There is a lot of talk out there about bug out bags for people and preparing your family. Dogs and other pets get left out of the equation. Just look at the recent pictures from Hurricane Irma and you see a lot of people struggling to get their dogs and some cats out of harm’s way.
This article is mostly dog and cat based because that covers the majority of pets out there. That doesn’t mean that a lot of the items on this list cannot be used for other pets and livestock. It is just impossible to include every specialty item for some of the more exotic pets out there.
I hate to say it but those that have pets that have very special needs may find themselves not able to care for them in a real disaster. Pets that require heat may not be realistic to save in some cases nor will you be able to save that salt water fish tank exhibit you have worked hard on.
That being said, let’s talk about essential dog gear and planning for an emergency in your area. You might find that some of these items you already have and some you might want some extra of.
Medical Kit Supplies
The animal type blood stop powder comes in a lot larger size and costs less. Cuts and gashes are a major concern for pets during and emergency.
Working and guard dogs may find themselves taking on something that otherwise wouldn’t be a threat or it may just be that there is no vet around and they cut themselves doing what they do on a daily basis anyway.
The Durvet brand comes in a large 16 oz container at a much better price than smaller packaged designer dog and cat brands that cost the same for just a few ounces.
The same fish antibiotics that you can put back for your own needs can be used for your dog. Amoxicillin and Tetracycline are the two major ones you should have on hand for your pet.
Make sure to have a few 10 day courses put back at least. Infection is a leading cause of major issues in pets. You can also use these antibiotics for other pets and livestock as they are two of the most commonly prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics out there.
Camping Survival has the best prices and selection on fish antibiotics that I have been able to find and they ship for free within the USA. Some online retailers like Amazon seem to be rather limited in what they offer.
Allergic reactions to stings or allergens can be painful or even fatal to a do if their breathing becomes restricted. Benedryl is safe to give to dogs. I have definitely used this on my Great Pyrenees dogs when they experienced major swelling when stung on the nose when they were just puppies.
If swelling is major it is better to be safe than sorry. It does make them lethargic so don’t worry too much if they seem a little sleepy an hour or so after you give them Benedryl.
For an emergency, the liquid gels are better than caplets because they work faster. The extra 20 minutes or more that it takes for a caplet to work can make all the difference in the case of a severe allergic reaction.
While dogs cannot take Ibuprofen and Tyenol, they can safely tolerate aspirin. Of course you should never give aspirin to a dog that is bleeding a lot because it has blood thinning properties to it. Human aspirin comes in different strengths so keep that in mind when administering to your dog.
The aspirin in the link above is designed for dogs and easy to administer. It is not very expensive and if you have a small dog you may be best off just getting the stuff that is portioned out in small doses. Plus the dog version is flavored so it can be easier to give than the bitter tasting regular version.
Hot Spot Remedies
There are a lot of these products out there. An anti fungal is essential for any dog medical kit. A hot spot is easy to treat in the beginning. They can flare up very fast and are much more common in long haired breeds and those that are living in hot and humid climates.
The classic blue Sentry you can get at the grocery store will work but for major issues I really like to use Gentian Violet. It will turn everything purple it touches and will definitely turn your dog’s skin and hair purple temporarily but it works very well and it can take care of minor infection and weeping that can occur.
It is not a substitute for antibiotic therapy so if an infection is severe you may still need to use antibiotics. There is also some evidence that Gentian Violet can eliminate some antibiotic resistant bacteria.
These kits contain tweezers, scissors, hemostats, and scapels and blades for lancing. We keep a kit for ourselves but also have one that is in the dog and cat medical kit. Last time I checked this kit was under $23.
You don’t have to use the best razors but you need to have some disposables on hand to shave around wounds or hot spots. Long haired dogs require scissors first which are included in the surgery kit listed above. Shaving as close as possible can make it a lot easier to treat some maladies.
If you can use blood stop powder and other closures you are better off than using stitches, especially if you are not familiar with the process of sewing up a wound. There are plenty of tutorials out there if you want to learn. It is not a bad skill to have.
I dread the idea of having to sew up a dog. You can use topical to dull the pain but it still would be terrible. At the same time I would rather try it than lose my dog.
Sutures are something we keep around for people and animals. They come with a sterile needle and dissolve over time. We have never had to use them thankfully but it is nice to know we have them just in case.
Gear & Transport
Leash and Extra Collar w/name tags
You need to be able to keep your dog close to you and be in control of them for their safety. Dogs can get really stressed in some situations and not necessarily act as rationally as you might want them too. You may also have to traverse terrain that is not ideal and that means keeping your dog close to avoid injuries.
No dog collar lasts forever and dogs can sometimes lose them. Having an extra collar with ID on it is a good idea regardless if it is an emergency or not.
Unless your have a very tiny dog there is good chance they can carry some of their own things during an emergency. Outward Hound makes a variety of affordable packs for all sizes of dogs. Your pooch can have their very own Bugout bag complete with a few days of food or other items.
Just make sure to not overload your dog. A young adult dog is going to be able to do better with weight than a senior dog. Overloading a pooch can cause back trouble later on down the road.
Even if you are the one carrying most of the food, your dog can carry a few things to help lighten your load.
Dog Coat For Smooth Coated Breeds
While some might think it is downright silly to put clothes on a dog, there are some situations where it can make a world of difference during a survival situation. The level of clothing your dog needs to be comfortable during the colder and/or wetter times of year is dependent on your region and the size of your dog.
A smaller dog gets cold easier because they just don’t have the mass. The exception might be if a larger dog is smooth and a smaller breed is very long haired. There are options out there for everyone. Insulated dog vests might be all you need for one dog while others might choose a full parka or insulated suit.
Again, this is dependent on where you live and the type of dog you have. Dogs can get frostbite and have aching paws from the cold just like what can happen to your hands.
Footwear is probably not a major concern unless you live somewhere that regularly has winter temperatures in the single digits or below or walk a lot on hot pavement. If you have to walk far with your dog in a cold situation then a pair of winter boots can help.
Urban dwellers need to remember that during the summer time concrete and pavement can get very hot on a dog’s feet so if you had to go somewhere with them on foot in an emergency, it would be tough going.
For survival food for a pet, there are two ways to think about it.
- First off better quality food without fillers is going to provide the most benefit for the amount of space it takes up.
- On the other hand some higher quality foods do not keep as well because they lack preservatives.
There are things you can do to help food keep better.
Vacuum Sealing Pet Food
You can definitely repackage and seal up dog food for a longer shelf life. Adding a moisture and oxygen absorber is beneficial and inexpensive to add in.
You can seal up a weeks worth or just a few days in each bag. I definitely advise vacuum sealing if you are using dog food that is low on preservatives.
The Case For A Barrel Of Dog Food
Where I live you can get 35 gallon plastic food grade drums that have a locking lid. These are good for storing about 130-150 lbs of dog food. To do this, we also add in a handful of diatomaceous earth to keep out bugs just in case.
What You Should Know About Diatomaceous Earth
First off all, preppers would do well to keep a small bag of diatomaceous earth on hand. Always buy food grade and if you need to break it up into smaller containers if you have bought a big bag ( buying a large bag is a better value for sure!
When it comes to your pets, diatomaceous earth can be used for ridding your pets of parasites. You can safely feed a small amount of it to your dog each day. It doesn’t tear up their stomach but it does kill tapeworms, hookworms, and round worms.
It can also be used to dust down areas your pet frequents and beds to kill fleas and keep ticks away. It can be a bit annoying to use because it is a dust but you can put it on your animals to prevent fleas and ticks on them. I am not going to claim that it works as fast as fancy pills and topicals from the vet but it is less toxic and you can buy a lot of it for $12-$25 dollars.
Check out your local feed store or if you cannot seem to find it with ease you can order it. If you cannot find it locally Amazon has it but it is a lot more expensive than a local store will charge.
It is safe to use on any pet but try to avoid the eyes as much as you can. If you need to you can use a cone style collar to protect their head or put goggles on them. I would just advise being careful but if you got a real wiggle puppy on your hands that can be hard.
Nail Trimmers Made For Dogs
This is often overlooked. Some dogs wear down their nails pretty easily but others don’t get enough activity on hard surfaces to do this. Dog nail clippers are designed to make a smooth cut and not split the nail.
We have Great Pyrenees and while they run outside a lot, they have the unique characteristic of having double dew claws that have to be trimmed periodically or they start to crack or get hung on things. Nail issues can cause a lot of pain and infection but they are easy to prevent with a little care.
I was glad to see how far these collars have come. The uncomfortable plastic ones that are the most common are no longer the only readily available option out there. If you have multiple pets you may need to get several sizes.
I recommend the soft and padded ones because they act as a pillow so pets can sleep more comfortably if they have to wear it for very long. These collars keep your dog from gnawing and licking areas that are being treated and can also be helpful for keeping them from being able to interfere as much if you are trying to administer care.
If you have to get out of a disaster with your dog there may be some cases where a pet carrier makes things easier. This is probably something you should have anyway for transporting your pet or if you need to keep them contained briefly due to injury or other circumstances.
If you have to evacuate you don’t want to be like the unfortunate loyal dog parent that got stranded during Irma at the Houston airport with his dog because he didn’t have a carrier and they wouldn’t let him on the flight.
Special Needs Items
If you have a dog that requires some level of specialty care then you should try to have an extra supply of what they need on hand. Just like people, dogs that rely on medications should have 30-90 days of medication on hand.
Most pet prescriptions are good for a years worth of medication and you can get all of it at once if you want. In fact you can often save some money by getting 6 months or a year’s supply of medication in a single order.
Putting Your Kit Together
You may have read this article and realized that you have quite a few of these items already or you may be aghast at how few of them you have.
The good news is that a lot of the items are not super expensive so you can just pick up something on this list here and there.
An extra $10-$15 on your Amazon order for the month and before you know it you will have a much better survival kit for your pet than you can get spending a lot for kits already put together for you. The kits I have looked at seem to have a lot of unnecessary things in them and lack some of the more important things.
Do you have something to add to this list? Please let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Samantha Biggers lives on the side of a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them.
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