“It’s just a dog.” As I think back I can’t believe I actually said that to a friend whose dog had just died. I feel a deep sense of guilt and remorse and would profusely apologize if I could, but my friend has also passed away. I know you think I’m heartless, any dog lover would, but please allow me explain. Sort of like … guilty with an explanation.
I had a dog for 1 week as a child, Pal was his name. Funny I can remember his name but not what he looked like. My parents would not allow a dog inside the house so he was banished to the back yard, where he found the joy of freedom by causally and easily bounding over the chain-link fence and disappearing. My Pal was gone before we actually had time to bond.
I’m worried about you
Fast forward. I bought my 8 year old son a yellow lab, let me rephrase that, my wife forced me to agree to buy the family a dog. Just like I was raised, the dog was not allowed inside the house, but was allowed to stay in the garage during cold weather. Ironically, 1 week after bringing the dog home, a week of cleaning up dog poop, stuffed animal cotton and finding my hammer with the chewed up handle, a cold spell hit hard. Good to my word I allowed the dog to stay in the garage where he promptly discovered a jug of antifreeze. The vet saved him, at great expense, and the dog became my youngest son’s dog because my eldest could care less. So you see my experiences with a dog were either super brief or expensive and aggravating. A God given shittin’, tool destroying, expensive and destructive machine. It was just an animal.
Fast forward. I married my current wife, rephrase … I married my forever wife, who was an adamant pet lover. By this time in my life I could really care if there was an elephant in the backyard. After 18 years the dog was clearly heading to doggie heaven, and witnessing the relationship between my wife and her dying dog broke my heart. Thinking logically, men do that, I convinced the wife into buying a puppy, to replace the dying dog. I know … nothing can replace the dog, but I didn’t understand that then.
Hey, Wake up. Chow time.
The wife bought a try-color Border Collie, smartest dogs in the world. This dog could learn to cook me breakfast if I were smart enough to teach her. But a surprisingly unexpected thing happened. The dog adopted me. She’d sleep on my pillow against the top of my head, follow me to the bathroom, gnaw up the wife’s shoes but never touch mine. I had fallen in love with a four legged critter. Insult my wife … she can take care of herself. Insult my dog … we have a real problem.
I’m a convert, a dog lover, dog protector, dog, dog, dog, who could not have feelings for a dog? Now I’m sure you feel the same about your pet, but in a survival situation the humans in the family come first and Fido is kinda an after thought. Not forgotten .. just delayed.
So while you are preparing your bug-out bag or survival kit, let’s look at what we should bring with us to insure the health and safety of our dogs or other animals.
Neither we or our pets can go more than a few days without water. A standard measuring stick is to have one gallon of water per person per day. For a small dog or cat an extra quart a day should suffice. For those with many pets or a few big ones, a couple of St. Bernard(s), add up the total weight of your animals and add one gallon of water per 100 pounds of pets. Water could be a very scarce commodity so be sure to have a water dish available, reduces waste.
Some people may consider feeding their dog “Human Food” but animals have different nutritional needs than humans and really do require dog food for the majority of their diet. Canned dog food will last the longest, but it’s expensive, heavy and don’t forget a can opener. A good quality dry dog food kept in a 5 gallon Mylar lined bucket, add oxygen absorbents, will last for years.
You have no idea of how long the crisis situation may last or what environment you may be forced to stay in, so it’s a smart idea to keep some flea dip, flea collars, Advantage drops, or some other form of flea and tick control available. Call it self survival because these menacing creatures love to torment humans also.
If your dog requires regular doses of medicine, keep some extra on hand so that their treatment can continue uninterrupted, especially if it’s a life saving medication.
Is a crisis situation stressful on you? Of course it is, and it’s also stressful on your dog. They know when things are not right. A treat and a ball to play with will help it seem a bit more normal and less stressful.
Leashes & Collars & Clothes
You may know your dog is not aggressive, but others do not. Should you be forced into a populated situation you may be required to have your dog on a leash. Having documentation of current shots, an identification tag attached to the collar, a picture of the dog in case you get separated is a good practice. In a cold weather environment doggies boots and/or sweaters can be a life saver, especially if you are traveling by foot.
Pet First Aid Kit
You don’t want to think about it, but pets also run the risk of injury in emergency situations. Therefore, a store bought or homemade first aid kit for your pets is a great idea, plus many of the items are made for use on humans as well. Here’s a basic list to get you started.
Tweezers to remove splinters, ticks or any other foreign object.
Scissors for cutting bandages, fur, etc.
Tape and gauze to hold dressings in place.
Vet Wrap, similar to an Ace bandage.
Toenail trimmer and styptic pencil
Non-stick bandage dressings for wounds
Antiseptic wash or wipes to disinfect wounds or a sore.
Antibiotic cream, like Neosporin, to prevent infection.
Consider asking your Vet for a pain relief medication for dogs. Giving pets human pain relief medication is extremely dangerous, for instance Tylenol is poisonous and fatal to pets.
Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) for stings and allergic reactions of any type.
The term “pets” seems cold. These animals are our friends, our protectors, our family. They give unconditional love and expect nothing in return. We can tell them our most
intimate secrets and know it goes no farther. They will gladly sacrifice their well being for yours. They deserve the best care we can provide. They need to survive too.