Your once-familiar neighborhood has turned into a nightmare. The light barely breaks through the smoke and dust in the air. Building ruins, burned automobiles, wrecked barriers, and the debris of a lost fight clutter the streets in all directions. It’s only you and your dog now.
The dog, sitting patiently at your feet, with its ears alert and the eyes always scanning, suddenly becomes nervous, pointing to an abandoned house with dark windows and a kicked-in door.
His nose is in the air, and his ears twitch as if he’s hearing sounds that are well beyond your hearing range. He gets more nervous, and this means it’s time to go. It’s not safe around here.
Your dog can become a survival liability
If you are forced to bug out after a huge calamity or disaster, having your dog beside you is a game changer, but it also has a few drawbacks.
First, the bad news: they eat food and drink water. A hungry dog, even well-trained hungry dogs, will put food ahead of you and your health. They might be nervous and unpredictable.
So, they’ll need food to stay happy and loyal. And guess who has to transport it?
Dogs produce waste, often make a lot of noise, and take up a lot of space in your shelter and bug-out vehicle. Furthermore, if the situation worsens, your dog will be considered food by many people, placing him in danger. You will also be in danger, by extension, if you feel the need to protect him.
Also, certain terrains (steep climbs, big piles of rubble, razor-sharp debris) are unsuitable for a dog. You will need to take care of your dog and pay attention to its actions when traversing dangerous terrain.
However, dogs are as much a part of some families as their children, and they would never consider leaving their dogs behind, abandoning them, or sacrificing them for the sake of the group.
The purpose of your four-legged friend
A dog’s daily routine is reminiscent of his wolf instincts. He digs, buries food/bones, hides his waste, and eats alone. He has a group mentality and is extremely aware of his surroundings.
He sleeps in a den (if he has others with him), and his ability to defend himself is unparalleled in household animals. A dog can be an extremely useful “item” in a survivalist’s arsenal.
To be honest, an untrained house dog is only useful for two things: personal defense and company.
However, a dog can be trained to do almost anything: he can pull a sled, wagon, or rudimentary travois or carry a canine backpack for some of his own belongings.
However, if you haven’t properly trained and prepared your dog for a difficult scenario, he will sense your worry and become antsy and nervous. An anxious dog may bite, flee, or bark excessively. All of these are things you should avoid.
Every dog will bark, and every dog will defend his territory against anything he perceives to be threatening. If you are a member of his pack (or vice versa), having a dog around can and will help you identify attackers, offering a strong level of protection for you and your group. Your dog’s sharp hearing and powerful nose will notice a visitor long before you do.
When your instincts tell you to, pay attention to your dog, and you won’t regret it. When he feels a threat, his mood, physical appearance, and behaviors will alter.
In response to the threat, he will tighten up, stand higher, and turn sideways. The hair on his back ridge will rise up. His ears will recede, and his head will slither deep into his shoulders.
If your dog has been trained to attack on demand, he must also be trained to entirely “switch off” or let go on command.
If you want the dog to bark depending on what it smells or hears in the distance, the dog must also be trained to stop barking and be quiet when given direct instruction.
Continuous noise giving away your exact location for predators to zero in on is detrimental to your survival in many situations.
A warm companion
In the most basic sense, your dog can become a warm blanket. A dog’s natural body temperature is a couple of degrees higher than a human’s, and he makes a warm companion on a cold night thanks to his fur coat.
Because dogs sleep in dens instinctively, taking advantage of their body heat to stay warm on cold nights, you can do the same.
Dogs have an excellent sense of direction. They employ a variety of senses and perceptions to navigate and recall where they came from. They use their inner ear’s vestibular system to detect speed and turns, and they unconsciously count the number of steps they’ve taken from one location to another.
Dogs can forecast the weather by sensing changes in barometric pressure.
They are astute character analysts. They can also be used to keep kids quiet and distracted.
Caring for your dog
The wonderful thing about a dog is that he is always ready to do anything. However, one of the drawbacks of dogs is that they will continue to perform whatever they are doing until they practically collapse.
If you insist on bringing your dog with you during a bug-out, you must take care to ensure that he remains a healthy, alert, and functional part of the team.
Dogs are scavengers who can and will consume almost everything edible they come across. Two weeks later, that buried leftover steak tastes quite good to a dog. Given this, dogs can consume what you consume (and vice versa).
Even so, in order for a dog to be healthy, he needs to eat the same meal on a consistent basis, specifically dog food.
If you are sheltering in place (or know that this is the most likely outcome), keep as much canine food on hand as you do human food. Dry, kibble-type dog food should be stored in its original packaging (unless you have a rat problem, in which case, use food-grade containers.
The bag keeps the food dry and protects it from light while yet allowing it to breathe slightly. This is significant because moisture can be found in dry pet food in the form of fats and oils. Usually, dog food can last for up to two years in its original bag.
Canned wet dog food is a much better alternative for storage. It can be left untouched for around five years before losing nutritional value. Determine how much your dog consumes and calculate how much you’ll require.
If he eats two cans every day and you’re planning a three-week survival stockpile, you’ll need 42 cans, which don’t take up much space. The nicest part about having dog food on hand is that you can consume it as well if things get really tough.
You’ve seen your dog drinking from the toilet and from muddy puddles in the backyard. As a result, he must have an iron stomach and be immune to bacteria and parasites… not necessarily.
Outdoor water sources, such as rivers, lakes, and ponds, contain microscopic creatures that are harmful to your dog, just as they are to you. If certain protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, are swallowed, they harm the gastrointestinal tracts of dogs.
Protozoa exposure might result in severe diarrhea and intestinal hemorrhage. Protozoa can be carried by a healthy dog without causing any symptoms. On the other hand, it can be harmful to a dog’s health if he has an underlying ailment, is extremely old or very young, or has a compromised immune system.
Although drinking from natural water sources poses no risk to dogs, having a clean supply of water is essential for their health. Always keep a bowl of water nearby so that your dog doesn’t have to drink from other sources.
Because he can’t tell you what’s wrong, pay close attention to his actions to keep him healthy. If your dog is particularly lethargic, appears fatigued, or if something doesn’t seem right, he most likely has an ailment. It is your responsibility to figure out what it is in the absence of medical resources.
To cover all bases, put medical items for dogs in your bug-out bag, including grooming products, flea and tick control, anti-worm protection, nail and teeth kits, and specialty medicines. For example, you can keep and use Zymox if your dog is prone to ear infections).
Dogs become cold, too, and they also get hot very easily during certain activities.
Depending on your local temperature and climate, have a blanket or vest available to keep your dog warm, especially if he is single-coated (such as terriers, Bulldogs, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and other short-haired dogs).
Their feet develop blisters. And if your dog is very stubborn, you might not notice anything is wrong until you see bloody footprints or uncontrolled chills. The terrain can be hard on a dog’s feet, so be prepared with boots if you come across glass, hot pavement, rubble, or jagged dirt.
A dog’s eyes can be harmed by the same dust, sand, and smoke that affects yours, so a pair of dog goggles will also help.
Treats and Toys
Your dog may not comprehend what is going on, so try not to disrupt his habit and patterns too much to keep him feeling normal.
If your dog is used to receiving some type of treat before bed or a ball in the morning, make sure you have both of those with you. A happy dog is oftentimes a healthy dog.
A dog can assist you in detecting intruders before they cause harm to you or your family. Because people will be the greatest threat, having a dog for protection makes sense.
Dogs may also assist you in hunting and become the most important instrument in your arsenal for putting meat on the table… if you’ve already trained them to do so.
A dog, on the other hand, may wind up struggling for the same resources of food and water for survival if he has not been trained to hunt. Furthermore, your dog may bring disease-carrying fleas and ticks from the outdoors.
If your dog is a permanent member of your pack and will accompany you to the ends of the earth, make sure you understand what is at stake, what you’ll need to keep him happy and secure, and how you plan to safeguard your dog from danger even during scenarios when he tries to defend you.
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