Not only are disasters real, but they can also happen to you, regardless of where in the world you live. People all around the globe are living with the very real threats from:
- Flash flooding
- Electrical Blackouts
- Volcanic Eruptions
- Terrorist Attacks
But while the list may appear scary, your plan for action doesn’t need to. Think back to some of the disasters that have occurred just in the last few years.
Australian bushfires, Indonesian earthquakes, tsunami in 2018, volcanic eruptions affecting several countries, flooding in countless more.
If there is one lesson to learn from all of them it’s this. Accepting that they can happen to you is the first step in understanding how to protect yourself from them when they do.
Only when you accept them can you take the necessary steps to protect, not only yourself, but also those around you.
With the world sliding further and further into chaos, do what you can now, to avoid being caught out when the unthinkable happens.
Preparing yourself and your loved ones for a catastrophe must also include those members of your family that don’t have a voice.
The animals that consider you family will also need protection in times of disaster. Their survival depends on your preparation as much as you depend on your own.
While many animals depend on their owners for survival, this article is about preparing for the survival of your dog.
Are you talking about bug out bags?
In a nutshell, yes. For those needing a little refresher, bug out bags are bags designed to prepare for an emergency.
But not just any emergency. I’m not talking about where to hide a spare bag of crisps for that late-night football match.
The emergency I’m talking about is one that might require you to leave the safety of your home and seek more appropriate shelter elsewhere.
The kind of disasters that we mentioned above can leave entire populations in panicked limbo.
Preparing for such an event by creating a bug out bag can increase your chances for survival.
But what this article is about is the bug out bags for dogs. Those designed to hold everything your best friend will need when a cataclysm comes calling.
There are bug out bags for dogs?
Scrolling through the pages of Amazon certainly opens your eyes up to the incredible variety of gear available for today’s dog.
With so many items available for the good times, can you really afford not to also prepare for the bad times?
With the speed at which disasters can strike, how long would it take you to prepare yourself for evacuation?
Now consider needing to prepare your best friend at the same time.
A highly-stressful event can frazzle any one’s mind, many crucial actions never happening because the person didn’t think of them.
But how about preparing ahead of the event and being ready for it?
Whilst many people are great at prepping their own bug out gear, forgetting about our beloved pets is common.
We don’t always believe it will happen to us anyway. But the reality is, our dogs require just as much preparation as we do.
Many manufacturers have begun to understand the needs of our friendly pooches, designing and producing an array of available bug out bags for dogs to choose from.
How would I choose the right one for my best friend?
With so many bug out bags for dogs to choose from, the right research will prove to be your best friend’s friend.
Take some key factors into consideration before choosing one. This could mean the difference between scoring a win or increasing your workload. Take into account your dog’s-
- Medical Needs
Only once you really think about how well your dog will take to his bug out bag can you decide how much you need to pack for them.
While every dog is going to have different needs, only you can really understand what those needs will be.
Is my dog suitable for a bug out bag?
Let’s face it, dogs come in more shapes and sizes than people do. But while most people are adaptable to most situations, there are those that just aren’t.
While most people can run, jump, climb, swim and lift themselves, not everybody is capable of lifting the rear end of a Toyota Camry off the ground.
The same goes for your dog. While some breeds will be more suitable for bugging out than others, there are those that just won’t make the grade.
While you’re probably thinking of the tiny chihuahua nestled by your side as being one of the more unsuitable ones, the actual ones might surprise you.
A bug out bag for dogs may not look like it could fit his back, but options exist.
Consider the terrain of your planned bug out route if you have one. Is it a hill climb, rough terrain, long-distance, crossing rivers, mountains or lakes?
It may not be the tiny dogs that prove to be the unsuitable ones here. How long would a Great Dane last running through a forest and up long mountain tracks?
Their dietary requirements to maintain energy levels may prove too much to carry on such a trip.
If you live in the middle of a tropical jungle and keep snow dogs, as some people do, how would they fare running through the jungle with their thick coat? Would they require more water than normal to keep their temperature cool?
Whilst there might be many breeds of dogs, there are also many situations to consider when deciding if your dog is suitable for bugging out.
Only you are going to be able to work it out, based on your own unique situation.
What options of bug out bags for dogs are there?
But while many of these come down to the owner’s preference or owner’s taste, stop to consider the needs of your dog before choosing.
Just because you find a doggy backpack in the bug-out section of your retail outlet, doesn’t make it number one when it comes to your own animal.
Bug out bags for dogs are as unique to them as shoes are for you and I. The most suitable are chosen for strength, size, the equipment it can hold and whether it can double for other uses.
If you had to cross a deep ravine, would the backpack support the weight of your dog tied to a cable as it’s pulled across?
Does your dog require more than the usual supplies? Do they have any special medical needs or equipment which needs carrying?
Can they carry everything they need themselves? Your answers will determine which type of bug out bag your dog will need.
What if my dog hates anything on his back?
While some dogs take to having a bug out bag attached to them like fish take to water, others struggle with the most basic of restraints.
There are some that refuse to wear a standard collar, let alone something as intrusive as a complete bug out bag.
Only you will know your dog’s response to having a bug out bag attached to them.
If you know that they will struggle, it’s best to take precautions, just as you are preparing the bug out bag in the first place.
Dogs are amazing creatures because they are one of the few that listen, understand and obey certain commands given to them.
They are able to be trained from a very young age, some even specializing in certain tasks like guide dogs, sniffer dogs, and personal protection dogs.
Understand the challenges your dog will face if they have problems with foreign objects attached to them.
If you feel qualified enough to teach them, then take the time to introduce their new responsibility to them.
How can I train my dog to accept the bug out bag?
Teach your dog, just as you taught it to walk by your side. While toilet training may have taken longer than expected, the same might be said for them learning to walk with a bag tied onto their back.
Start slowly, conditioning them to the bag with short sessions. Simply fitting the bag to them might be enough for the first week or so.
The idea is to get them used to the sensation of wearing the bag. Once they seem comfortable with the idea, start adding some weight to it.
If they appear fixated with the bag, try and divert their attention with their favorite toy; whatever it takes to get their mind off it.
Eventually, start taking them for walks while wearing their bags. Begin with small quick trips around the block, increasing the distance over time.
While the walks will improve your dog’s acceptance of the bag, it will also increase their physical readiness as well. This is also a good side-effect for yourself.
Dogs are not the creatures they once were. Domestication has reduced their stamina and fitness levels and many aren’t suited for long cross-country treks.
Help them increase their fitness just as you would for yourself.
Once things start looking more positive, add an overnight trip for you and your dog. Get them accustomed to sleeping away from their normal surroundings, including a tarp or a tent.
Preparing for the open ground is as important as getting used to the bag itself. Heeling is also important. Train your dog not to wander too far and always return on your command.
How much can my dog carry in his bug out bag?
Just like there is a certain amount of weight perfect for you to carry over a long distance, the same can be said for your dog.
But before you pack them a bag weighted to the extreme limits of their capability; consider first how long they’ll be carrying the weight.
While some recommendations include a weight equivalent to 25% of a dog’s body weight, this only applies to short distances or times. For longer distances or lengths of time, 10 to 15% is recommended.
But as stated, these are only recommendations. All dogs have very different capabilities.
It’s worth researching your own dog’s recommendations and finding the perfect answer. Ask yourself some questions to make sure you are making the right decision. Is your dog:
- an average age based on the recommendations?
The answers may decrease the maximum weight recommendations so it’s worth knowing your dog’s requirements before choosing one of the many bug out bags for dogs.
Some bags weigh more than others and this can reduce the number of things you can store in them when filled.
Make an educated purchase instead of a decision based on appearance.
What will I have to put into my dog’s bug out bag?
There are several things that dogs will require when bugging out, each an important necessity when preparing their bags.
Weigh up the options for each, including weight, shelf life, and urgency and then pack them into their dog survival kit accordingly.
If you really can’t bring yourself to make the decisions needed for each section, pre-made bug out bags for dogs also exist.
But they won’t be as specifically tailored for your friend, prepared with the basics instead.
While some of the following items may seem less important than others, this can only be decided by those who know their dogs best: you.
Item #1: Water
The most important addition to any bug out bag. Everything else comes secondary to the element that will leave you dead within 72-hours without it.
Some dogs require more than others while some may need more after strenuous exercise.
Preparing for bugging out by training with your dog will educate you on their needs after intense work-outs.
While there are many options to filter water sources you may find along the way, emergency water rations are always recommended in case you don’t find any.
Carrying water rations together with a second option is the best bet.
Item #2: Food
Different dogs will have vastly different dietary requirements so research your options before making a decision. Always ensure emergency food is suitable for storage.
Make sure it’s properly sealed and undamaged and always check the shelf life. While some options only have a limited shelf life like a couple of years, others can last much longer.
If you purchase some long-shelf-life options, it might be a good idea to see if your dogs not only like them, but also eats them without nasty side-effects.
The last thing you want during a bug out, is to feed your dog some food, only to see it vomiting it back up moments later.
Test them with the food, a little at a time. If they swallow their bowl whole like my mate, Jack, give them a little to begin with, like a treat and wait to see if it holds.
Taking the time to experiment now will be better in the long run.
Item #3: Medications
This category covers more than just your own dog’s medicinal prescriptions or medications.
While they need their prescribed medication, there are several other additions you may want to include in your dog’s bug out bag.
Sulfodene– Great for any cuts, scratches or infections your dog picks up along the way. It’s a great first-aid treatment and easy to store.
Hydrogen peroxide– All dogs love to explore and sometimes eat things they shouldn’t. This is great for inducing vomiting if they eat poison.
Electrolytes– While these are great for people to replace valuable electrolytes after vomiting or diarrhea, they are also great for dogs who may need them after sickness or extreme exercise.
Tick Remover– Whilst bugging out cross-country, dogs are susceptible to ticks, capable of causing severe infections. A simple tool like this removes them efficiently.
Item #4: Clothing
The climate during any bug out can have a profound effect on both you and your dog. If things get freezing, consider warm clothing, possibly waterproof if practical.
Remember to include the weight of the clothing when adding it to your bug out bag.
Dogs’ paws can be susceptible to injury, just like a human’s bare feet, so consider purchasing some paw shoes for them.
Item #5: Leash and collar
While a leash and collar may seem like a given, there are certain things to think about.
Bugging out can be fraught with danger from many sources and keeping your dog as close to you as possible may be needed. Include a short leash that will keep your dog by your side, as opposed to an extendable one.
Make sure the collar is good quality with resistance to breaking, peeling and fraying. Those known to deteriorate in moisture should also be avoided.
If they already wear a collar, consider a spare for the bag, including their registration labels, ID tags, and vaccine identifiers.
It’s better to have them attached in case you are separated from them.
Item #6: Collapsible Bowls
Just like good hygiene and cleanliness is important to you, your dog should be no different. They will need decent quality bowls that store easily, are lightweight and not too bulky. Many options exist but the better ones are the collapsible variety, able to be stored in most bug out bags with little waste of space.
If limited for space, these are fantastic and lightweight, folding down into a very tiny package that’s virtually non-existent.
If you prefer something a little sturdier, then the standard silicone ones are also worthwhile. While the first style may be a little flimsy instability, their strength more than makes up for it.
The silicone ones are great and versatile but can be easily damaged if your dog is a chewer. Choose yours based on the dog you know.
Item #7: Comfort Items
Your dog will more than likely feel the stress of bugging out with you. They are incredibly aware of their owners and may need calming once the circumstances allow for it.
Have something the dog is used to, such as a favorite toy, blanket or similar. This will help them settle enough so you can focus on more important tasks at hand.
A small pack of treats is also worthwhile. Giving them a few along the way will save stopping for specific meals.
It’ll save you a few minutes and maybe give you the extra time needed to distance yourself from whatever it is you’re running from.
One item which may not fit into this category specifically is photos of your dogs. I’m not talking about that amazing 10 x 12 you have hanging above your fireplace.
What I suggest is storing maybe half a dozen or a dozen small passport-sized photos that you can show or hand out to people in case your dog goes missing.
They will make a great tool if your cell no longer functions and you need to properly identify your animal to people.
Final thoughts on bug out bags for dogs
As much as we love them, many dogs are sometimes forgotten about in times of crisis.
Panic can be a powerful force when life-threatening events occur and it’s far better to prepare for them well ahead of time instead of denying the possibility.
Living in denial is why so many people end up relying solely on emergency departments for help during a crisis.
Expect the events to happen and you’ll be in a far better position to deal with them. Work out the needs of every single member of your family, including the pets you adore.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 5-year old Border Collie or a 6-month old Hamster. Each will still have certain needs when it comes to bugging out and they deserve to have them met.
It’s a small price to pay for the unconditional love our dogs give us on a daily basis. Repay their love by preparing bug out bags for dogs. I guarantee they’ll thank you for it.
Do you have your own bug-out bag ready to go? Here is what you should include in it: 17 Items You Need in Your Preppers Bug Out Bag List