In preparing our families for an emergency, we can’t forget the four legged family members. Pets need to be included in your emergency plans. Having their own emergency kit of essential items ready to go is an easy way to have your pets ready to evacuate if you ever need to. Today we’re going to get your dog ready to evacuate in an emergency. You can buy a pre-made dog survival kit, but it’s pretty easy (and less expensive) to put together your own. That way you know you have your dog’s favorite products and you’re not paying for things they won’t use or don’t need.
So what does a dog need in his emergency kit?
1. Water. You can include bottled water, emergency water pouches, or water purification tablets. Remember with the purification tablets that dogs regularly drink from streams and other “unclean” water sources and don’t get sick, so unless you’re experiencing some unusual level of contamination during your evacuation, you won’t need to purify water for your pets. Water bottles would work well so you could use just the amount you need and if a bottle is emptied it could be refilled with lake or stream water for your dog to drink.
2. Food. Just like people, dogs can go quite a long time without eating and still live. They just wouldn’t be happy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my dog staring at me with those eyes (you dog owners know what I’m talking about) while I’m trying to deal with everybody else’s needs.
If you want to get fancy, you can purchase packs of emergency dog food or freeze dried dog food. For a less expensive option, you can pack up some of the dog food you already have at the house in a baggie or plastic leftovers type food dish. Rotate this supply out with each new bag of dog food you buy to keep it fresh. You can also prolong the shelf life by vacuum sealing the food portions. Pack enough food for 2-3 days or enough to get you to your bug out location.
3. Bowls. In a pinch, the food can go on the ground, but the dog’s water will need some type of container. They aren’t very good at using a straw or even sipping from a bottle! You can use a couple of leftover containers for this. Stack them together and use the food dish container to hold some of the dog food to save some space. You can also purchase collapsible dog bowls. These are super handy because they pack down small and don’t weigh much, yet you have food and water dishes when you need them.
4. Restraint. You’ll want a leash, some way to tie your dog off (rope, cord, or cable tie out), and possibly a crate or kennel. This depends on your dog’s behavior and where you will be traveling to and through.
5. Medical needs. Most dog first aid can be treated with your human first aid kit. However, if your dog is on some type of prescription meds you’ll want to include those in his kit. You may also want to add in some extra wide gauze rolls and vet wrap so you’re not using all your bandages on your dog’s injury. Vet wrap comes in different widths and can be picked up at your local farm/ranch store.
6. Doggie doo bags. These are optional, depending on where you’re going. If you’re bugging out to the woods, just let your dog use the good old fashioned nature for doing his duty. If you’re going to a civilized area, you’ll want to clean up after him. You can get a lot of mileage from a roll of poop pick-up bags. Plus they’re not too expensive and won’t take up much room in the kit.
7. Entertainment. Pack a couple of your dog’s favorite type of toys. Tennis balls, squeaky toys, plush animals, etc. Whatever it is your dog loves, put one in his kit. Again, this is optional, but it will sure help him expend some energy and create a bit of normalcy for him with all the strange new places and people he’ll be encountering.
8. Vet records. Have your pet’s vaccination records and any other vet information handy. If you end up at a shelter, many won’t take pets without a vaccination record.
9. Container for it all. The purpose of gathering all this together is to make it easy to grab and go, so you’ll want it all in one container. Ideally you can have the dog carry his own gear in a pack like this one. You could also just put all the stuff in a duffel bag, backpack, or bucket.
Keep your dog emergency kit near your family kits and your furry family members will be ready to head out whenever you are.