Dog Bug Out Bag | Preparing Your Pet in Case of Emergency


Many of us would never dream of leaving our children at home in a SHTF scenario, and many of us consider our dogs children.

If you’re the owner of one or more of the 137.2 million pet dogs in North America, you’ve probably thought about the challenge of caring for your dog in an emergency situation.

Enter the Dog Bug Out Bag

In this post I am going to go over the 10 items that every good canine bug out bag should include (and 1 optional),  so follow along at home and you’ll be sure to have a nice 72 hour doggy kit at the ready the next time an emergency strikes.


OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest Harness Training Dog Vest with Detachable Pouches
OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest Harness with Detachable Pouches



In an ideal scenario your dog is big enough to carry his own bug out bag. If this isn’t the case,  you’ll simply need to incorporate the items below into your own bug out backpack.  If you have a large breed, the first thing you should do is buy a good saddle back dog backpack.

I personally recommend the OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest with Detachable Pouches as the ideal carrier.  It’s large, rugged and built to be comfortable on your pets back.  The Molle system also allows you to customize packs to fit your pets needs, while always remembering to consider the weight your pet is capable of carrying.

Ruffwear Palisades Pack
Ruffwear Palisades Pack

Alternatively, if you plan to use your dog’s backpack for regular city life, you may want something a little more urban friendly, like the Ruffwear Palisades Pack.  It too includes removable saddle bags, meaning you’re able to let your dog rest without removing the harness.  It also includes two built in collapsible 1L hydration bottles to carry all of your dogs water.

If you are looking for something a little more light duty for your dog, and your wallet, consider the Outward Hound KyJen Dog Backpack.  With removable pack and reflective high visibility accents, this pack is perfect for early morning or evening walks.

Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack
Outward Hound Kyjen Dog Backpack

Whatever pack you decide the most important thing you can do is get your dog used to wearing it.  Start slowly by going for short walks with an empty pack getting your dog familiar with it’s new backpack, and then slowly work your way up to a full bag.



Just like in a human BOB clean water is one of the most important things you can pack for your dog.  The amount you should carry will depend largely on the breed but a good rule of thumb is half a gallon of water per pet, per day.  There are plenty of options to carry this including water bladders, canteens or plain old plastic water bottles.

Prima Pets Silicone Food & Water Travel Bowl with Clip
Prima Pets Silicone Food & Water Travel Bowl with Clip

Collapsible Water Dish

Now that you have your water, you’re going to need something to serve it to your pup in.  The best option for dogs on the go is a collapsible water dish.  They are reliable, have a pull string to keep food in if necessary and fold up nice and small for easy storage.


The next thing you’ll need to include in your dog bug out bag is food for your pet.  While the debate on what type of food you should bring is a personal choice, the best option is to stick to something freeze dried in order to keep the weight down.

Leash and Long Cordage

Next up on the list of “must haves” is a short leash to keep your dog close and under-control.  The second piece is a bit of long cordage in order to tie your dog up at night but leave him enough room to patrol the camp.  If you packed a proper human BOB your kit should include paracord which will work just fine.

Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot
Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot

Neoprene Dog Shoes

If you’re planning on moving on foot for any long distances, especially over rough or cold terrain, it’s a good idea to have a spare pair of neoprene dog shoes in your pack as well.  This pair by Ultra Paws are rugged boots made to last on tough terrain where rocks or other objects might cut into your dogs pads.  Similar to the dog backpack however, make sure you get your dog used to wearing these well in advance of any emergency situation.


While it pains most responsible dog owners to see their pup with a muzzle on, it very well could save the life of both you and your dog.  Trust me, if there is ever a time when a bark could get you both killed you’ll be happy you have it with you.

Canine Friendly Pocket Pet First Aid Kit
Canine Friendly Pocket Pet First Aid Kit

Pet First Aid Kit

Much like a human first aid kit the contents of one built for your pet can be feverishly debated.  If you’re like most people however it’s bit of a pain to assemble an entire pack from scratch.  Luckily there are a lot of pre-built kits out there to choose from including the Canine Friendly Pocket Pet First Aid Kit or the Mayday First Aid Kit for Pets, which comes with pretty much everything you will need including antibiotic ointment, splinter removers, examination gloves and a Pet First Aid Guide – pretty good steal for under $20.

Epica Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper
Epica Pet Nail Clipper

Nail Clippers and a Hair Brush

Again depending on the length of time you’re bugging out for, these items might not be necessary, but if you’re doing any reasonable amount of bushwacking your dog is going to get a lot of stuff stuck in their fur.  In addition, a good pair of dog nail clippers can make all the difference in the comfort level of your pooch.

Earth Rated Green Dispenser with Dog Waste Poop Bags
Earth Rated Green Dispenser with Dog Waste Poop Bags

Doggy Waste Bags

Okay, okay, I know what you’re saying.  “If it’s the end of the world who the hell cares where my dog is going to poop?”

And while I agree with you if it’s the end of the world, for the other 95% of scenarios you’re going to wish you had some waste bags.  The reality is there is plenty of uses for bags if you don’t need them for picking up poop, and not many alternatives if you do.

Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home
Petnation Port-A-Crate E2 Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home

Collapsible Dog Crate

While I can’t make recommendations because I don’t actually own one, many dog owners will suggest having a collapsible crate that you can strap on to your own bag.  I think the principle is very sound as having a portable shelter for your own dog to hide in is incredibly valuable in almost every situation.  If you don’t mind the extra weight definitely consider getting one.

So that’s everything you need to keep your pet happy and healthy in any emergency situation.  For those looking for a quicker list I’ll recap below:

  1. Dog backpack
  2. Water
  3. Collapsible water dish
  4. Food
  5. Leash and long cordage
  6. Neoprene dog shoes
  7. Muzzle
  8. Pet first aid kit
  9. Nail clippers
  10. Doggy waste bags
  11. Collapsible dog crate (optional)

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  1. Having a copy of vaccination records would be good too. If laminated, they should only add .1 ounce to the dog’s pack but could save alot of headaches when/if normal civilized life returns.

  2. Jake,
    One other item that some might consider: Protection. In the wilderness you and your mate may encounter Wolves, Bears, Bobcats, even Cougars. Hopefully if your dog is a well trained former police German Shepard, that will hold and not attack. Reality is, most self trained dogs may engage.

    That said, while it isn’t feasible to cover your dog entirely in Kevlar, most wild animals will attack by biting the back of the neck and upper back. I would suggest that lightweight soft armor be added (Sewn In) similar to the pack in your pic. Secondly I have added a soft armor plate to the back of the neck. I used the side plate holder from a USMC Eagle brand vest. It required some sewing to have a clip attached to the pack and then it has a snug collar. It still allows movement but “Beau” does know it is there and haves to get used to it. I am still on a search for a more flexible material that will provide the same Class III protection which prevents most penetrations.

    It may seem overkill to many, but I feel much better about taking my buddy along into extreme wilderness.

    • Great addition Lynn.

      I know that many owners of livestock guardian breeds that frequently get in fights with predators equip their pups with spiked collars for the same reason. It effectively prevents any attack to the neck area by wolves, coyotes, etc. A sewn on piece of kevlar sounds like a much more practical approach for anyone not planning on scaring the crap out of anyone you happen across.

      Sounds like “Beau” is a pretty lucky dog to have an owner that cares so much 😉 Enjoy the holidays my friend!

  3. Love the site, In reference to protection for your dog,, A Pincer collar reversed will act like a spike collar protecting the neck..

  4. I would suggest that you pack a supply of your dogs normal food if possible as changing an animals diet suddenly can cause alot of health issues. In the event you need to use this you don’t want to add a sick dog to your list of problems. A large Ziploc bag of their normal food should last several days if your dog eats dry food.

    • Holy Crow you’re right – I’ve been in a pinch where we couldn’t get the same dog food for my dog (well, my wife’s). We had to settle for some off-brand stuff, and man-oh-man did we have to deal with the result. Not only was the dog sick, but the mess, oh man the mess. Oh the Humanity!
      Thanks Lee!