How Your Dog Fits Into Surviving Off the Grid

Making survival plans for yourself requires extensive preparation, but plans get even more complicated when you have to account for others. If you have a four-legged companion, or are thinking of getting one, you need to consider how they will fit into your doomsday prep.


In a survival situation, dogs are great not only for company, but as helpers as well. For example, their agility and sharpened senses can help you hunt, and their loyalty love for you can be a source of protection. In the event of an apocalypse, dogs can be a wonderful asset.

Surviving With Your Dog

Though dogs are highly resilient and versatile animals — likely more than humans — domesticity has fostered a dependency to humans in dogs. While they will easily adjust to a new living situation, it is still up to you to provide them with the best care possible for them in an event of an emergency.


To prepare, you should assemble a bug out bag for your dog and put it next to yours. Don’t forget to include bowls for food and water, extra leashes, extra collars, dry food, water, towels, and blankets. You should also put together a first aid kit for dogs, as their medical needs vary from ours.


Dogs are smaller than humans and they don’t complain as much as we do. For those reasons, they are fairly adaptable to new living situations, but they still have certain needs that need to be met. For example, in terms of living arrangements, they can survive in just about any shelter, be it an RV, a tent, a car, or a handbuilt shelter.


Just remember, if you live in a small space like a car or RV, dogs will need regular exercise. Experts recommend the following when living in tight quarters:


“Make sure that your pet gets plenty of play time outside. They want to check out the new area as well. When we arrive at a new location our dogs can’t wait to get to sniffing and explore. Pets need their exercise, and to let out all that energy they have bottled up from that road trip.  One of our dogs has some anxiety issues, and exploring the area really helps her calm down and get familiar with the area.”

Hunting Dogs

There is no limit to the benefits dogs provide in our lives. Their basic companionship is enough of a positive influence in our lives, but they can also be very useful in survival situations — especially for hunting. From tracking prey to retrieving kills, having a hunting dog with you in a survival scenario could help you out, and even save your life.


Many dogs are great for hunting, but some breeds are especially optimized for particular game. Here are some dogs that are great for hunting:


  • Duck hunting: Black Labs
  • Pheasant hunting: English Springer Spaniel
  • Grouse hunting: English Setter
  • Sea Duck Hunting: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Quail hunting: English Pointer
  • Rabbit hunting: Beagle
  • Deer hunting: American Foxhound
  • Turkey Hunting: Appalachian Turkey Dogs
  • Hog Hunting: Dogo Argentino
  • Bear Hunting: Plott Hound
  • Mountain Lion Hunting: Bluetick Coonhound

Protective Dogs

Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, and they have give us their loyalty to prove it. Though most dogs are friendly to everyone, some dogs are particularly loyal to their humans. Many dogs take it even a step further and have protective instincts that can come in handy when in survival mode.


They can alert you when strangers are near and they can be ready to attack if someone is trying to harm you. Protective dogs are a great asset to have when you don’t know who to trust and you need to be constantly on the lookout for threats to your safety.


Here is a list of some dogs that are especially protective of their owners:


  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Sharpei
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Swiss Mountain Dog

Active Dogs


Most dogs, with the exception of couch potatoes, will require some level of active maintenance. However, a survival lifestyle may require that dogs walk or run a long distance on a regular basis. Lap dogs that lounge around for most of the day may not adjust well to this lifestyle and can struggle or even face negative health consequences from physical strain.


Here are some active dog breeds that are great for runners, have the most stamina, and enjoy being active outdoors:


  • Australian Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Weimaraner
  • Standard Poodle
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Border Collie


Don’t worry if your dog isn’t on one of these lists. Most dogs are resilient and every dog offers their own specialty set of skills. You know your dog better than anyone else, so keep in mind your dog’s personality traits when preparing for a bug out scenario. Keep in mind stamina, size, age, and health.


If you don’t have a dog but you’re thinking of getting one, you should consider a dog on one of these lists. You can incorporate training your dog into your survival prep, like going on a hunting trip, camping trip, or RV trip with them to introduce them to possible scenarios. Think about what kind of survival plans you have, and choose a breed that will not only work for your current lifestyle, but one that would work if you were in a survival situation.

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About the author : Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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