Organizing an Emergency Preparedness Bag for your Dog

By Langley Cornwell

An Emergency Preparedness Bag, also known as a Bug-Out Bag, is a type of designated container that you have filled with whatever you’ll need to be able to survive for a 48 to72 hour period; what you’ll need if you have to “bug out” in a moment’s notice. It’s important to have a kit ready for each human member of your household, but if you find yourself facing a disaster like a flood, fire or tornado and you need to make a run for it, you’ll want to have a bag ready so your dog can escape with you as well.

Even if you don’t live an area that’s known for hurricanes or earthquakes, having an Emergency Preparedness Bag is a sensible idea in case evacuation becomes necessary for any reason. Here is a list of the most critical items to include in your dog’s Bug-Out Bag.

Water: In all cases, it’s a good idea to be well stocked with water. The amount of necessary water to carry for your dog varies according to his age, size, weight, breed and health. You also have to take the weather and terrain into consideration when calculating how much water to bring. To complicate things further, you have to figure how you’re going to tote your water. If you and your dog are evacuating on foot, consider the fact that water is heavy and takes up a lot of space. On average, you should have a half gallon of water per dog, per day. Include a collapsible bowl for your dog to eat and drink from.

Pet Food: Of course you’ll need food. Dry dog food is lighter and easier to carry than wet food. A nutritious food like CANIDAE Life Stages is a good choice because it contains antioxidants to help maintain your dog’s healthy immune system. If your dog must have canned food, don’t forget a pocket can opener.

Clothing: Yes, clothing, but I’m not talking about a wardrobe, just a jacket of some sort. You cannot be certain what kind of weather you’ll run into, and your dog’s jacket may be the only thing between him and the harsh elements. Along these lines, include an extra leash, collar and dog tags in the bag.

Shelter: Whatever shelter arrangements you’ve made for yourself, make sure there is room for your pet inside. Have an old blanket stashed for your dog to use as bedding. Also, consider whether your dog would be more comfortable sleeping in a carrier. If so, add a soft, collapsible carrier to your dog’s bag.

Pet First Aid Kit: To avoid confusion, it’s a good idea to have two separate first aid kits – one human and one canine. If you want to create your own canine kit, you can check out Linda Cole’s article on Basic First Aid Supplies for Dogs. You might also want to speak with your veterinarian about what to include. Have plenty of your pet’s medications and supplements on hand, as well as a list of everything he takes. Also, have an updated copy of your dog’s health records, including shot records, in your emergency get-away bag.

General Supplies: Cleaning up after your dog will still be important, especially if you end up in an emergency shelter for a period of time. Include paper supplies, plastic trash bags and sandwich bags, a bottle of spray cleaner/disinfectant and an old towel.

Tuck all of your contact information, next of kin and emergency contact information into your dog’s Bug-Out Bag along with a current color photograph of you and your dog together (in case you are separated).

You know your dog best, so take the time to personalize the emergency supplies you assemble for him, keeping his comfort and security in mind.

Do you have an emergency get-away kit for yourself? Have you prepared one for your dog? If so, please share your ideas and suggestions below.

Top photo by Geoff Stearns
Middle photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA photo
Bottom photo by Marvin Nauman/FEMA photo

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