Bugging Out With A Pet

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Some people may scoff at the idea of bringing your pet with you when you are bugging out.

Obviously those people don’t have pets! Pets are part of the family and it would be unthinkable to leave them behind. I won’t try to convince non-pet owners too hard…

Why bring a pet when bugging out?

There are 2 main reasons:

  1. Companionship and Morale – When times are tough like when you are bugging out, your attitude can determine your destiny. Domesticated animals are there to be part of our psychological foundation – to make us happy and to reduce stress (webMD article).
  2. Protection and Security – Dogs (and other canines in particular) can serve as a night time watch for you and the rest of the pack. Now, that should come as no surprise since people have dogs for protection in normal life. Some cats can put up a strong fight, but generally felines aren’t known for their security prowess.

That’s my attempt at convincing you non-pet owners that bringing a pet is a good thing when bugging out. Now, even if you aren’t convinced, you probably know dozens of people that have pets, so keep reading…your prepping expertise can help!

Does the bugout location allow animals?

If you are bugging out to your private bunker in the wilderness, then you don’t need to worry about this. However, if you find yourself going to a Red Cross shelter or a FEMA or similar shelter, then you probably can’t bring Fido.

Try to verify this ahead of time – it would be terrible to make a long trek only to find out that you can’t bring your pet. So, check it now…it will be pretty hard to check when the infrastructure is in peril.


Bring 72 hours worth of food. Think about the weight aspect depending on where you have to go – basically, dry foods will be lighter since they don’t have the water weight.

You also won’t have to worry about the weight of the cans either.

Definitely, make sure that you pack the dry food in water tight bags or containers. If the food gets wet then it will go bad quickly.


Bring at least 1 quart of water and plan on having a way to purify the water. That could be a water purifier, chemicals, or a UV wand. It is actually simple – plan on cleaning the pet’s water the same way that you’ll be cleaning your own water.

Some people will recommend bringing water for the pet (or yourself) and that can be the best choice if you are traveling the dessert. However, if your bug out route is more temperate, then you are better off bringing less water since it is so heavy.

Leash and Collar

This is a no brainer and you should be bringing these 2 things with you anyway. In general a 4 or 6 foot lead will be what you want here. Skip the retractable leashes…


If your dog has any prescriptions, then you should plan to bring those. It is really no different than humans in this case.

First Aid Kit and Health

In most cases, you can use the same kind of materials in the human first aid kit but it is a very good idea to keep a separate kit just for your pet.

You may want to stock the pet kit with some pet version (usually just smaller doses) of aspirin, Benadryl, or other medications that your pet may need.

Blanket, Bed, or Towel

Basically, you need something for your pet to sleep on. If you are in a cold or hot climate, then you may need to bring something more specific to the temperature.

Treats and Toys

My dog loves treats like most all pets. I have a few special treats and toys packed for him. It doesn’t have to be anything too substantial, but you want your pet to be comfortable.

If you have a few minutes, here are a couple great youtube videos on the topic.


Like anything in prepping, planning is key. Plan ahead so you won’t be scrambling when you only have a few minutes to go!

Think about these items:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Leash & Collar
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Health & Medicine
  6. Blanket, Bed, or Towel
  7. Toys & Treats

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • James May 18, 2017, 3:50 pm

    I own a self contained and very secure little ranch in Texas, so I don’t plan on bugging anywhere unless the area is contaminated by something- and we are prepared for that eventuality. But we have 8 German Shepherds that are family- and like all members of the family, they have jobs to do in the event the SHTF which they have been well trained for. Anyone who doubts the value of dogs should try to visit our campsite uninvited some time. 🙂