Putting Together an Emergency 72-Hour Kit For Your Dog

Guest Post by Emma Green

You may have Food Storage and emergency 72 hour kits for all of your family members, but what about the dog? Many people tend to forget that in the event of a crisis, your dog will be just as scared and confused as you are. By thinking ahead, you can avoid many of the problems that could occur if anything happens to your home.

Choosing the Right Food

The first thing that you will need to take care of is food for your dog. Determine how much food your dog will need for a 72 hour period. I recommend dry dog food for the purpose of these kits, even if you do not regularly feed your dog dry food. Dry dog food will be a lot lighter than canned food because there isn’t a lot of water weight in it.

Keep in mind that if you use dry dog food, you will have to include more water in the pack than you would if you use canned food. Get something that is high in nutrients (none of the weight loss type!) puppy food would be a good choice because it tends to be high in calories, and so it can stretch further if it needs to. Put the dry food into an airtight plastic bag. Also, if your dog is on any medications, make sure to include at least a 3 days supply of them.

How Much Water Will You Need?

Next you will need to determine the amount of water needed. A good way to determine how much water your pet will need is to figure about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. There are 8 ounces in a cup, so if your dog is 8 lbs, you will need about a cup of water per day.

If your dog is 80 lbs, he will need about 10 cups per day. Times that number by three and you will have the amount for your 72 hour kit. I recommend buying the regular sized water bottles (they are 16.9 ounces, which is about 2 cups) to put in the pack. So for the 80 pound dog, who needs 30 cups total for the 72 hour kit, you should get about 15 water bottles for his pack.

The water bottles will be easy to portion out, will stay fresh for a long time, and are convenient.

Storing Your Emergency Kit

At this point, you may be thinking, “How am I going to carry around all that food and water?” Well, optimally you won’t have to! I would look into investing in a dog pack so that your dog can carry his own kit. These can be found online, and in some pet retail stores.

If you get the right size of pack for your dog, and portion out the correct rations of food and water, he should have no problem carrying his own pack. Some exceptions may be very tiny dogs (under 10 lbs), or puppies, because they eat a lot more in proportion to their size than adult dogs. In these cases, you may have to include his food and water with your kit, but luckily if your dog is that small or still a puppy, there won’t be much to carry.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

The other vital component of your dog’s 72 hour kit is a sturdy leash, and a collar with a name tag. Make sure all of your contact information is on the name tag, because in an emergency situation your dog can easily be separated from you.

I would suggest having your dog wear the collar and tag at all times, but if that isn’t possible, at least have it in the pack and make sure to put it on your dog as soon as an emergency situation arises.

The leash is of great importance, because it will allow you to have full control over your dog when you need it most. You will be able to sleep securely knowing that your dog is on a leash next to you, tied to an unmovable object.

Other Essential Items for Your Emergency Kit

The remaining items are optional, but I like to include them in the 72 hour kits that I have made. I always put a small fleece blanket, or towel in the kit so that they have something to lay on. It can also provide a little warmth if needed. I also include a favorite toy or ball for comfort. Last, I put in some doggie treats, which can be given as snacks throughout the day.

You know your dog better than anyone else. Use these tips as a starting point, and include anything else that your dog may need. If anything ever happens, you will probably be one of the only people able to comfortably care for your entire family, including the dog.

Emma Green has a Parson Russell Terrier and a Papillon. They are wonderful dogs, and she loves spending time with them. She is also passionate about Nutrition, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Storage. You can visit Emma on her blog. Feel free to contact her with any questions about Dogs or Food Storage at

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This article was written by one of our guest contributors.

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  1. Justin Mountford

    This is excellent article i’m a survival enthusiast and it never really occurred to me keep a separate pack for the dog at the ready. I was just going to grab the dog and get the hell out, guess I never really thought that through. This has made me think about some great ideas, what about fitting out a separate dog backpack so he can carry his own stuff and share the load.

    Cheers Justin –

    • Justin, thanks for the comment! I just visited your blog and it is really neat. Glad this has helped you to think about preparing your dogs too. I think there are a lot of people who haven’t thought too much about making a survival pack for their pets!

  2. Great post! Definitely important since about 1/3 of people who do not evacuate in an emergency say it is because they do not want to leave their pets behind.

    A couple other thoughts:

    1) in addition to a name tag, microchipping your pet and having photos help you reunite if a pet is lost.

    2) May emergency shelters will not let you bring a pet unless you have a carrier or kennel for them. So these are important to have.

    Thanks for bringing attention to such an important topic!

    Dr. Cyndie Johnson

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