If you died, your dog would most likely devour you. Something to think about the next time you’re cuddling with Bean Bag the chihuahua on the couch. While humans have transformed great wolves into the lowly pug, research suggests that ancient behaviors like “consuming whatever flesh is available to you” have survived to today’s dogs. Surprisingly, the start of the meal differs between domestic and wild animals.
In prior situations, such as a 2007 case study showing a canine scavenging of human remains in an indoor environment, survival instinct has undoubtedly played a part. After being locked inside a building with the remains for a month, two domestic dogs were discovered to have virtually totally digested their owner’s body. A chow and a labrador mix, as well as human bones, were discovered inside the residence of a missing individual. There were no evidence of decomposition or blood or pupal casings near the site of the human remains, which are generally associated with a decomposing body.
Apart from some ligament remaining connected to the long femur bones, the bones were virtually totally free of soft tissue, and gnaw scars and punctures typical of canine scavenging were visible. Although the discovery of animals eating people is not new, much study on the issue has been restricted to wild animals in an outdoor context, as the authors of the report explain. Animals such as coyotes and wolves, rather than domesticated pets, are the most prevalent perpetrators.
“While scavenging behavior has been seen in natural outside contexts for coyotes, wolves, hyenas, and other canines, little information is known concerning canine scavenging of human remains in an interior setting,” the research authors said. “While there are few accounts of dogs scavenging their owners in the literature, this behavior is likely relatively prevalent.”
When it comes to eating human owners, cats are frequently blamed — although, to be honest, they have been discovered to enjoy munching on the dead. They prioritize the face, focusing on softer regions like the nose and lips, in case you were curious. They’re not picky about who they know when it comes to the dead, as a body farm discovered when they discovered felines coming into the premises to dine on human remains utilized for scientific study.
However, the reputation is undeserved, since the limited data surrounding dogs and their eating of their owners suggests they like a face nibble as well. A horrific National Geographic review describes a few cases of this, including one case in which a dog ate its owner’s face 45 minutes after he died, despite the fact that there was half a bowl of food on the floor. It appears that scavenging by pets isn’t necessarily confined to times of need, as numerous dogs have been discovered eating their humans while other food sources were available. Furthermore, “good males” are no exception, so just because your dog is nearby doesn’t mean they won’t try a bite.
It’s likely that the taste and smell of blood might be a trigger for carnivorous creatures, so that flavor could be the difference between mourning and becoming a meal. An instinctual need to feed may take over when your pup protests your silence with a probing nip on the nose, and the deceased have little defenses in attempting to keep off the menu. So, it appears that the answer to the question “would my dog eat me if I die?” is very probably yes, but don’t let that put you off. It’s only natural, after all.