So, you’ve planned what you’ll do in the event of a natural or nuclear disaster that may disrupt the country’s infrastructures for days or weeks. You have the perfect bug out bag, but now you have to figure out what to do with your favorite pet.
Of course, you don’t want to leave them behind, but don’t worry. You can pack a survival bag for them too. They make several options just for pets that certain animals can carry themselves so that you don’t have to pack an extra duffle bag to bring with you.
Planning to Leave Quickly with a Pet
First, you must decide if it’s logical to bring your pet with you. If you’re on foot, it’s impractical to take most pets with you. Sorry to the cat, hamster, bird, reptile, and other pets who don’t listen to your commands and obey well. For this article, we’ll be discussing bugging out on foot more than a car. You can make alternative plans for leaving in a vehicle and then pack the essentials we discuss in this article.
There’s a reason why people use the term “herding cats” to describe something impossible to do. If you’re on foot, it’s not likely that you’ll get your hamster, cat, snake, or rabbit to listen well enough that they won’t run off. A bug out bag would work best for a dog.
There are many pros and cons to taking a pet with you, and there are certain breeds that bug out better than others, such as a Labrador retriever versus a poodle. There are other factors to consider as well, such as the age of your pet, their training, and the climate or terrain they’re used to walking in.
You’ll want to start conditioning your dog to prepare them for survival if you need to leave your home. Physical conditioning should be part of your disaster preparedness plan for you as well. We’ll talk about bug out bags next but take your pet on walks with the bag you pick so they get used to carrying it. When hiking or walking for practice, gradually increase how far you go. Train with them off a leash and go on camping trips with your dog to get them used to the lifestyle.
Bug Out Bag Options for Pets
Medium- or large-sized dogs can carry most of their equipment in special bags made just for dogs. Bags most used for dogs to bug out are essentially saddlebags that distribute the weight on either side of their body.
Look for packs that are rugged and durable. They must be well-made to carry supplies without falling apart. Bug out bags for pets are made from a variety of materials just like those for humans. Manufacturers craft some from lightweight material and others from heavy-duty durable fabric. Take your time deciding and try them out on your dog to make sure they’re comfortable. Then, once you find one you like, have your pet wear it to get used to carrying a pack.
Bug Out Bag Necessities for Pets
Packing a survival bag for an animal is similar to packing one for people; they just need fewer tools. At the very least, plan for three days of supplies and have a plan if things go south and you’re away from home longer. The bare essentials to pack include:
If you’re on foot, your dog will need more water than they typically drink in a day. Survivalists suggest 9 to 17 ounces of water for every 10 pounds that your dog weighs. When gathering water for your family, just include the necessary amount for your dog. You should put some in your dog’s pack to distribute the resources just in case one of your water supplies is destroyed or lost. You may not be able to carry all of the water you need, so plan to purify or filter water.
Three days-worth of wet food might be too heavy for your pet to carry. Dry food is lighter, and you don’t need extra supplies such as a can opener. However, you may have a can opener for your own food supply, so this may not be a massive problem. Freeze-dried pet food is available at many major retailers and is even more lightweight than dry food.
Portion the food out so you can feed your dog a couple of times a day. You may also want to bring treats for feeding your dog on the go instead of stopping to unpack a larger portion.
If you’re truly dedicated to bringing your pet with you in a survival situation, you may want to take a first aid course for dogs. You can use it in everyday life, so it’s worth the investment. A lot of the items in your first aid kit can work for animals as well. Here are some additional supplies that you may want to bring:
- Sulfadene – This product is a skin ointment for canines that treats common infections, skin abrasions, and chaffing.
- Flea and Tick Treatment – Ticks and fleas can become a major issue for pets during emergency incidents. The first thing you should do before you bug out is apply a monthly tick and flea treatment. It may not completely prevent your animal from getting fleas, but it will reduce the number of ticks and fleas that they get.
- Flagyl or Metronidazole – This medicine is an antibiotic for dogs and can be used to treat waterborne diseases such as g
- Benadryl or Diphenhydramine – Benadryl treats allergic reactions to things such as spider or insect bites.
Here are a few other supplies that you may want to bring to make traveling easier:
- Poop Bags – Poor hygiene often causes diseases, so pack some of these bags to keep your areas as clean as possible.
- Paperwork – Keep a copy of your dog’s registration, immunizations, and health records in case something happens or you become separated. People don’t like to deal with unvaccinated and unaccompanied animals, and it may save your pet’s life. It also helps if your dog needs emergency medical intervention (if it’s available).
- Leash and Collar
- Collapsible Water Bowl
Packing a bug out bag for your pet isn’t complicated. The most important part is finding a bag that your dog can carry. Then pack it with the same essentials that people need to survive for at least 72 hours, just in doggy form. If you’re leaving in a vehicle, pack a bug out bag and leave it in the car. You can include your pet’s supplies with your gear essentials and security accessories.