A go-bag or bug-out bag are pre-packed emergency bags filled with essential items that you can keep at the ready in case you need to evacuate your home.
There have been a number of news stories this spring about tragic flooding as melting snow and severe weather patterns have combined their forces.
Living in Ottawa, there has been significant flooding near where we live (fortunately, none of it has affected us). Local, national, and international media have been filled with photos and accounts of people being displaced, houses being destroyed, and rescue efforts being undertaken.
In the middle of the media coverage of these emergencies, there are numerous photos of evacuees and rescuers carrying dogs and other pets to safety, including this video clip of a news reporter in Peru stopping his report to rescue a dog.
These photos prompted us to think about emergency plans for people and their dogs if they have to get out of their houses and into alternative accommodation on short notice.
Do you have emergency supplies and a bag handy and ready to go?
We’ve put together an emergency checklist of considerations and items to get you started if you need to prep a dog-focussed go-bag for an evacuation-type emergency. The number and size of things you can take with you may depend on whether you’re evacuating on foot versus car versus another way (e.g, boat, canoe, airlift). Here we go.
- a place to go that’s willing to accommodate your dog
- food for several days
- any medications your dog needs
- vet’s contact info
Other items (size-/space-dependent)
- food bowl
- dog bed
- other incidentals: nail trimmer, treats, pet wipes, toys, chews/rawhides, poop bags
And of course, a bag to carry everything.
We use this backpack, and try to limit what we take for her to just this bag, when she stays over at a boarder’s or travels with us. We like to keep the bag light and portable. In between trips, we keep her bag at least partly-stocked with supplies in case we have to grab it and go somewhere quickly.
If you need to head out quickly but aren’t able to take a large food container, you can divide your dog’s meals (e.g, meal-sized portion of dog chow) into separate Ziploc bags (e.g., one bag per meal) for easy packing, access, and containment. We pack Juno’s food like this whenever we have to take her anywhere for a day or more. Not environmentally-friendly, but fast and convenient. And a good poop-bag in a pinch.
An added benefit of being prepared for an emergency is that your preparation conveys information about you, the owner, to other people: characteristics such as thinking ahead, thinking beyond yourself, effective reaction, remaining cool and calm under pressure, and demonstrating that you are a confident, thoughtful leader. And for your dog, it knows you’re taking charge in an uncomfortable, anxiety-inducing situation.
Disasters can strike with horrifying swiftness, often leaving people with little or no time to respond, so it pays to be ready to help yourself, your loved ones, and your dog as quickly as possible if things get bad fast.
Have you ever had to evacuate with your dog? What other things do you have on your dog’s emergency checklist? Anything we’re missing? Let us know.
Good luck with your preparations, and stay safe!
And, as always, thanks for reading. We’re glad to have you with us.