Most people are prepared for an emergency evacuation, but when it comes to our pets there are some needs that they have as well. This is why if you have a family pet, you should be setting up a dog survival kit with the essentials that will help them, as well as help you when you need to bug out in a crisis.
Make your own bug out plan first
Make sure your own emergency evacuation plan is set in stone before you start incorporating your dog into it. I know it sounds cruel, but things happen, and you might have to abandon your dog (or your dog might leave you!).
- Companionship – which is particularly important if you are bugging out alone. The family pet can also be great at reducing stress when bugging out with small children.
- Warmth – you can cuddle with your dog to sleep warmer.
- Security – trained dogs can protect you from threats like wild animals or attackers.
- Extra supplies – it is most likely that you will be carrying some of your dog’s supplies, which means extra weight.
- Security – while a dog can provide some protection, a barking dog can also give away your location.
- Additional mouth to feed – when planning for long-term bugging out, this can mean a lot more weight or training about what wild edibles are safe for dogs.
- Responsibility – dogs have been domesticated. A long trip through hazardous terrain is going to be hard on your dog, and you will be responsible for your dog’s wellbeing through it all.
- Pace – most dogs are content to sleep all day. It can be challenging to get your dog to keep up an intense pace while bugging out to safety.
Conditioning your dog for bugging out
Your dog might seem like it has tons of energy. However, dogs are domesticated and are not generally suited to trekking long distances or rugged terrains. Just like us, their strength and endurance will need to be built up over time.
- Start conditioning now: Making this part of your disaster preparedness plan.
- Gradually increase the lengths of your walks: This is good physical preparedness for you too.
- Put an empty saddlebag on your dog: Get your dog used to wearing a pack. Over time, gradually add some weight to the pack until you reach the max weight.
- Go on overnight camping trips with your dog: This will get your dog used to sleeping away from home and under a tent or tarp.
- Improve off-leash training: You need to make sure your dog will heel and come when called.
Dog bug out bag
The ‘dog bug out bag’ is a simple kit built for your canine so that when you are in a bug out, survival situation, or you are just going outdoors for a hike, your loyal friend can help you and have the capability to carry their own kit.
There are a number of reasons why having your dog with you is a great addition to your survival in the wild and at the top of that list of reasons is that an average dog with just a little bit of training would increase your survival exponentially. Dogs are also a paramount mode of security. Their presence alone is enough to deter potential intruders, attackers, and wild animals and they are the best early warning device systems you could ever have. Their sense of sound, smell and sight would set off an alarm a lot earlier than any human would do.
The best bag to use for your dog survival kit
When you are first looking at the how and what of the dog out bag, your first thought should be about the size of your dog and what sort of size it can carry. Ideally, you don’t want to be weighing your dog down or giving it a bag that is uncomfortable. A great way to get your dog comfortable with using a doggy pack is to start off with it empty, and then slowly add weight as they get used to it.
For the pack itself, the one that I use, and quite a few other owners, is a Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack. It gives a great fit and is adjustable to the dog so that when they are running around, jumping or laying, it is not going to be lopsided or falling off.
Because of the range of colors, some owners want to use a more camouflage type of pack which isn’t available for the Mountainsmith brands. If you are after something like that, look at a OneTigris Dog Pack which has a range of alternative colors.
What your dog should carry in the pack
So what would you keep in your dog survival kit? When you are packing a dog bug out bag there’s more to it than just doggy biscuits.
Doggy survival food
The first thing to think about when it comes to food is whether your dog is treats or prey based. If it is prey-based, it is likely to be able to hunt for its own food. This depends largely upon the area that you live in of course, as some areas might have a little hunt for dogs than others. Whatever that case may be, you might want to look at having some spare food for your dog. If it is treats-based, there’s a good chance it is not going to hunt at all. For safekeeping, it’s best to take as much food as you can as it is pretty light.
For the food itself, you can use a dry dog food that is able to be mixed with water. You can find this in a number of pet food stores or online.
You can also choose to use their normal dry food as it is still very light.
Collapsible dog bowl
You obviously don’t want to overpack your dog survival kit so you’re going to need to use compact items that they can carry. During hiking or camping, take two collapsible dog bowls, one for the water, and one for your pet’s food.
These are a big space saver for the dog bag as your primary focus is on space management so as not to give your dog an over bulky bag.
Medical gear for your dog survival kit
First, if your dog is on any treatments or regular pills, you are going to want to include that in their little medical kit. For the regular additions, I added an Israeli bandage as dogs are generally pretty good at getting loose of anything you wrap them in. If there’s a wound, their reaction is to try and lick it, so something like this will keep it in place. You can also use things such as tight-wrap ACE bandages that work to a similar effect.
There are other things that might be a good idea to keep, such as:
- Betadine/antiseptic wipes
- Suflodene ointment
- Tick/flea treatment
Extras for your dog out bag
Some other things you might want to consider keeping in one of the parts of your bag is:
- Copies of records and documents such as registration and vaccination records
- A card with your name, number and the dog’s name on it (this should also be on the collar)
- A leash (if you are not already using it)
- A toy that the dog might be familiar with
- K9 Mask® by Good Air Team: Air filter mask designed for dogs
Your dog survival kit is not just an end-of-the-world bag, it’s a simple solution to use for your best friend to carry what they need when you go outdoors, hiking, or camping.