Remember the Pets
By Gypsy Trailblazer
Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! The New Year is the time when we turn our focus to new plans and intentions. This year my plan is to build my “official” pet bug out bag.
As I transitioned from city girl, to suburbanite, and finally to a little-bit-of-rural-mixed-into-suburbia I adopted many furry family members along the way. When I work on my preparedness list, I have to consider cats, dogs, chickens, and whatever other animal might be visiting at the time. After all, they will need as much food and water added to my pantry as I do, right? Today we will discuss a bug out bag for cats, dogs, and other small animals that typically live with us in an apartment or house.
Much like the role of a Mother figure, my furry family members rely on me to provide food, water, shelter, comfort, and a nice hike or trip somewhere to share some fun. For the most part, we are essentially prepared in that all the items we usually need for our pets are consolidated in one area. When I take them somewhere or severe weather is heading my way I throw a few things in a tote bag and off we go. Sometimes I have it all and sometimes I missed an item or two. With my pet bug out bag, I will have it all together and it will save me time and stress later because I just have to grab it and go.
The intent of this pet bug out bag is going to be for short trips, day hiking, or a short-term weather event. It will have enough supplies to keep us going for 24-48 hours, and have supplies to cover any emergency or unplanned event during the outing.
The first item to consider is selecting the bag to hold everything. Depending on your environment, does a backpack or messenger bag make more sense? In urban places, backpacks are often banned due to a history of terrorists using backpacks to hold explosive devices. Messenger bags are also easier to maneuver and protect in situations where many people can be pressed into gathering locations. What about a pack your dog can carry? There is no reason Fido cannot carry a supply pack! With a backpack, messenger bag, or dog pack, we are instantly mobile in any environment.
The bag that holds everything is especially important for small animals. There are many critter-carriers for sale that combine a safe containment area for your small critter, and areas to store all the other supplies you may need. Maybe you do not want a commercial carrier, maybe you want to design your own, but remember to consider safety and security for your little friend, along with comfort for you. With this item, consider a way to keep fresh bedding with you, as fresh bedding is critical to small animal health. When I traveled with my guinea pigs and ferrets, I kept fresh bedding in a zip-top bag, this way the old bedding was secured in the bag keeping everything clean and separate.
The second item to consider is water. On long walks or short car rides, a bottle of water will work well. I keep a foldable camping bowl in my car, I can use it anywhere and fill it with bottled water or at a water fountain if we are at a park. I also have a refillable water bottle with an attached drinking trough that I take on long walks for the dogs. Nevertheless, what will I do in an unexpected event? How much water does Mittens, Fido, and Gizmo need?
The third item to consider is food and a food container for they can use for feeding or snack time. You can vacuum seal your own bags of kibble, or put it a food storage container and stow them in the bag Does Mittens and Fido eat human food? Can they share some of your freeze-dried snacks without ill effect? Remember to pack treats, Mittens, Fido, and Gizmo will need love and treats to reward them for being their usual obedient selves, or dealing with a stressful change.
The remaining items to consider are vet records, a pet first aid kit (which I will cover in another article), baby wipes, paper towels, poop bags, pet medications, diatomaceous earth to keep away pests, a spare collar, leash and/or harness with identifying tags, a blanket for Fido to lay on, fresh bedding for Gizmo, cold weather gear, and maybe even a small toy or chew item to keep them busy if needed.
I mention vet records may be required in certain states to show proof of vaccinations or health. Unfortunately, in the event something happens during the outing, the records are also important if something happens to you and you are not able to communicate any instructions for your furry family member. A vet can take care of them in the short term if needed. Vet records also allow someone to dispense any pet medications for you if you are not able to.
Spare food, treats, and a collar/leash/harness are handy not just in case you need it, but if you come across another animal, you may need to help. Part of preparedness is being able to helping others in need.
Once you have considered everything and gathered all the items together, I highly suggest taking the pet bug out bag on test runs. What better way to test the items and contents? Take Fido to the park, pack mittens up and head to Home Depot, take Gizmo to the grandparents house...I am certain I forgot to mention items you may need specific to your pets. The test runs are a great way to test out products, and accustom the “family” to new environments and situations that should help reduce stress later if an event occurs.
See you next time!....Gypsy Trailblazer
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