutrients Your Dog Needs For Survival
How Much Water Does a Dog Need Everyday?
A healthy dog will drink, on average, 1 ounce of water (1/8 of a cup) per pound of bodyweight every day. Dogs may drink less water if their food has high water content, but they may drink more if they are very active or in a hot environment.
Fact: A dog can survive if he loses all of his body fat and 50% of his protein but he can perish if he loses just 10% of his water weight. Petswebmd.com
Chart #17 Canine Emergency Water Requirements for SHTF: Chart
Bugging Out With A Dog: 3 Scenarios
72-Hour Emergency Kit: Bugging-in If you are staying put during an emergency, you probably already have the supplies you need for your dog. If not, it’s as simple as having gallon jugs of water and a large bag of dog food that you rotate. If your dog needs a special diet or meds, you can plan for that.
72-Hour Emergency Kit: Leaving in a vehicle: This is just one step beyond bugging in, a matter of having a dog-specific pack that is ready to grab if you are heading out.
72-Hour Emergency Kit: Bugging Out On Foot This is challenging, especially if you are trying to stay hidden.
4 Reasons Not to Bug out On Foot With a Dog: WROL
The U.S. will likely grow less stable as time passes. Start considering worst-case scenarios when you are planning your preps. You may have to make hard decisions and think about crazy scenarios.
13 Things To Consider: Prepping Your Dog For An Emergency
Thirteen things to consider as you prepare your dog for a survival situation.
Association of American Feed Control Officials: Establish nutrient standards (profiles) for dogs and cats and a section on livestock. Click here
VCA Nutrition-General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs; Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH Click here
How Much Should a Dog Drink? Jennifer Larsen, VM, Ph.D., DAVCN, PetMD Click here
Food Preservation – Long Term Food Storage For Your Pets: PackFreshUSA Click here