Sep 10

Canine Bug Out Bag

The Essentials For Fido

dog wearing back pack

Stock Your Canine Bug Out Bag

Photo Credit: Conny Liegl on Flickr

A recent episode of Revision 3’s DIY Tryin, Build an Emergency Kit with These Essentials, covered items for a disaster preparedness kit for humans. While watching, I began thinking about what essentials I would need for my two Miniature Pinschers. I came up with some obvious and, I think, not-so-obvious items that would be handy in an emergency.

The Obvious Emergency Essentials

1. Food

Obviously, your dog will need food if you are displaced for more than a few hours, and it is important that your dog have its regular food and not people food. Your dog will likely be nervous–probably terrified–if a tornado or earthquake strikes, and that can cause stomach upset. Add to that kibble that your dog isn’t used to, and it could come back to haunt you, literally. People food is richer in fat and not formulated for dogs. Thus, giving your dog people food under normal circumstances can be trouble. Giving your dog people food in an emergency is just asking for trouble. Besides the mess, which no one wants to deal with in any situation, vomiting could worsen any dehydration your dog is experiencing. In addition to the food, an antacid like Pepcid might be helpful. Ask your veterinarian what she recommends and what dose to give.

  • How Much Water?

    A healthy dog typically needs about one-half to a full ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

    –VCA Animal Hospitals

2. Water

Remember when you are calculating how much water to store that you will need to include water for your dog also. This could be important if you have a Great Dane. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “A healthy dog typically needs about one-half to a full ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.” Don’t forget to include a drinking dish. Collapsible dog dishes are available, but a clean, empty food carton will work just as well.

3. Collar and Tags

Make sure that you keep your dog’s collar in good condition. If it slips off, the information on the tags is gone forever. Check the clasp or buckle and any seams for signs of wear. If it is questionable, replace it. Check the collar and tags regularly. Does your dog have both a vaccination tag and one with your contact information? If not get them. Are they chewed beyond recognition? If so, replace them.

4. Leash and Harness

Many parks and shelters will allow dogs on a leash, but a dog without a leash may be denied entry. Plus, your dog will be scared and may be hard to control without one. You may want to attach the leash to a harness, especially if you have a little dog. Little dogs like Min Pins have small tracheas and when too much pressure is applied to the throat, like when a scared dog pulls at the leash, a condition called “collapsing trachea” can develop. Once damaged, the trachea can take a long time to heal. Pressure to the trachea can be prevented by using a harness.

5. Doggy Do Bags

After a disaster is not the time you want to start hunting for a doggy do bag. If you don’t have any of these bags already, you can get them at a pet supply or a few Ziplocs will do nicely. These are small, light, and require very little space in your kit. Be a responsible dog owner and throw a few bags in your preparedness kit.

Not-So-Obvious Essentials

6. Microchip

When animals are scared, they run, and that is why microchipping your dog before disaster strikes is crucial. As discussed previously, collars fall off and tags get chewed. Microchipping is an inexpensive, safe, and effective way to find your dog if you get separated during a disaster. A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted under the skin and can be read by scanners at most animal shelters. Most animal shelters check for a microchip immediately, and this is the fastest way to get your dog back if it runs away. My most recent dog’s microchip cost $35, installed.

7. Vaccination Records

Vaccination records may come in handy in or after a disaster. Many kennels require proof of vaccination before boarding a dog. If your house is demolished, you won’t be able to get to those records. In addition, you may need to stay at a hotel, or with friends or relatives. Bringing a dog along could be a burden. Many hotels don’t allow pets and allergies or small children at the house of a friend or relative may make accommodating a dog problematic. When your dog gets its vaccination, just put the paperwork with your emergency kit instead of throwing it away.

Another reason to keep vaccination records is because scared dogs sometimes bite. Even though your dog is typically friendly and gentle, any dog that feels threatened will defend itself. Vaccination records may prevent a quarantine or worse.

8. Dog Toys

You may be asking yourself why would anyone need dog toys in their disaster kit? There is a very good reason: to calm your dog. Having a toy may calm the dog, either because having its favorite possession is soothing or because playing with it is distracting. One of my Min Pins is named Nano, which is short for Nanosecond. By his name, you can imagine that sitting still in a cramped tornado shelter for hours is not an option. I think it is possible that he would burst with pent up energy. Also, playing with the dog would be distracting for the humans, too.

9. Travel Carrier or Crate

Need a place to store all the canine supplies? I highly recommend getting a travel carrier or crate. I know that this may not be possible for large dogs, but crates are invaluable in a disaster. Dogs are naturally den animals, and a small space can be comforting, and it can help protect people as well as dogs. Here is one example:I was driving down the highway a couple of years ago when I suddenly found myself in a rollover accident. My dog, Zeus, was in a travel carrier, and he was unharmed. Otherwise, there was a good chance that he might have been ejected from the car and crushed. When bystanders came to help, Zeus would not let them get near me to see if I was injured. He had been treated roughly, and it was obviously all their fault. Someone got the carrier from the car, and I was able to put the dog in it, which calmed him down. Thus, it kept the bystanders from getting bitten and was a place that the dog felt safe.

10. Muzzle

As discussed above, frightened animals will bite. A muzzle will protect people with whom you may come into contact as well as reduce your liability. In addition, a muzzle can prevent barking. I had to take cover once in a friend’s house and had my dog with me. He was frightened, and he barked the entire hour that we stayed there. I was embarrassed, but helpless because in his frightened state, he wouldn’t follow my command to “hush.”

11. Treats or Clicker

Whatever incentive you use to get your dog to obey your commands, you will need them in an emergency. Treats or a clicker don’t take much space, and they can mean the difference between a willful canine and a well behaved dog.

Dogs Are Just Like Humans

OK, so maybe dogs aren’t JUST like humans, but they have many of the same needs. Below are a couple of things that are just as important for dogs as they are for humans.

12. Medications

Does your dog take medicine? Many dogs have heart conditions, are diabetic, or have another disease for which a medication is essential. If your dog takes medicine, make sure that it is included in your kit. As discussed previously, keeping your dog calm is important. You may want to ask your veterinarian if a mild sedative like Benadryl would be appropriate to give your dog. Be sure to get dosing instructions. Many dog owners hesitate to give their dogs medicine for anxiety, but like with people, dogs suffer from upsetting circumstances. In a disaster, we can’t reassure them with words, and so they likely think that the world is going to crash down and are in fear for their lives. A mild sedative may help them through this difficult time.

13. Blankets and Ponchos

If you are cold, your dog probably is, too. If you have a small dog, like a Min Pin, blankets and ponchos may not be a problem. I can just tuck my dogs in my coat. However, this is more difficult to do with a big dog. A larger dog may need its own poncho and blanket. Tailor this to your dog. A dog with thick fur in southern California may not a blanket, whereas a short haired dog in a cold climate does. Any dog that can’t fit in yours needs its own poncho. Remember: wet fur is not warm fur.

Keep Disaster from Becoming Tragedy

The tornado that ripped through Moore, OK tore down houses, fences, street signs, and landmarks. In fact, the tornado did so much damage that rescue workers had difficulty telling where the houses had been. As you can imagine, many dogs were missing after the tornado, having run off in fright. For many months, dogs and owners were being reunited. During these happy reunions, many of the owners said something to the effect of, “I lost so much. I didn’t want to lose my dog, too.” Do the most you can now to help save your dog in the future.

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

1 comment

  1. Andrew Miller

    BOB for dogs? What’s next preppers?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>