Feral Dog Dangers

Posted | By:  

Something we've discussed many times is how food is going to be a priority after the SHTF. Sure, you are prepared with a stockpile that will last for quite some time and beyond that you have plans to grow your own food. This is excellent, but that does not mean you are out of the woods by any means. Even though you have food to eat, the next guy may not. That makes him a threat that you may sooner or later have to handle and he's not the only threat you may face.

The fact of the matter is it is not just the creepy guy down the block that is going to be hungry once the SHTF. Let's think for a minute not about man but instead about man's best friend, only not the average pooch but those who instead roam the streets wild and free. The city of New Orleans, for instance, has been dotted with what are now considered wild dogs in a post Hurricane Katrina landscape. Then there is Detroit, where thousands of feral dogs are said to roam about in abandoned buildings. We are talking about packs of dogs breeding indiscriminately with no human to call their own and therefore no one to train them and make them into trustworthy canine citizens.

Where there is a pack of dogs, there is pack mentality. This is essentially a pecking order type system that balances dominance and submission amongst dogs but does cross over into interactions between humans and dogs. A dominant dog may challenge you if he feels his pack or den are threatened. He also will probably challenge you over of food. Hunger is a powerful motivator, after all. Keep in mind, too, that dogs have an excellent sense of smell, so if you are preparing food out in the open, it is very possible that you may have some uninvited feral canine guests for dinner. Then the questions becomes one of how are you going to fend off wild dogs not just to eat that meal but to continue to survive?

Feral Dog Dangers - GPS1504 - index1-873.jpg
Photo: GSanders

The typical family dog is very unlikely to bite unprovoked, but a feral dog is a whole different ball game. A wild dog could bite out of aggression or even fear, leaving you with a nasty bite wound which is going to be difficult to care for after TEOTWAWKI. You could need stitches, infection may set in due to bacteria in the dog's mouth, and it may even be possible that the dog that bit you had rabies. These dogs aren't vaccinated after all, and who knows where they've been or to what they've been exposed.

So what do you do if you get bit by a dog of unknown history or origin? Medical intervention is preferred, of course, but may not be available. Depending on the location of the bite, caring for it may prove difficult and seeking help from at least a friend may be necessary. First and foremost bleeding will need to be stopped via the application of pressure. Once that is done, the wound will need to be closely examined to assess the amount of damage done. If tissue is severely damaged, debridement may be necessary. Any jagged pieces of torn flesh will need to be trimmed up and any foreign materials removed. It will also need to be cleaned and rinsed with a sterile solution. It then needs to be determined whether or not stitching is necessary. Puncture wounds, for example, are generally fine to leave open, but rips and tears may need to be sutured closed. This is dependent upon factors such as the location and severity of the bite as well as the ability to treat it. Keep in mind that when it comes to dog bites, most of the damage is going to be below the skin. This means your bite is going to look a lot worse in the days after it occurred.

As an owner and lover of dogs, it may be hard to imagine the reality that one day you may have to go toe to toe with a pack of dogs that want to do serious harm to you, but it is important to realize the possibility exists and to arm yourself accordingly. According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats cycle through animal shelters every year. Imagine a world where the SHTF and those floodgates are suddenly opened, releasing those animals into the world to fend for themselves, competing with you for food. Not all of those dogs are going to be cute and cuddly and as they roam and breed will become even less so. And what about that 3.4 million cats? If you think a cat won't bite you, you are sadly mistaken.

Various dog bite statistics are available to let you know where you stand in the canine world. For example, Americans have a 1 in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog annually. There were 42 fatal dog bites in 2014. Also in 2014, loose dogs inflicted 40% of attacks, a number that has risen from past years. Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites. 900,000 people seek emergency treatment for dog bites each year but far more are bitten, to the tune of about 4.2 million or more. In the end, the only way to truly handle a dog bite is not to get one. So remember, when the TEOTWAWKI arrives and you are face to face with the likes of Cujo, stay calm, avoid eye contact, do not advance, and follow the rest of these suggestions to get out safely.

Have you ever been bitten by a dog and in what type of circumstances? Have you ever been able to successfully diffuse a situation with an aggressive dog? Tell us how in the comments.

Posted in
  Email   Print
November 30, 2015  •  01:39 PM
Besides the fact that the dogs might be or will likely be aggressive there is also the fact that dogs will eat most of the same stuff as you. All livestock will suffer from loose dogs. Also most all wild game. Dogs will even eat many wild and tame produce.
Cats will also be a big problem. No they don't eat just mice. A study done many years ago by the state of Ohio found the preferred food for 'feral' cats was pheasant. Pheasant happens to be a preferred food for me also. Cats will kill rabbits, quail, squirrels, doves, and many other birds/animals that would make a good supper for you or I.
If it is ever TEOTWAWKI I would suggest disposing of every dog or cat that you see using every means at your disposal.
February 20, 2016  •  05:43 PM
It is common in many cultures that cats and dogs are prepared and eaten. Many people here in USA are eating cats and dogs within the USA.
June 4, 2016  •  12:59 AM
Oh no, my little pit bull wouldn't do that! HA! I see this as a real problem. Lots of bullets!
June 17, 2016  •  12:04 PM
We really have to be vigilent about these feral dogs. Why, in Mexico, thousands of Chihuahuas run in packs and eat anything they can find. This is the reason there are no more bison in Mexico. The start at the hooves and you see the victim getting shorter and shorter until they fall over. The Chihuahua translates as "land piranha".
July 22, 2016  •  08:18 PM
So I figure this threat boils down to Reactionary and Proactive measures.

As for immediate action, I've often heard the advice "take out the Alpha and the rest will scatter."
I'd love to trade TTPs with people who can pull that off in real life. If you have that level of instant situational awareness, you probably have air assets. Which pretty much leaves regular old me with 2 options, as I see it: Buckshot from several sources, or Dogs of my own. Maybe Bear spray.
What am I missing?

Secondly, what would the experts recommended for defensive preparations against a credible threat of dog pack attack? Dig Tiger pits? Build towers? (What? Too zombie? I was kinda hoping they might be able to serve dual purposes.)
Thanks in advance.
September 1, 2016  •  09:36 PM
@Griff My neutered Golden Retriever was attacked by a pack of five dogs in my back yard a number of years ago. I'd seen them appropriately an hour earlier across the road from the front of the house and ran them off. As I was able to observe them previously, I was able to determine a Rottweiler was the alpha in the pack, with a German Shepherd being the Beta, with another Shepherd, a bird dog and beagle the rest. They returned while I was back in the house, but I heard the attack and ran out to defend my animal. I took down the Rottweiler first, then a Shepherd, probably the beta I had observed later.The rest decided they had urgent business elsewhere, and I never saw them again. I suspect they were pack "wannabes", and went back home. None of them had collars, so I don't know if they had owners or not, but when they attacked my dog in his own back yard, it wouldn't have mattered. Just for the record , 308 150gr softpoints work well. The Rottweiler went down like the ground had been jerked from under him with a chest shot. The three survivors did scatter and run when alpha and beta went down. Don't know if the five were truly feral, as they didn't take off at high speed when I confronted them earlier. They stopped, scratched, sniffed, and urinated, but seemed to be trying to decide if they could take me, or not. I suspect they weren't,as any truly feral dogs I have seen definitely avoid humans. No one ever posted any lost dog want ads, so if they belonged to someone, they apparently didn't care much for them.Fortunately, my dog was unharmed. I was lucky in that I had opportunity to observe them earlier and decide who was who. Lacking that interaction, I would have selected which ever animal presented the greatest threat at the time, and worked down from there.Factors would include proximity, size, aggressiveness and breed characteristics (I.e. pit bull, bull mastiff, Rottweiler, etc.) The fact that dogs are in packs exponentially increases their danger. Two dogs will get in four times more trouble than one, three, nine times now trouble, etc. And they will attack together, not singly, if they truly are a pack.
November 14, 2016  •  05:46 PM
When I was younger we had sheep on our farm. There was the occasional dog come snooping around but nothing serious. One day, when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I came home from school and was told a pack of dogs had killed 41 of the 45 sheep. Fortunately the lambs were in a different area and only 4 of the 19 were killed.

Area farmers got together and hunted down most of the pack. The next door neighbor was charged by a large shepherd while checking out a sighting at another farm. The dog lost.

This is an account an incident in my yard a few years ago involving a pit bull. Living out in the sticks of northern Indiana we get the occasional stray animal (I suspect most are dropped off). One afternoon I was outside and I saw a dog I didn't recognize coming out of a field and head in the direction of the house so I went inside and grabbed a 9mm and stuck it in my back pocket and went back out to yell at the dog to "get outta here". Most times that's all it takes to send a stray on its way. Not so this time. The pit didn't see me till I yelled. It came toward me at a run with its head down and emitting a low growl. I immediately went for the Smith 469 but before it cleared my pocket the dog had gotten to within about 10 feet from me and had circled around behind me. I faced him as he circled and fired as I raised the handgun hitting him in the chest at about 4 feet away. He bit at the hole in his chest and before he could turn back toward me he had a hole in his head.

Packs of dogs are sometimes a problem around here. Not sure why. Maybe some folks think their unwanted dog will live a happy life on a farm somewhere and all they have to do is drop it off on a back road out in the country.

I have since lost my that sweet compact 9mm to a little pi$$-ant neighbor kid who only did 18 months for stealing the 9 and a .357 as well as breaking into several other places. (can you tell it still irks me to think about it?)
February 26, 2017  •  06:36 PM
@bucky623 My wife and the renter's kids were being menaced by a snarling pit bull fifteen feet from our house. It appeared ready to attack, so I yelled at it to divert it's attention. The dog turned full face to me and growled some more. I replied with a 40 S&W 180 JHP Gold Dot dead center chest. The pit yipped,shuttered slightly and remained upright.My shot seemed to have little effect.The second shot took him a couple of inches to my right. This time he began having .40" diameter arterial bleeding from the chest. After about five squirts he became a good pit bull. Could have taken a head shot, but in case he was rabid, I didn't want infected brains in the yard. We'd never seen the dog before, and there was no collar or chip. No scars or other indication he'd been fought or mistreated, and we don't live in a neighborhood where animals like this are common. I have no clue what set him off.And, once again, no one posted any ads or came looking for their dog. Lucky you were able to stop it with a 9mm.
February 26, 2017  •  06:54 PM
@cranky1My deputy cousin told me of a pit bull that went rogue and bit some kids. It absorbed multiple 40 S&W rounds and two 12 gauge rifled slugs before it went down. I would note bullet placement on all hits was not optimal, and the animal was already aggitated when shot. Guess the moral of the story is use enough gun, and shot placement is very important. BTW, the pit was not rabid, just psychotic.
February 26, 2017  •  08:50 PM
@cranky1My deputy cousin told me of a pit bull that went rogue and bit some kids. It absorbed multiple 40 S&W rounds and two 12 gauge rifled slugs before it went down. I would note bullet placement on all hits was not optimal, and the animal was already aggitated when shot. Guess the moral of the story is use enough gun, and shot placement is very important. BTW, the pit was not rabid, just psychotic.