Dogs make great companions and can add a lot of joy and happiness to our lives. They’re also a serious commitment, filled with many responsibilities that comes with being a responsible dog owner.
One of the best things about dogs is their willingness to train and work. Even though each breed has different skill sets, the majority can be taught to wear and carry items. If a major disaster occurs, this type of training can definitely come in handy.
To prepare your dog to help out during emergency situations, there are a few things to consider in regard to training and the kind of survival gear your dog will need. It’s very important to consider the size of the dog to determine how big the carrying bag will be. This will also help determine the amount of weight a dog can carry.
Choosing a dog out bag
Once the size of the dog and the carrying limits are determined, it’s time to choose a carrying bag. Make sure the bag is made of sturdy, waterproof, and durable material with multiple pockets.
The most important factor in getting the bag is having the right fit for your dog. Remember, they’ll be carrying more weight than they’re used to so it’s important to make it as comfortable as possible.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Choosing the right food
Dry kibble is the best choice to have in a dog out bag. It’s lightweight, simple to pack and doesn’t require much space. Be sure to pack, ½ cup for small dogs, 3 cups for medium-sized dogs, and 6 cups of kibble for each meal and enough to last at least 72 hours.
If dry kibble is not a healthy or suitable choice, perhaps dehydrated foods would be better to pack. Keep in mind it will require water to eat. While canned foods may be an option, they are heavy, bulky and not easy to pack.
While having a collapsible food bowl helps, it’s not necessary, especially if it takes up needed space for more important survival gear.
Choosing the right amount of water
There are emergency water pouches that are easy to store and carry. Pack enough for each meal and make sure you have enough to last at least 72 hours. The only drawback is that the water supply will be limited, so be sure to find a water source as soon as possible and stick to a feeding schedule.
If your dog is eating dehydrated foods, extra water may be required to make it easier for your dog to eat. Pack 8-10 ounces of water per pound, per meal.
More water may be required in high heat temperatures and high levels of activity. While having a collapsible water bowl helps, it’s not necessary, especially if it takes up needed space for more important survival gear.
Choosing the right shelter
A foldable emergency blanket will provide a warm shelter if none can be found. It can help keep your dog protected from the elements and can easily be carried in a dog out bag.
Thick blankets may be a better solution but they are bulky and not easy to store. Keep in mind that emergency blankets work well with humans, so it should enough for a dog.
Choosing the right first aid kit
Whether the first aid kit is purchased pre-assembled or you’re creating your own, it’s important to pack the most basic first aid items for your dog.
Examples of items to have in your dog out bag are: pet first aid book, gauze pads, bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic creams, hydrogen peroxide, milk of magnesia or charcoal (for poison control), saline solution or saline wipes (for eyes), scissors, and anything else you feel you may need your dog to carry.
Medications – This is different than the items needed to administer first aid. These items are medicines your dog may need that are prescribed to them by a veterinarian. Be sure to label them and keep track of when your dog needs to take them.
Having a leash and collar is helpful, especially if you find yourself in urban areas or surrounded by people and you need to restrain your dog. This may also include any clothing that can help the dog stay calm or provide warmth — or even their favorite toy.
Having your pet’s medical information is crucial, especially if you end up in a designated shelter. This will provide proof of vaccination and medical history so people know your dog is not contagious. Other items to consider are a photo (for yourself) and dog tags. If your pet gets lost, this will help you identify them.
There are many more items you can add to your dog’s bag to help in an emergency situation, but the most important thing is to include your dog in your family preparedness planning. If anything, you’re dog will keep spirits alive and be a companion for the whole family.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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