(ModernSurvival.org) – Dogs make excellent companions and can bring a great deal of joy to their humans’ lives. They can also be staunch protectors when it comes to defending their families. So it makes sense that they should be brought along with the family in the aftermath of a disaster. But how can a person prepare to bring their dog(s) with them in an evacuation?
Just as many people have opted to build bug out bags in case of an emergency, so too can survival packs be readied for the pooch. The basic components of a dog out bag are quite similar to what thru-hikers use when they bring dogs on their excursions: a pack that the dog can carry based on their size and weight, filled with the essentials it will need on the go.
Obviously, what any dog can carry will vary widely between breeds, but there are some items that even smaller dogs should be able to pack for themselves, such as food and basic medications.
Under optimal conditions, a dog out bag should include:
- Food. Not canned food, though. Canned dog food weighs a lot and can quickly overburden the animal.
- Water. The easiest way to determine how much water the dog will need is to divide its weight by 8. This is how many cups of water they will need per day. Granted, dogs will be able to drink directly from rivers, lakes, and streams if such resources are available.
- Medication. This includes any prescribed medicine, as well as flea and tick treatments.
- Gear. A leash, collar, and even doggy toys can make bugging out easier on everyone.
- Important Documents. Medical information, such as vaccination records, is a must-have when bugging out with a dog. Keeping a photo of the owners in the dog out bag can also help if the pooch becomes separated from the family.
When deciding if a dog can carry a bag or if it is even fit to evacuate with the family, there are some factors that one must consider beyond the size and breed of the animal:
- Age. An older dog isn’t going to be able to hike long distances, with or without a pack.
- Terrain/Climate. If the dog isn’t used to hiking in the types of terrain that will be crossed while bugging out, extra supplies may be required, such as booties. This is especially important in urban areas where hot concrete can blister their paws.
- Behavior/Training. Is the dog well-behaved? Is it going to bolt at the first loud noise or give away its position by barking constantly?
Unfortunately, not every animal is going to be fit to travel long distances when an emergency strikes. At best, it may fall on the owner’s shoulders (literally) to carry their furry companion’s supplies. At worst, the dog may become a detriment to the family, in which case it may be best to leave it to fend for itself. As harsh as this may sound, the family’s survival is more important than bringing Fido along.
That said, a family dog is part of the family, and therefore it’s important to include them in preparedness training. For those who want to make sure their canine is ready to face a disaster, practice makes perfect. Load the pup up with their bug out gear and go for a hike. This will get them used to carrying the extra weight and being on the move in unusual terrain.
For more information on how to prepare your pet for disaster, check out our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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