How To Make Survival Foods For Your Dog

big dog

A dog is a man’s best friend, or at least that’s what they say. It’s one of those popular wisdom kinds of things. If you ask me, a man’s best friend is his own conscience and set of skills, but we’re not trying to be philosophical, so let’s stick to dogs.

So, what do dogs and survival have in common? Well, dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago and they helped humanity a lot in terms of survival. In this case, by dogs I mean big ones, not Chihuahuas or cat-sized companion dogs, but the real deal, like a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler.

{adinserter bph}Dogs were used as avant la lettre alarms and early warning systems for protection (against wild animals for example or even in combat) and for herding and hunting. Naturally, in a SHTF situation, having your dog close, alive, happy and well-fed would be a great achievement.

Dogs can help with finding victims in the aftermath of a disaster, they can help you find food and water and they have an acute sense of orientation, so they can lead you home if you get lost. Dogs also keep you company, preventing loneliness and so on and so forth.

Basically, dogs are cool to have around, especially when it comes to survival situations. Okay, I am aware about a school of thought in the prepping community, a survival debate about “to dog or not to dog”.

Truth suffers if it’s over-analyzed, so  you’ll have to decide for yourself if a dog would be too much in a survival situation; if it would be another thing to take care of or vice-versa (if you ask me, I  think that the advantages of having a real dog in a SHTF situation outweigh the disadvantages).

In a SHTF scenario, you’ll be confronted with a lot of your own problems, so, what about your furry friend?

Today’s article will explore some options and scenarios involving survival foods for your dog. If you think that dog food is irrelevant in a survival situation, check this out: you can eat dog food if S really HTF. So, prepping with food for your precious companion is a double bang for your buck in terms of surviving. I bet you didn’t think of that before, did you?

Now, that we’ve established a clear premise, i.e. that you’ll still own a dog in the aftermath of the apocalypse, let’s explore a few possibilities in terms of survival dog food.

How and What to Feed Your Dog when SHTF?

The question becomes how and what to feed your dog when there’s no food at the pet-stores or in the groceries.

You have to realize that there were dogs around a long time ago, before Purina started making billions of dollars selling pet-food. Your grand-grandfather still had dogs and he fed them on a daily basis (hopefully). Therefore, so can you.

Dog nutrition is not rocket science, I mean our ancestors fed their dogs mostly with table scraps or they cooked their dog food using their own “recipes”. Back in the day, there weren’t hundreds of varieties of dog food at Wal-Mart for different types of dogs. For example, there was no special food for grumpy, lazy, fat, or thin specimens, like there are in present times.

Where am I going with this rationale, you may ask? Well, there are two possibilities for prepping with dog food for when SHTF; that’s what I am talking about.

The first option:  You can prepare for a bleak future with commercially available dog food. Stock it up to make provisions for your dogs. Dried dog food has up to ten years of shelf life, not to mention those “deluxe dog survival kits” and what not which can outlive the pyramids.

If you store the dried dog food properly, in a well-sealed container and in an optimum environment (stable temperatures, low humidity, no sunshine) I bet it will be still edible after more than a decade. The best thing about storing dried dog food is that you can eat it too, in case of emergencies. I mean, it’s better to eat dog food than to eat your dog or starve to death, isn’t it folks?

You can also prepare with specially formulated survival dog food, which is usually packed for long term storage in special Mylar bags that come in rodent-proof, water proof, stackable plastic buckets. It will cost you a few hundred dollars, but you can consider it an investment in your future (yours and your dog, that is).

The second option: Play it old school, like the founding fathers did. Making your own dog food is so simple that you’re going to ask yourself why you spent thousands of dollars until now on specially formulated, heavily processed, specially designed pet-chow instead of this.

Video first seen on Food Farmer Earth

How to Prepare a Complete Meal for Your Furry Friend

The most important thing to remember in this business is that dogs are omnivores just like us, not carnivores. That means they can be fed with virtually anything you eat. Okay, maybe except chocolate (it’s toxic for dogs because they lack an enzyme to digest it properly), coffee and cigarettes.

Dogs can be fed using all sorts of stuff beside meat. If you take a look at the listed ingredients in a dog food bag, you’ll understand the concept behind dog food. It’s a mixture of heavily processed meat (scraps, I bet) and veggies, plus synthetic vitamins and minerals. Feeding a dog with a protein-rich diet (meats mostly) will make him more aggressive and hyper active, so you must try to achieve an optimum balance of protein, carbs and fiber.

The most simple and nutritious recipe for DIYing dog food at your home is a mixture of rice (brown or white), protein (pork, chicken, game, tuna, beef or even eggs) and vegetables (peas, beans, carrots, or a mixture of these). The ingredients can be mixed roughly in thirds; I mean one part protein, one part veggies and one part rice. If you have a very active dog, you can put more rice in the mix.

The cheapest rice (also suitable for storing a long time) is available in places like Costco or other retail outlets (Amazon.com is a good idea too) and you should buy 25-50 pounds at once because it’s the most inexpensive solution.

Another reason to buy in bulk is that you can eat rice too. It’s quite nutritious, especially brown rice.  Rice and beans cooked together make for a complete protein i.e. a highly nutritious survival-food and, just like rice, dried beans can be stored for a long time and they’re dirt cheap if bough in large quantities.

The meat part is a tad more difficult; I mean if you want to store meats long term, you have two possibilities: to can them or to freeze them. The latter doesn’t have much to do with survival, as I imagine electricity would be the first thing to go when SHTF, so you’ll end up with large quantities of defrosting meat which will be inedible in a matter of hours or a couple of days.

Therefore, you’ll have to resort to canned meat, which is not as hard as it sounds. And you can make your own supplies in the process, that’s the “bang for your buck”  part I was talking about in the preamble of the article.

For my dog, I would try to can organ meats, as they’re highly nutritious and also very cheap. There’s another possibility: prepare large quantities of dog food using the aforementioned recipe, and can it for long-term storage.

Canning implies having a lot of glass-jars filled with the respective stuff (meats/prepared dog food) and using one of the two methods: boiling water bath or pressure caning. The boiling water method is the most simple and cheap, and boiling kills all the food induced illnesses and microorganisms that are abundant in most of the regular foods.

The pressure canning method requires a special device and it does basically the same thing, but using higher temperatures and pressures than the first method.

Obviously, in case of an emergency you can always feed your dog with leftovers or food scraps from your dinner; he won’t mind a bit, assuming that you actually have ingredients to make your own dinner.

If you have other ideas or methods about making or storing survival dog food, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

BYL1

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.


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Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • Freeze dried chicken at Honeyville just add water. Lasts up to 10 years and of course humans can eat it too.

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  • Excellent article for when the SHTF. Exception: dogs are not omnivores, they are in-fact carnivores; only 4% removed from a wolf. While they can consume brown rice and veggies, cooking the meat destroys any benefits from the blood that their systems require. Kill a chicken or rabbit (or three depending on the size of the animal) and toss it to them, they will do the rest. True raw feeders just throw a 1/4, 1/2 or whole carcass to the dog(s) and leave them to it.

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    • Throw chicken parts to a dog? I've been told for years that chicken bones will KILL a dog due to the bones splintering when dogs chew 'em up. I assume that rabbit bones would be just as hazardous. Is this another lie that I've been told?
      If this is true, then I guess that you'd have to run the misc. chicken, rabbit, squirrel, or other "volunteer" meats through a grinder or something before serving them to old Rover.

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      • As long as the chicken or rabbit etc. is raw the bones won't hurt them ...it is when they are cooked they become brittle.

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  • How you ever got the idea that small dogs aren't good survival buddies is beyond me.

    First, they are usually quicker to alert you than large dogs, (I have both, btw) and much easier to stuff inside your coat to keep you both warm, in colder weather.

    They don't eat nearly as much (comparing a five pound toy fox terrier to my 50 pound rottweiler) and will of course eat anything you do, or don't want.

    Small dogs are usually much more playful than large ones, and usually much easier to train.

    My TFT sleeps on my chest and will let me know if anyone, or anything gets within 50 feet of me. THAT is good early-warning, as far as I am concerned.

    My Rottie sleeps by my side, and while an interloper may be trying to find my TFT, because of all the noise he makes, my Rottie will be finding THEM!

    Semper fi!

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  • My shepherd has severe allergies, the vet has her on a dry food that is potato/sweet potato and venison- because we live in an area where most people hunt deer and told us we can always substitute the dry for boiled ground meat mixed with mash potato. For treats she gets (cooked) slices of potato or (dehydrated) sweet potato, carrots, green beans & apple slices. This is perfect as we grow these in the garden already, so we always have it on hand, fresh, frozen or canned.

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  • If you decide to make your own dog food, do not use corn or wheat. Both are used as fillers in a number of commercial mixes. Many dogs can have an allergic reaction to corn and wheat with notable skin problems.

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  • If dogs can eat and digest rice, can beans substitute for some or all of the protein, rather than having to have meat as a prime component? It works for people, but then again we are true omnivores and can eat almost anything that walks, flies, swims or grows - if it doesn't actively poison us.
    I know that a true vegetarian diet is a really bad idea for dogs, but how much meat is really needed? Yeah, yeah, just like everything else: "As much as he can get."
    Dried beans, peas, lentils, etc. will be a whole lot cheaper and easier to store than even the cheapest cut of meat. If dogs can eat potatoes (white and sweet) how about pasta? Are there other vegetable sources for protein that men and dogs use on a daily basis?
    I'm looking for some things that I can put back for long-term storage relatively cheaply and easily. Canning meat sure seems like a lot of work and is relatively fragile and expensive.

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  • The article mentions organ meats. Would throwing raw, wild animal left-over "innards" to your dogs open them up to the possibility of them getting the parasites that the "donor" animal had? Getting the blood in their diet that is claimed to be necessary seems like a good idea. Your dog getting all kinds of internal "critters" not so much. If your dog inherits parasites then he can probably pass them on to you! You want your dogs to be close, but that's a bit too much closeness!

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    • Organ meat doesn't include the intestine, gallbladder, spleen, bowels, gizzard, or crop. Those are the places in which the harmful bacteria and parasites live...Liver, heart, lungs, reproductive organs, eyes, tongue, brain and other parts people don't want to eat, are safe for your pups....

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    • Our dogs and cats hang around when we're butchering. So do the chickens. (which is really kind of creepy when we're butchering birds...)

      Anyway, they eat ALL the guts (except the gall bladders. Those are nasty), and we've had no problems at all with internal parasites.

      We chop up and freeze the "humbles" - kidney, lungs, spleens - into serving size portions, and defrost as needed. The dogs don't get the heart or liver, because we like those ourselves.

      Oh, we like the gizzards from the birds, too. Very good when cooked in tomato sauce for spaghetti! And tongue from the sheep and cow are good for taco meat.

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  • My dogs are never fed meat of any kind. They have perfect teeth, no weight problems an are totally healthy. Just give a dog 1 tablespoon of raw broccoli seeds for a 90 lb. dog, less for a smaller dog every few months and they will be worm free and never need to be wormed. And that insurers that what they eat just goes to them and nothing else.

    We feed only vegetarian that we make ourselves. Raw thick oats soaked overnight. Mix with bit of whey powder or almond flour, or fresh raw milk if you have it. Easy to have lots of oats on hand, we buy 50 lb. at a time as that is how they come. Buy some alfalfa powder good for doggie and you, Add a bit of that to the food. Nut powder can add essential oils and can be part of their protein.

    We have even mixed up this and dried it so it is handy for busy days or when on a trip or if had any other reason to need ready made food. We also buy vegetarian whimzees to use for doggie treat and to keep doggie teeth clean.

    And can add broccoli seeds to the emergency rations. I have raised 3 dogs with this diet. Two came with congenital health problems -- one a 90 lb. golden had a congenital heart condition and a raw veggie diet like this does not stress the heart as much when food is being digested. So, doggie with bad heart lived 10 years, out living his 4 years max that DVM thought he could live. Plus, the whole family (includes dog) takes some colostrum milk every morning before other food -- can buy tablets or powder -- I use the powder, sp. and doggie like the chewable cherry flavored. Easy to grab a couple of bottles for each or three. Hope that this helps. Oh can take a few gals. of our distilled water and our out in the field water filter as well.

    Doggie and owners are never ill, never get flu, etc.

    Hope this helps someone. Just remember doggies DO NOT NEED to eat meat, that is a gigantic lie.

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  • We feed warm mashed potatoes and eggs (we usually have a surplus) to our dogs, especially in winter. It gets to 45 degrees below where we live and the warm food is fed to them at night to help keep them warm (our dogs live outside 24/7). They still get their normal dry dog food as well as table scraps and leftover milk from the cow we milk. If the shtf, it would become the main diet for them.

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  • Thanks so much for this info. I've been trying to come up with a long term feeding solution for my three dogs for a while now. I was really relieved to find this article.

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  • Why not dry the fresh meat and fresh vegetables in a dehydrator? Then when you prepare the rice, just add this to the boiling rice. This works for people backpacking, why not for dogs/cats? I'm not quite sure how long dehydrated food lasts, but probably several months at least.

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  • Canning meat MUST be done in a pressure canner! Water bath is not safe for meats.
    Cheers happy preppin

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    • To follow up: water-bath canning is only good for high-acid foods, like tomato-based soups/sauces, most vegetables, just about all fruits, jams and preserves, etc. Anything non-acidic, like meat, ABSOLUTELY MUST BE PRESSURE CANNED. While I don't eat meat, I'm going to be sure to preserve plenty of it for my dog and cat!

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  • What recipe would I use if my pup has urinary issues, she is on a very expensive
    dog food now and I would love to have a cheaper long term route. She has had one surgery to remove stones already, from eating a good brand of store bought dog food..
    Mike from FL

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    • Feed her cranberries, that will clear up UTI every time.

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  • You can also jerk lean meats for long term storage. dry in the sun or near a fire to keep the temp. low.
    I never use deer fat as it has to much of a game taste to suit me, but cut into small chunks, I dehydrate the fat for dog treats, it won't last as long a FULLY dry meat but dogs need fat just like we do. A diet of lean meat and nothing else will kill you after a time.
    The Indians made pemmican with dry fruit, veggies, meat and rendered fat. I believe it will last quite a while.

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  • Chocolate, as mentioned in the above article as well as onions, apple seeds, grapes or currants should never be given to dogs as they are poisonous to them. If anyone else knows of any others it would be good to know. Thanks.

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    • Apparently garlic is poisonous to dogs, but if you can get your dog to stomach one to three cloves of raw garlic (depending on size) it can work as a natural flea repellent.

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    • My dogs never got the memo.

      Granted, they're pretty good sized pups, and they've never had a large serving of chocolate or anything like that, but they've never reacted to what they have had.

      Garlic has always worked for them. We give it to the dogs to help in flea/tick prevention, and never had them react badly.

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  • Any food with meat or vegetables MUST be pressure canned (no steam or water bath) - for dogs or cats or people. It must be pressure canned at a specific pressure based on your elevation and for a specific amount of time - NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! I am assuming that dogs or cats can die from botulism in food as well as you or your family. If botulism can be absorbed through the skin then just handling improperly canned animal food could result in the animal caretaker becoming a botulism victim. PLEASE do be concerned for your dogs in a survival situation - but do it safely for both the dog and the people.

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    • When my wife came here from Ukraine, she very quickly showed me how the average person fed their dogs. Pretty much every table scrap is saved, and cooked down. We eat a lot of chicken, and she cooks chicken bones until they become very soft, (never uncooked) then throws in bulk rice, barley, potato peels, onion skins, etc. She has two huge aluminum pots which simmer on the stove for 1 or 2 days. Our 8 German shepherds love it, a lot more than their usual hi protein dry food.

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      • Hello,
        I am very interested to hear about money saving techniques that provide a healthy alternative for us and our animals. I am a bit concerned about the onion skins you mentioned are used in your dogs food because onions are poisonous to dogs. A dog can actually die from eating them. Also the potato peels are minus any of the "eyes" aren't they? They "eyes" being the beginning of new stems. I know that leaves and stems from the potato plant are poisonous for us as they contain arsenic. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Thank you 🙂 My comment is motivated by concern for the welfare of you and your pets.

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  • The speaker mumbled about the type of powder he mixed in after cinnamon. If you're making a video speak clearly.

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  • Bakers-Man here,

    A large staple to consider for both human and animal consuption is rabbit meat. Two does and one buck can produce up to 180 pounds of meat per year. Specifically, if you use for pet consumption, here is the best bang for your buck, and 10 times healthier than dog food brands. Raise your rabbits; as you come up to butchering time, follow the same procedures and skin (remove head/feet), gut, clean, then place in a bucket with organs. Use your meat grinder and set it to the coarse setting and start grinding (bones and all - do not use the heads!). At this point, you can also grind veg or rice in with the meat. After the first grind, you'll run it through again on a fine grind then pressure cook the product (you can eather raw pack into jars or make sausages on your second grind run). Pressure cook to meet the saftey standards and store..

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    • Thanks for that Bakersman, I think that's a great tip!

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  • Just a quick note. I have tried canning my own dog food. I understand about the meat losing some of their benefits, however, it is better than watching them starve. I keep doggie vitamins on hand for if it comes to needing to use this. I looked on line and could not find anyone canning their dog food so I tried my own recipe. For anyone interested, use 4 TBS of rice (raw). Add to bottom of jar and add just enough broth to cover after lightly cooking your meat. Loosely fill your quart jar with meat and veggies (I used carrots and green beans for my first try), cover with boiling water and leave 1+ inch of head space. Process in pressure cooker for 90 minutes (according to my canning book). It looks like it turned out great. Can make this up if you have left over meat from bones from your hunting.

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  • Neat article. The canning part has been covered repeatedly (pressure can only!) and I thought I'd mention that dogs don't really care what source their meat comes from. In an honest-to-goodness emergency, they can eat all sorts of disgusting stuff... bugs, frogs, mice, snakes, fish heads. If Bear Grylls will eat it, so will your dog. Cook thoroughly.

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