21

Tips for pets? – Pet Preparedness

What are peoples plans and more importantly tips to dealing with pets in a situation where bugging out is prudent?  We have two cats, both are leash trained and very easy to get into their crates.  Travel by car is a non issue for them.  We also have a gallon bag of food for them in my bag.  I am worried about having to ditch the car though.  Any hints on supplies we should have, training we should do, or any other things?  

57

  • Best Replies

  • Comments (57)

    • 6

      Great question. I have 3 big dogs and am definitely not prepared to go anywhere on foot with them. Could y’all carry them in a pouch in front and have your backpacks in the back?  

      • 6

        Yes, though I think we would try to use their carriers as long as possible.  It gives them some continuity of something that is ‘theirs’, and contains them if it turns into a multi day by foot situation.  

    • 8

      Some suggestions:

      • For a litterbox, I have a plastic jug of cat litter, a box of litterbox liners and a scoop. These all go in a plastic tote just large enough to hold them. That way I can dispose of the used litter and pack it all back in the same container. I’m assuming I’m not going to carry these in a backpack – they go in the car.
      • Make a list of the phone numbers and addresses of the pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation routes. As soon as you know you’re going to be evacuating, call a friend or family member who lives out of the area & ask them to call ahead and get you a reservation (or two). If you’re stuck on the road with hundreds of other cars, the cell phone service may get overloaded. I can say from experience that this is a really useful plan & a huge stress saver.
      • Don’t forget the water dish & water.
      • For our dog, I portioned-out a couple of medium-sized amounts of food and vaccuum-sealed them in separate bags. It was easier to pack this way and it kept the food fresh & bug free. This would obviously work for the cats’ food too (and in fact, I need to do this!)
      • I don’t have much experience with cats on a leash, but I wonder what kind of progress you would actually make if you had to walk with them. Perhaps one of those folding wagons would be a better idea? Keep the cats in the crates & put the crates in the wagon along with the heavy food & water.
      • As you’ve already seen, cats are actually pretty resilient travellers. Give them lots of attention during the trip, and they should be ok.

      Hope that’s helpful.

      – WS

      • 5

        Thanks.  Very helpful.  I will look into the vac sealing partitions and the pet friendly hotels.  That is a great idea.  As far as the leash I don’t expect to walk them there, we would never get anywhere, more a comment on things we have/how they behave.  So in camp or hotel they might get leashed, otherwise crate.  

      • 3

        This was helpful for me as well.  My husband and I have had similar questions as Scott for our pet rabbits.  We’ve had to evactuate via car with them before which went pretty smoothly.  Vacuum sealing their food is something I’d not thought to do as it is pretty shelf stable but that would definitely ensure it’s dry and keep it fresher – thanks!  In a bugout scenario, the animals are likely to not be themselves as they key off of atypical sounds/smells and your behavior which will also be out of the norm. So assume they won’t behave as they normally do.  The carrier is likely your best bet, but hiking with it will be difficult.   I’d not considered the foldup wagon for the carrier – brilliant idea.  And I have one already.  It would also permit us to add some Aquabricks of water in with them and still make progress.  I know from vet visits that we wouldn’t get far otherwise as the ergonomics would wear on us quickly even without a heavy pack on our backs.  

      • 5

        Glad to hear that was helpful!

        FWIW: when I vacuum seal the pet food, I put the food into a ziplock bag first. But I don’t fully zip the bag closed: I leave a small opening for the air to get out. Then I put the ziplock bag into the sealer bag, and then vacuum & seal.

        When it’s time to open the sealed bag, the food is already contained in a ziplock bag that I can dispense a bit of food from and then reclose. No need to scrounge around for something to keep the pet food bag closed.

        -WS

      • 1

        Re: pet friendly hotels….Don’t forget Airbnbs.  I have a pet friendly Airbnb and get lots of one night drive throughs.  I also board dogs in my home.  So in some evac situations taking a pet a few hours away to safety and boarding them is an option. 

        In true, shtf situations I don’t even want to think about pet ownership. Kudos to those you you who have. 

    • 5

      My 1st thought was making sure you have enough water for them. It’s more weight for your packs in addition to what you’re already carrying bear in mind. For dogs it’s an oz of water per lb of dog. Not sure what the conversion is for cats…

    • 3

      A little off topic but how hard was it leash training your cats? Do certain breeds take to it easier? I’ve seen videos of it but always struggled to call it legit.

    • 3

      Hello. If you are concerned about having to ditch your car, it may be a good idea to look into a backpack or vest you can wear, in order to carry your cats. They come in different colors and styles. Then you can use your hands to carry your B. O. B. (Bug Out Bag), in an emergency.  

      If your cats’ crate is collapsable, you may tie that to your B.O.B., until you reach your campsite or destination. Then: 1. Set up the crate for your cats. 2. Immediately set up your camp tent, etc. 3. Walk your cats to calm them, fill their water and dry food.  4. Clean their bowls and put their (and your) food in a safe tight container. 5. Don’t let them wander because they may fall prey to: injury, stray dogs, coyotes, or mean people. 

      * Dog owners may need to look into a back pack their dogs may carry. They come in All Sizes, and colors…camo-style, too.  Go to Amazon.com, and look under Pet Supplies. Type in:  dog backpacks.   Chewy.com also carries them, as does Baxter.com.  

      Best wishes for you and your cats.

      • 2

        I I just remembered to mention that Pet shops or Amazon.com sell large or small collapsable pet bowls for B.O.B., also!! I have two of them. 

        Good luck everyone.

    • 5

      I have a Maine Coon cat, which means she’s big and weighs about 16 pounds. We’ve taught her to ride on top of our backpacks. She’s leashed to the pack via a soft halter vest.  If it’s raining, we have pack covers and she can peek out. Alternatively, we can carry her in a Cat-in-the-bag carrier sling (below). GoTags stainless pet ID tags w/microchip info are on her halter, her go-bag duffle, and on her hard sided carrier if we’re evac-ing by car.

      I have a small go-bag duffle for her that I can hand carry or clip to the bottom of a pack with carabiners or lash to the back of a pack. It contains–

      DUFFLE (16″ x 9″ x 9″)

      Halter & leash
      Carrying sling (cat-in-the-bag: confining & comforting)
      3-days kibble in ziplock
      Filled metal water bottle (24-32 oz.)
      Food & water bowls (collapsable)
      3—pee pads
      Travel towel (can double as sleeping pad)
      Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket
      Contractor’s garbage bag (use as a rain cover, etc.)
      Petsfit foldable, waterproof, fabric litter box
      Ziplock w/… oz. clumping litter + 3 disposable gloves to remove clumps
      Poo bags and/or small bagged trowel for burying
      Comb or brush
      Cat First Aid Kit (see below)
      Flea & tick medication
      Bach Flower Remedy & Feliway spray
      Toys (incl. catnip)
      Document ziplock bag + thumb drive (see below)
      Paracord bracelet by The Friendly Swede

      DOCUMENT BAG

      Ziplock or other waterproof bag (all info also on thumb drive)
      Vet, pet sitter, neighbor info.
      Photos—front and side views
      Pre-made posters for missing pet
      Wallet photos w/pet name to show rescue workers
      Proof of vaccinations, medical records, microchip info
      Proof of ownership
      Window rescue sticker for house: “PET TYPE” / “NAME”

      CAR EVAC

      Airplane-approved carrier
      Carrier ID tag & document ziplock bag & thumb drive
      Stake-out
      Cat Go-Bag (if flying, use as ‘personal item’)
      Pee pad as top layer + extras underneath sleeping pad
      K&H Pet Products self-heating sleeping pad as bottom layer
      Small litter scoop
      Fur & disinfectant wipes

      CAT FIRST AID

      –INSIDE CAT GO-BAG
      Clotit blood clotting powder
      Cotton balls & swabs
      Gauze pads, non-stick
      2—Cotton undercast padding 3”x12”
      2—Gauze rolls 2” wide
      3M Medipore bandage tape
      Medi-First triple antibiotic packets
      Ocusoft eye wash / flush—then >
      Systane Ultra lubricating eye drops
      Tick remover
      Benadryl, 25mg
      Digital thermometer
      Dyna Lube individual packets
      Space blanket
      Nylon cat muzzle (restain when freaked)
      2—Nitrile gloves

      –INSIDE CARRIER
      Wahl trimmer, AA-battery-powered
      1—SuperBand Instant cold pack

      • 2

        The Wahl trimmer is because she’s a Maine Coon, furry, and gets knots. ONLY carried in car evacs. Otherwise I’ll just cut them out.

      • 2

        This would be an AWESOME kit on ThePrepared’s Kit Builder https://theprepared.com/kits/. I’d love to see it on there someday!

        I had a Maine Coon cat growing up. We had to shave it sometimes because it did get very long hair that would knot up if we didn’t brush it every day.

      • 2

        Done!  Wow, that was a labor of love…took forever!

      • 1

        You made a kit!? Can you share it here? I would love to see it!

        Let me know if you need any help. 

      • 4

      • 3

        I created a series of bags: go-bag, first aid bag, and auto/airline evac items. Not inexpensive, but I already owned almost everything on these lists, so it wasn’t painful 😉

      • 3

        Wow A2! This is very very impressive! Thank you so much for taking the time to make it. I am sure it will be a great guide to many others. 

      • 1

        This is awesome— now we need one for dogs! (I’ll make one if I can find the time.)

      • 2

        Actually, I’m working on one! It’s similar to the cat version, but with some very canine-specific items and concepts. 

      • 2

        Awesome! I actually got into prepping when I got my dog (suddenly, I was responsible for someone other than my own relatively agile self), so I’ve given dog preps a lot of thought. There are still some things I’m wrestling with, though, mainly with respect to food in a bug out situation, and I’m sure you’ll have thought of things I haven’t, so I’m looking forward to seeing your kit.

      • 2

        I use dog food tubes for my dog’s bug-out scenario. Sort of a doggie version of food bars! You can find them on amazon and at a lot of pet food outlets. My dog kits should be ready tomorrow or so…

      • 2

        Okay, I’m intrigued. Just did a search on Amazon and the things that came up seemed to require refrigeration, but I’ll await your list for product details. I’ve been thinking about using freeze-dried raw, since my dog eats it as a topper on his kibble anyway (so he’s used to it) and there are more size/packaging options than for regular kibble, and at least it’s lightweight. I’ve also considered ordering a tube of this stuff for the BOB in case I end up rationing his food, but I haven’t taken that leap yet.

        For now I just try to keep two extra bags of kibble around the house aside from the bag we’re feeding him out of— one 40-pound (for sheltering in place) and one 5-pound (to bug out with)— and rotate through them. I’d store another bag (85 lbs would feel better than 45) but we’re quite space-limited right now…

      • 3

        For our dog food storage, we have Vital Essentials Freeze Dried food. Our dogs have loved it both dry and wet. Super great basic ingredients. 

      • 3

        Redbarn Naturals Grain-Free Dog Food Rolls don’t have to be refrigerated until opened, which is why I usually pack a 10.5-oz. roll per day. YMMV depending on size of dog, etc.

        Freeze-dried takes water to re-hydrate and/or the dog will need more water to digest it. And dogs already drink at least one ounce per pound of weight, per day.

        As far as 5 pounds of kibble is concerned—who’s carrying it? If it’s the dog, dogs shouldn’t carry more than (max) 15% of their body weight, and they’ll still need at least 32 oz. water (for a 60-lb. dog, I’d figure closer to 60 oz.) + first aid kit + other misc.

      • 2

        @A2, I will check out Redbarn— thank you! And @Gideon, we already do Vital Essentials for training treats; I didn’t realize they made complete meals! That’s great!

        My dog can easily carry 5 lbs of weight (he’s a husky mix, so medium/large and very high energy— we give him weight to carry on hikes just so he’ll actually be tired at the end of the day); it’s the volume and packaging that poses the problem for having him carry his own food— i.e., given the need to distribute the 5-lb bag between two dog pack saddle bags in order for him to carry it. I always figured that I would just carry the 5-lb bag, myself, which would be fine for a relatively relaxed bug out. For a more serious stealthy/speedy bug out, I have some vacuum-packed long-shelf-life kibble in my BOB, but it’s not his kibble, so I really see that as a nuclear option: My dog is strong in paw and heart but weak in gut.

        This is why freeze-dried is appealing: He already eats this exact stuff every day. We also live in a wet part of the country and have multiple purification options, a lot of water without walking distance, and a lot of stored water for sheltering in place, but that’s not to say that the water factor doesn’t bother me at all. Tubes could be an ideal solution if I could find something that meets our ingredient specs such that I could feed him that same food regularly.

        I’ve been thinking for a long time that what I really need to do is start vacuum-packing his kibble myself; figuring out what that would take in terms of supplies and skills has been on my to-do list for a while. I almost started a thread a while back asking for advice on this, actually… I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m not the only person out there who obsesses over this sort of thing. 😀

      • 2

        AZ,

        I’ve looked for your Kit Builder lists for dogs and cats here several times in the last few days, but they are no longer here. Would it be possible to put them back, or give a link to where they are? Thanks!

      • 3

        I’m updating both kits because I tried to use the clone feature on the kit builder to create my dog kit and it destroyed my cat kit.

        Behind on the project due to election-watching, but almost done.

      • 2

        Thank you, I appreciate the effort you put in. I already used your links to buy several items on it, just in general, not for a BOB. We have an Aussie and two originally stray cats.

    • 2

      I practice walking thru the woods with my dog.  But if we had to bug out for any reason I dont think he would get very far being an english mastiff.  He gets tired and needs to rest.  His water needs are high.  I think my wife and I could go 5x to 10x as far as him without stopping.  Bugging out would be the last thing on my to-do list however.  In the meantime I stock up on several months worth of dog food.  Make sure he is not choosy about leftovers.  And hope to take advantage of the feral hog population in texas if the shtf.

    • 5

      This is a basic list of what I have for my dog so far. It’s definitely light on first aid supplies. she does have more pressing medication needs than the humans so that was some of the most pressing items to include.

      • 3

        Awesome kit! Thank you for taking the time to make it! I definitely want to make a kit like this with my next dog. 

        I do have a suggestion! Maybe type some care instructions and put it in your dog’s backpack as well. It can just be a one page paper folded in 4ths and put inside a ziplock baggie. And could be something like:

        “Hi! My name is Rover, if you are reading this I must have been separated from my owner. Her name is Jessica, she is a great owner! Her phone number is 888-888-8888, her email is [email protected] and she lives at 88 Main st.

        If you can’t get a hold of her, can you please watch over me for a bit? I eat 1 cup of food twice a day, and I need a pill of medicine from each of those bottles with my dinner.

        Thank you for helping me out! I promise I’ll be a good boy. WOOF!”

        I know you will watch over your dog and do your best to take care of him, but things happen, and I would feel more comfortable if someone had instructions on how to take care of my dog if we ever did get separated.

        Again, great kit!

      • 2

        That’s a really good suggestion. I was also thinking about the way we feed her her pills (usually in wet food, but for this i’m considering putting in some pill pocket treats).

        I’ve also been thinking about things like sunscreen (we live in the south and it gets very sunny), and dog first aid (clotting powder particularly but I want to ask the vet at her next appointment).

        Thank you!!

      • 2

        Also, having it all fit in a backpack that she can carry (but that also has a good handle so we can carry or clip it to our bags) is super useful. They’re pretty pricey though, we had a spare because we used to have two dogs.

      • 2

        Thanks for this list, I’ve bought several things for our pets from all of the lists posted here so far!

    • 2

      I noticed after a hike thru the woods that my doggy got a couple stickers (they are abundant in north texas) and that would slow us down quite a bit if ever we had to ‘bugout’ so I picked up some extra large dog shoes (mastiff) with rubber soles.  Will practice with these once or twice so I know he’s good to go if need be.  Probably help quite a bit in snow and ice as well.  They are Kong brand off eBay for like 30 bucks.

      • 3

        Do yourself a favor and have some kind of video recording device handy the first time you put the booties on the dog. They get used to it, but the first 5 minutes to quarter mile is usually pretty hilarious.

    • 2

      I’m still putting my stuff together, but I have chickens which will not be the easiest animals to move, but I have some crates and a pet carrier. I thought that putting them in that and tying onto a hand trolley would be a means of evacuating them if I need to go on foot. Car would be easier of course. My dog would be slow on foot. Dog diapers would be a good thing to have in a kit. Might make it easier to get accommodation if you made sure they won’t pee inside.

      • 6

        We need to get you some of these! hahaa7eb597b-e430-489f-b351-9a3c2470619e_1.6154067fd6e95c583c6cba02eac3aed3

    • 3

      I’m late coming to this discussion. I’m kind of struggling to figure out how to accommodate BOB supplies for both me and my small  dog (~20 lbs.) I am packing her preps with my own BOB, but I’m finding that it’s rather space and weight consuming, which is becoming a problem for me in general

      The items that are the most hassle are:

      1) Water for her. I carry a separate small plastic water bottle filled with water that’s separate from my own emergency water. Water is heavy!

      2) 3 day food rations — compressed kibble in a package that I bought from a pet emergency site and

      3) A rain and cold weather jacket. This may seem too froufrou for emergency gear, but it’s not about vanity. My dog is a short hair and I’m worried that we might have to hike somewhere in the winter in the rain. I live in a moderate climate, but it still gets wet and cold enough in the winter (upper 30s sometimes). But the coat is bulky and heavier than I want and I would gladly get rid of it at this point.

      Other items in the dog prep list are minimal and don’t take up much room or weight.

      • 3

        I had the same problem with my dog’s supplies— and I think I had those same compressed kibble packets, too. The food is the main source of weight in our case now, since I have those Redbarn rolls recommended above, but I have him carry most of his BOB contents in his hiking backpack, but I realize that’s probably not a great option for a smaller dog.

        FWIW, I don’t carry water for my guy, just a filter, purification tablets (for me), a Kleen Kanteen with water dog and me can share (I have a bowl for him in his BOB), and then I have a bunch of stored water at home and a Blue Can six-pack in my car. 

      • 3

        Jonnie, this is great that you are planning and trying to incorporate a small BOB for your dog. 

        I’m not sure what the compressed kibble is that you have, but is it the freeze dried kind? I’ve gotten that for my dog for it’s food storage as it has a long shelf life, can be eaten dry, or you can add a bit of water to it to hydrate it. It is super light.

        I don’t think that a rain/cold weather jacket is froufrou at all. I’ve had some short hair dogs and they have had to wear coats in the cold winter months. It is smart because that will make them more comfortable, prevent shivering which will burn calories, and dogs will eat more when they are cold to warm themselves up metabolically. So having that jacket, will also allow you to maybe go further without having to pack more food.

        Just another random idea is to make sure that the food you carry in your BOB is something a dog could eat in an emergency. If you are bugging out for a couple days, and it eats all of it’s kibble, having a human meat meal or something could be a way that you share a few pieces.

    • 4

      I have three full sized dogs.  Shy of a nuclear accident I don’t believe I would consider bugging out with them.  I imagine I’m sticking it out here for better or worse.  Just the logistics of carrying enough food and water for yourself on foot would be tough for most, especially if not used to hiking.  Carrying the extra needed for three large animals wouldn’t be feasible for most.  I have a camper and choice of vehicles to pull it in the case of a forced bug out and that would be ok, but the on foot thing just isn’t going to happen. 

      • 5

        That is good that you are thinking logically and realistically. From your username, I can tell that you really love dogs. You aren’t going to be one of those owners who ditches their dogs as soon as a disaster hits, but you also are being realistic that it is just not logical to carry food, water, and supplies for three large dogs while on foot along with your own gear.

        I’m afraid my wife would be the opposite. She would do everything in her power and maybe at her own risk to make sure that our dog is cared for. I love her and admire her compassion and care for animals, but I really hope we never have a disaster where we have to bug out, because it will be very hard. Something I need to plan and prep for, because that is going to be our reality and something we need to deal with. 

      • 5

        In one of the fiction survival book series that i’ve been reading, they give the family dog a few scraps here and there, but for the most part the dog goes off on it’s own everyday and hunts mice and squirrels. I think a dog’s natural instincts will kick in pretty quickly and if given the opportunity, they will be able to hunt for some food.

      • 3

        Two of my dogs are real dogs and would likely be able to help fend for themselves some.  The third dog is more of an in your bed spoiled pooch that doesn’t even know she is a dog.  I figure her survival rating to be at 0 at best and likely a negative rating…..  

      • 2

        That made my day! haha

      • 3

        “Real dogs” 😀

        My dog certainly looks like a “real dog” and he has a high prey drive, but every time he has actually cornered or caught something, he has been shocked into a couple of seconds of non-action which his quarry has used to escape. He also has terrible recall, which is not great for emergencies. I’ve had him for many years, but we continue to work with a trainer, and I consider that part of our “preps”.

        To your and Robert’s points that bugging out on foot with a dog is unlikely and would often be unmanageable, probably my favorite dog prep is just keeping a lot of extra kibble around. We have the large bag I’m feeding him out of, an additional large bag, a 5-lb bag, and various toppers, plus Redbarn rolls in the BOBs. The most likely emergency scenario is always going to be sheltering in place, and the second most likely is always going to be driving out of town, and I can feed and water my dog for a long time with what we have on hand in both of those circumstances. That doesn’t mean we don’t have booties and a backpack (we do, and when he gets old I’ll buy a freaking baby carriage or burly wagon to drag him around in, if I have to), it just means that I’m focusing on what’s most likely and most likely to be successful.

      • 2

        I have two metal garbage cans with 50lb bags of food in them.  Keeps mice out of them in the detached garage.  I would keep more but don’t want it to get too old and begin to mold or anything.  I agree with your thought on a wagon or whatever it took to drag them in.  Just no way I would ever abandon any of them.  Bugging in would be the most likely plan for me here too.  Luckily my dogs will eat just about anything if they think it’s people food.  I could get them to eat vegetables from the garden pretty easily.  
        I hear lots of people saying they would hunt squirrels and rabbits and such.  The problem is in a real shtf here everyone has guns and would be hunting.  The local wildlife would be wiped out in a matter of weeks.  With no wildlife management the animal populations wouldn’t recover until the event was over.  Hunting would be a short extension to keep your meat supply.

      • 2

        Re: wagons/carts, to the extent that I’ve been thinking about it (which isn’t a lot, since my dog is still in the age bracket where having too much energy is the main issue we contend with), I’ve been envisioning one of those bike trailers (usually used for kids) and wondering if there are models that are easier to tow by hand when detached.

        Thinking about kid conveyances more broadly is a useful vein… in the town where I used to live, I had a favorite state park in which I’d do a long trail run every weekend. Nine times out of ten I’d be up there in the steep stuff, totally alone except for the occasional mountain biker, and then round the bend and there would be this older woman pushing a baby carriage with treaded tires and her elderly dog inside. When I was younger and dogless, I thought, “Bless her heart, but she’s got to be a little batty.” If I saw her now, I’d ask the make and model of the stroller. 

        I once saw a picture on social media of a man who trained his pitbull to lie in a large satchel (with his legs poking out of holes in the bottom, I think?) so that he could take it on the subway in NYC. That’s tempting, but my dog’s weight is more than 40% of my body weight, so I think we’re better off with the trail pram or bike trailer approach.

        Best off, though, is the bug in plan. Wherever we go, we go together, so probably better to avoid having to go anywhere.

      • 3

        My two ‘real’ dogs live outside. They have a bedroom in the laundry room in the detached garage, but roam free all protecting the property.  They are pretty good hunters, and bring their kills up to me usually.  I’ve picked up many rabbits, a ground hog, a couple squirrels (they are fast and hard to catch) and even a baby deer once.  I didn’t tell my wife about that one as she would have a hard time forgiving the boys…. they don’t try to eat any of the prey currently, but of course are well fed now.  Mostly they are just protecting from the trespassers. I not only would cook their occasional prey but might even share it with them in a pinch!

    • 3

      I encourage my dog to catch and eat crickets and grasshoppers.  At 150 lbs. that isnt much of a help.  But I also have a collapsible fishing gear type net in my gear for catching these types of insects in a shtf type of scenario (among other things).  In the summer months I think you could do pretty well to supplement that way.  Though I would be cooking them first.

    • 3

      Is anyone familiar with this product? https://www.k9sportsack.com/products/rover

      I have an old (14 1/2years) border terrier who is big for his breed -12.5 kg. There is no way I would leave him behind, but if I had to walk he would tire out – probably at the same time as me, but he at least would have an excuse. I was looking at this mainly as it has the option of additional storage, so essentials could also be carried. Any thoughts?

      • 2

        Wow, thanks for finding this. Definitely something I would consider getting for my guy, especially as he gets older…

      • 3

        I was thinking I would get something for me to ride in and let the dogs pull it as I get older!

      • 3

        😀 😀 😀

        Get a husky. It’ll want to bug out every day.

      • 3

        Check out a dog sledding club. There are also options for warmer weather. It’s probably the best way to ensure safety for your dog.