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Outfitting your dog for a literal dog-eat-dog post-SHTF world

Thursday, September 05, 2019 by

Preppers with dogs know that it’s important to include their pets in their emergency plans. Before SHTF, you should assemble a dog-friendly version of your own preps and gear. Here are some of the things that your dogs will need so they can stay safe when disaster strikes. (h/t to

Dog backpack

Most medium-sized and large dog breeds can carry their own survival backpacks. For smaller dogs, you need to add their survival gear to your own pack.

If you’re not sure about the maximum weight that your dog can safely carry, consult a vet. Ideally, dogs should carry no more than one-third of their weight. The rest of the items that your dog can’t carry in his backpack can go in the trunk of your bug-out vehicle or your bug-out bag (BOB).

Their favorite toy and treats

Keep one of your dog’s favorite toys in its backpack. When SHTF, a familiar toy or favorite treats will help your dog calm down.

Food and water

Stock up on canned, dried, and freeze-dried pet food. Canned food can last several years or more if you keep it in a cool, dry, dark place like your basement or a root cellar. Dried dog food will last for at least one year in your survival stockpile.

Rotate pet food in your car trunk and your BOB. Pet food may expire sooner than the shelf life indicated on the packaging, especially during summer.

Personal information

Keep a record of any allergies or health conditions that your dog may have and the name it responds to in its dog backpack. Include your own personal information (e.g., phone number or a location where they can meet you if they can’t contact you by phone) and your vet’s phone number.

Keep a clear photo of your dog in your bag so you can quickly search for your pet if it gets lost.

Collar, muzzle, and a leash

Most dogs fear loud noises and fireworks, and there’s no telling how they will react in the chaos that ensues when SHTF.

If you’re bugging out, you need a collar, muzzle, and leash to secure your dog while traveling on foot or in a car. Get a glow-in-the-dark collar to make your pet easier to spot in the woods or on your property.

First aid kit

A pet first aid kit should include:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Band-Aids
  • Cotton balls
  • Dog aspirin
  • Gauze pads
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer or to start a fire)
  • Prescription medicine for existing conditions
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

Take a first aid course for pets so you can tend to your dog properly. (Related: Do you have a first aid kit for your pets?)


If you choose to bug out with your family, you need a small wool blanket that your dog can sleep on. Even if your dog doesn’t need the blanket, it may have other survival uses when SHTF.

Dog boots

Dog boots are essential if you plan to bug out on foot with your pet. The boots will protect its paws, especially if you need to travel in the woods or other rough terrain. Keep in mind that you need to train your dog to wear the boots before they can be useful as protection for your pet.

Pets are part of your family and before SHTF, you need to prepare supplies for them so they can comfortably ride out any long-term disaster scenarios.

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