Safety and your puppy

        When it comes to safety, we all want our dogs to be safe. They are precious to us, members of our family, and we never want any harm to come to them. For this reason we are firm believers that:

  • Dogs should always travel in secured crates in the car. No one plans on being in a car accident, but crates are like seatbelts; everyone should have them! I’ve recently made the switch over to a VarioCage, and it’s the best thing I could have done. 
  • Collars should ONLY be worn when dogs are on leash. Never in crates, or in the presence of off-leash dogs. It takes moments for dogs to strangle to death. I’ve had my dogs playing right beside me and when one got their jaw caught in the other’s collar and I came frighteningly close to losing them. Your puppy from me is microchipped, please do not take the risk of leaving a collar on them. 

Always have a plan.

In 2016, Fort McMurry (Alberta) was under severe threat from forest fires, and people had to evacuate with little to no notice. More recently we saw flooding that meant evacuation as well. Thankfully this wonderful country that we live in rallied around the communities, providing transportation, food, and shelter not just for the people but also for their pets. But what if they hadn’t? I encourage you to have a “bug-out bag” packed: 72-hours’ worth of supplies for both you and your dog. The following is a few notes about my own bug-out bag for my crew of dogs.

  • Freeze dried food takes up less space and weight than kibble, and is much easier to pack/travel with than raw. It also keeps for a long time, so purchasing a large bag once a year to keep in your emergency kit is actually a feasible thing to do. Freeze-dried foods are also available for people. I recently saw them available at Costco (for people, and more recently dogs), but FD foods for pets are available at most specialty stores.
  • Water filter - packing water can be a waste of space and a huge increase in weight if you know you will have a source where you land - though you do want to pack a small amount of bottled water. Packing a filter means the water doesn’t have to be potable, which can be a concern in evac situations. This can be used for both you and your dog. MEC has several models available.
  • A harness, spare collar, and waist-leash - something that won’t be slippery when wet, and that your dog can’t slip! I don’t normally recommend harnesses, but in this case, I do, as they’re harder to slip and can be worn comfortably for long periods of time. If you had to sleep in a shelter it’s much easier to sleep with your dog attached to you with a harness and waist-leash. 
  • Muzzle – I can’t stress enough how important it is to muzzle train. Grab a clicker, some high-value treats, and make it a game. Muzzle training and crate training are - in my opinion – skills you simply cannot put a high enough value on. No one wants the first time their dogs need to be crated or muzzled to be a terrible stressful experience.
  • A copy of your dogs’ vaccination records, and any relevant medical information. I also keep a copy of their registrations as proof of ownership. It’s helpful to keep these in a binder, along with the “lost dog” posters.
  • First Aid Kit - K9 and human. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you do need the necessities. Tweezers, scissors, sterile bandages, sanitary napkins, vet wrap, tape, disinfectant, contact solution (sterile saline in an irrigation bottle), an antibacterial and antifungal cream, styptic powder, and clean and sterile gloves. Talk to your vet about what else should be included for your dog (medications, etc). This kit should include just enough to get you through until you can get to the vet.
  • Posters of pictures from front/side/rear, complete with description - in case your dog gets lost. No one wants to think about it, but you want to be prepared. Make sure your cell phone number is on the posters. **Ask a handler/breeder for help taking stacked photos**
  • Cell phone charger. Always have an extra. Hopefully where you end up will have electricity, but in the event that it doesn’t you will need to conserve your batteries. 
  • A power pack. These are not lightweight, but are worth their weight in gold if you are out for several days. Buy when they come on sale and keep it charged. 
  • Flashlights. Not only for if you have to travel in the dark, but also to help you inspect splinters and cuts. 
  • A good supply of poop bags. You never know when those little bags will come in handy, not just for the obvious.
  • Have the phone numbers of the people you might need to get in contact with. Your vet (and a backup or two), and poison control are at the top of my list, but I also have the local SPCA, rescues, animal control, police, as well as the local specialty shops. All of these are in mind in case I have to put up posters for a lost dog.

I have left the details of my own supplies out, but suffice to say you need clothing, medications, etc.

We pack these bags, praying we never need them. But if we ever did, we have them.




© Shari Joanisse 2023