13 Steps for bugging out with pets ( Dogs & Cats )

A lot of people have pets, and if you are preparing to bug out in an emergency situation then it is a good idea to include your pets in your bug out plan. The problem is that a lot of people who have a solid SHTF plan tend to forget about the needs of their pets. In addition to this the type of pet you have will also make bugging out with them either extremely easy or extremely hard, generally speaking, you will have a lot easier time bugging out with a dog than with a cat.

You can bug out with your pets by having food, water, pet bug out bag, microchipping your pets, training your pets, having paw protectors, first aid kit for your pets, muzzle, pet crates, collar and leash with ID tags, documents, and pictures, by taking frequent bathroom breaks and by taking their favorite toy with them. Generally speaking, you will have a lot easier time bugging out with a dog than with cats, as dogs tend to be more obedient, but this doesn’t mean that you can not bug out with your cat.

While you are bugging out with your dog it is extremely important that your dog is obedient, my personal recommendation is to use a dog training collar that has several training modes Click here to check it out on Amazon.

No matter if you have a cat, dog, hamster, or even a bird you can still bug out with them. Although how you will actually bug out with them will be a challenge for the most part. The sad news is that if you have a tropical fish then you will find it difficult to bug out with them, you can put them into a bag with water but tropical fish do not respond well to stressful situations and temperature fluctuations.

Your main goal with bugging out with pets is to keep them safe until you reach the bug out location, in addition to this you have to think if your pet will put you in danger during the bug out process. Generally speaking, most dogs will obey commands, on the other hand, if you have a cat then you already know that they do not obey commands at all. You will have an easier time bugging out with an obedient dog than with a stubborn cat, but it can still be doable.

If you have cats, dogs, birds, and other pets then you have to include them into your bug out plan, this means that you should have plenty of food and water for them, and you should also think about how well they adjust to the bug out location. If you are looking for a bug out location, make sure that the location is good for your pets as well, for more information check out my recent article Bug out location ( Top 16 Things To Know ).

Have food for your pets

You probably already know this but I have to add it to the post, you should treat your pet no matter if it is a dog, cat, hamster, or even a bird as a member of your family. Pets have basic needs just like humans do, this means that they need, food, water, and shelter in order to survive. Depending on how long your bug out journey will take you should have plenty of food for your pets. In addition to this, you should have plenty of food for your pets at your bug out location.

The last thing you would want is for your pets to eat from your own food stockpile. If you have a dog or a cat then just get a large bag of dehydrated food for them and this should last them for a month or two. Some pets tend to be picky eaters, so before any emergency situation, you have to train them to eat dehydrated foods. Sometimes during emergency situations dogs can get lost in the wild, if you want to know what their chances of survival are then check out my recent article Can dogs survive in the wild? ( For how long? ).

Have plenty of water for your pets

A lot of pets tend to be fairly sensitive when it comes to dehydration, they are used to having water whenever they are thirsty. If your bug out location is far away then make sure to stop a couple of times along the road to give some water to your pets. Make sure to have a separate water container for them, this way you can see how much your pet needs during the journey. If you are bugging out during the summertime then you have to get extra water for your pets.

Have a pet bug out bag

As you would make a bug out bag for each member of your family you should also make one for your pets as well. The bug out bag for your pets should contain food, water, medicine, and other things that your pets might need. There are bug out bags specially designed for dogs, so if you are bugging out on foot you can share the load. Just make sure to pack everything your pet needs in one place, this way if something happens you can get the item in an instant.

Microchip your pets before bugging out

Microchipping your pets is a preventative measure, during SHTF situations a lot of pets will become frightened and some of them will run away. Generally speaking, cats tend to run away during an emergency situation, and for the most part, dogs will try to stick around their owners but not all of them. If your pet gets lost during an SHTF situation then if somebody finds it and brings it to the veterinarian’s office your pet can be scanned and the microchip will give them all the information to find you.

Not all pets can be microchipped, but the ones that can be you should definitely microchip them. A lot of cats and dogs go missing during an emergency situation, and the last thing you would want is for them to be found by somebody and not having them returned to you.

Train your pets to bug out

Some pets can be trained while others are either too stubborn or they simply do not understand the commands. Generally speaking, if you have a cat or a dog then it is a good idea to start training them from an early age. I know a lot of you have small dogs, and for the most part, these do not even have basic obedience training. If you are used to walking your dog with a leash all the time then odds are that once the leash is off he will just run off and simply ignore your commands.

No matter what dog breed you have you will still have to train them, simple commands to come to you, to sit down are just the basics but during an emergency situation these basic commands will save you a lot of headaches. Cats, on the other hand, are almost impossible to train, they do whatever they want whenever they feel like it, so your best pet is to get a cat crate for them.

Use paw protectors for your pets

Paw protectors are little shoes for your dogs and cats, these are made to protect your pet’s paws from getting cut and bruised by the terrain. Generally speaking, most dog paw protectors have rubber pads, as this will stop them from accidentally slip and they will also protect them from cutting their paws. Paw protectors are also made for cats as well, although they are mostly made to keep your cat’s feet warm.

These paw protectors are especially useful if your bug out location is in rugged terrain or if your pet is used to being inside the home for most of the day. Dogs and cats who are constantly outside will have thicker skin on their paws, and pets who are for the most part all day inside your home will have soft paws that are prone to cuts and bruises.

Have a first aid kit for your pets

Just like humans, pets as well need a first aid kit, small cuts, bruises, and infections can happen at any time and you wouldn’t want your pet to limp all the way to your bug out location. There are small first aid kits specially designed for pets, so include them in your pets bug out bag. When it comes to medicine, keep in mind that medicine for dogs will not work for cats and the other way around.

If you give your dog cat medicine then it can have some serious negative effects, so be mindful of that. If you will include some kind of antibiotics for your pets then make sure to store them in their bug out bag and not in your own bug out bag. A lot of preppers tend to stockpile antibiotics by using antibiotics for animals, this way they do not need a prescription, for more information, check out my recent article How to get antibiotics for prepping? ( Top 18 Sources ).

Have a muzzle for your pet

If you have a fairly large dog then you should definitely use the muzzle while you are bugging out with your dogs. During emergency situations a lot of people will run around frightened, some dog breeds might see this behavior as threatening and they might attack. This can happen even if the dog is generally well behaved and obedient. Once a dog identifies a threat coming towards them or other family members it will not hesitate to bite.

Use a pet crate for easy transportation

Pet crates are made for an easy way to transport your pets, although a lot of people tend to use pet crates to lock up their pets while they are at work. At that point, you are a warden and not a pet lover. Pet crates are made for transporting them, and not for your pets to stay in them all day long. If you have an obedient dog then you can bug out with them without using a dog crate, but only if your dog responds to your commands.

On the other hand, if you have a cat then you will need to get them a cat crate, in addition to this, you should make your cat comfortable with the cat crate, this way during the emergency situation you do not have to waste time to get your cat into the actual crate.

Collar and leash with ID tags

Even if your pet is obedient you still should get a collar and leash for them, especially if they are not used to the wilderness, this is especially important if your bug out location is in the middle of nowhere. Certain dog breeds have strong hunting instincts, and once they pick up a scent they will follow it, if you give them a command while they are in the hunting mode they will definitely ignore you.

If you have a smaller dog then you still need to get them a collar and leash, the last thing you would want is for your Yorkshire terrier to wander off and become dinner for some predator. If you have a cat then you should have a collar and leash for them as well, just in case they see something and wander off. In addition to this, you can add the tags to your pet’s collar, so if it wanders off and somebody finds him then they can notify you.

Have the document and picture of your pets in your bug out bag

If you are bugging out with your pets then you should have their documents and their pictures with you as well. In the worst-case scenario if your pet gets lost you can ask around if somebody has seen them and you can show them the picture of your pet. During a bug out scenario, you should take every document which you have as who knows when you will need it, and this also includes the documents for your pets as well.

Bathroom breaks

While you are bugging out you should take a couple of bathroom breaks along the way, this way you will avoid your pets from making the interior of the car smell extremely bad. Pets, just as people, have a fairly regular bathroom schedule, and if they are not used to spending a lot of time in the car than you will have some problems. You should stop every two hours or so and let your pets do their thing.

Take the favorite toy of your pets while bugging out

Most pets will have a favorite toy or a blanket, make sure to take them when you are bugging out. In stressful situations most pets will try to seek comfort and having their favorite toy or blanket with them will comfort them for a while.

In conclusion

As you can see bugging out with pets is not that easy, you will have to keep in mind a lot of things. Under ideal circumstances, you shouldn’t have any problems with your pets while you are bugging out, but this mostly depends on how well behaved and obedient your pet is. Some pets can be trained while others can not, so make sure to use a pet crate if your pet isn’t cooperating.