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Is Your Pet Ready to Bug Out?

The topic of preparedness for pets doesn’t come up that often on blogs and forums. After all, most people aren’t ready themselves, so it doesn’t really make sense to think about a dog or a cat.

Still, in a disaster situation, many pet owners worry more about their pets than saving their own lives. I’m sure you’ve seen footage of little old ladies trying to find their cat among debris instead of worrying about where they going to sleep at night.

So what does prepping your pet for an evacuation really mean? Given that a pet can bring so much joy in a post-collapse environment, let’s see some advice on how you can prep Smokey for the Apocalypse.


Dogs are great because they’ll be able to walk on their own when bugging out on foot (unlike cats, rabbits or goldfish). Plus, many can actually carry their own bug out bags with supplies. There’re plenty of adjustable saddlebags on Amazon for less than 40 bucks to choose from, and they obviously come in different sizes.

Of course, smaller dogs may not be able to carry their own supplies, in this case, you’re going to need a separate bag or even put things inside your own backpack. This won’t be a problem if you have a car but if you have to walk or take a bike… the extra weight may not be something you can afford.

If your pet is in the car with you and you’re driving, you need to make sure it won’t interfere and cause an accident. Our dog, Lucky, gets scared every time he hears fireworks, for instance, and I can only imagine what it’ll be like in an SHTF event. This is why you need to have someone with him on the backseat to hold him tight.

The problem with dogs is that the big ones eat a lot. And I mean A LOT. Now, you obviously can’t pack too much dog food inside your trunk so the solution is to store some at your bug out location, which you should hopefully reach within a few hours by car.

Some of the things to include inside your dog’s but out bag:

  • extra collar
  • extra leash (though you can use Paracord if need be)
  • a bowl (preferably one with a lid so you can store things in it)
  • a blanket
  • a collapsible carrier
  • trash bags
  • a dog brush
  • dog tags on the backpack with emergency info (in case your dog gets lost)
  • a thermal blanket
  • two bowls, one for food, one for water
  • a glow-stick (that you can attach to your dog to keep an eye out for him at night)
  • and, of course, food and water


Unfortunately, cats can’t walk with long distances or carry their own packs, so the bug out bag should be placed inside the carrier. Speaking of which, you’re gonna have to figure out in advance what you’re going to do with the carrier. Are you going to put it on the backseat of your car? What if you have to bug out on foot or abandon your vehicle?

Some of the supplies (besides food and water) to consider for your cat’s emergency kit:

  • a first aid kit (full list of items to include)
  • medical records (or, at least, copies)
  • a cat brush
  • a litter box
  • a few Ziploc bags (may be used for other purposes)
  • a blanket
  • and even a couple of toys if there’s enough room

Only problem is, during a bug out, the carrier will be full so you won’t be able to keep your pet inside.

Can you keep items inside your own bag?

Sure, you can throw a few things among the essentials in your bug out bag. However, keep in mind that the weight is going to be a problem. Unless you’re in really good shape, a heavy bug out bag is going to considerably slow you down. As a compromise, consider getting a separate pouch, maybe even MOLLE compatible, so you can attach it to your BOB.

More Ideas

As long as you’re going to take the car out of your town or city, you should have a car bug out bag with supplies. Why not add a few things for your pet? If the trunk is big enough, this won’t be a problem. If it isn’t you probably need a new car.

Stock up your bug out location with pet food (tips on which pet food to stockpile in this really interesting forum conversation).

Dog food has a shelf life between 6 and 12 months so rotation is a necessity. You should visit your BOL every now and then, anyway and, besides, your pet’s survival food is the same with what it eats every day – you will hear no complaints from him!

Make sure you also throw in a first aid book, which you can find on Amazon.

Take your pet outdoors. See how it handles the bug out bag and how well you can keep an eye out for him. It’ll be fun.

What about large animals?

If you have farm animals such as pigs, cattle or chicken, evacuating them is going to be tough. I’m assuming your main plan is to bug in as you’re already in a small town. If you can (and I realize this isn’t for everyone), I suggest building a shed or a cabin on a nearby piece of land that you own so you can take them all there in case of a house fire or some other disaster.

Bottom line

Bug out arrangements for your pet should only be made after you’ve taken good care of your own survival and preparedness needs. Having bug out bags, get home bags, and EDC, a stockpile, self-defense weapons and the other survival essentials is more important.

Still, prepping your pet for is not something you should procrastinate on indefinitely. Even the smallest prep is going to have you give you the feeling that you’ve actually done something in that direction so see if there’s something from my suggestions you could get for you the next time you go to the pet store.