Can domesticated dogs survive in the wild?
Most times, you may think you know all about some common words, things or animals, but you only know little or nothing about them. This scenario applies to most domesticated animals including dogs. This will help you bridge that gap, kindly read on.
But before we proceed further, what is a domestic dog?
A dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic mammal of the family Canidae and the order Carnivora. They are a subspecies of the grey wolf, they are related to foxes and jackals and are also characterized by an upturning tail. Dogs and cats are the most popular domestic animals in the world.
Do you rear or keep a dog as a pet? And you are considering releasing it into the wild? Or are you worried about the challenges your dog may face if you release it into the wild? Worry no more, as all you need to know about domestic dogs and their ability to survive in the wild will be discussed in this article.
Can domesticated dogs survive in the wild?
You may think that a domestic dog possesses all the requirements to survive in the wild. Another person may argue that it won’t survive in the wild.
This section will clarify that.
From research, we find out that some dogs can survive and live fine in the wild especially if they were lucky to quickly join a team of wild dogs.
If otherwise, they may get killed much easier by stronger, agile and more powerful predators. On the other hand, a pet dog, especially, breeds from the laboratory, may not survive at all in the wild; most of them were inbreed for specialized purposes, such as looking good on social media.
Furthermore, a dog’s survival in the wild will depend on many factors such as; its size, condition, sociability and prey drive.
History also recorded that some species of dogs that have either escaped from or been abandoned by humans survived. Such breeds include; Dogs of Chernobyl, Australian cattle dogs and Pyrenean mountain dogs.
Hence, your domesticated dog may or may not survive in the wild depending on its breed, size and sociability among other factors.
How long can domesticated dogs live in the wild?
For decades, dogs have been with us, they run errands for humans while we give them food. Even though most dogs are now just companions, that decades-long relationship can’t be broken easily.
Unarguably, a complete pet dog can’t survive a fatal attack from the strong and brilliant predators in the wild. As a result, it may survive less than a day or two.
Nowadays, many dogs can survive in the wild simply because they are historically linked to wild dogs, such as; the small South Asian Wolf. Yet, how long they can stay or survive in the wild is unpredictable.
The wild isn’t meant for domestic dogs. A domesticated dog may be lucky and survive for a long time in the wild or maybe unlucky and get killed in the next one or two days.
How long can a dog survive in the woods?
Research shows that most domestic dogs can survive for up to 7 days without food. Similarly, findings prove dogs may not need water till after 3 days. And in most cases, lost dogs are usually found within just 12 hours. Hence, you don’t need to panic, if you lose your pet dog in the woods.
If you intend to take a trip to the woods alongside your dog pet, you should take note of its breed and size and then compare it to those in your intended new environment. In short, lucky dogs can survive months or even years in the woods. But all won’t be lucky.
Can domestic dogs become wild?
Generally, what an animal becomes is greatly influenced by its environment. The environment is very impactful, once a domestic dog no longer gets the usual care, attention and love.
Nobody feeds it, no veterinarian cares and lives in the wild, it could be termed wild. And these stray dogs are known as Feral dogs.
So, there is a probability of a domestic dog becoming wild if the owner abandoned it in the wild, whereby it begins to struggle to survive on its own.
The struggles for survival and shelters plus the complete change in the environment begin to impact the wildness in it. And it may eventually become a Feral dog.
When compared with domesticated dogs that are fed and upkeep by humans, Feral dogs have been abandoned by humans and are living in a wild state.
Again, they don’t need to be born feral. Unless a dog keeps having consistent positive interactions with humans, it takes only about 28 days after it is abandoned to start displaying feral behaviours.
Feral dogs don’t look different from domestic dogs but they have completely different behaviours. Therefore, humans are dogs’ companions and most dogs usually enjoy companionship.
What do dogs eat in the wild?
Why would someone think of abandoning a dog in the wild? It’s unfair. However, pet or dog owners may be forced to abandon their pets due to unforeseen circumstances, which is often the case. Since their owners have abandoned them, they are now left with their faith. Lonely.
As they now live in their new home, hunger is inevitable. Therefore, they will be left with no choice but to consume all manners of junk such as;
animal or vegetable matters, road-killed animals, dead livestock, hunt for live prey or scraps from compost heaps. Most stray dogs scavenge for their lifetime.
Many scavenge until they eventually become prey to their predators.
How do stray dogs survive winter?
Seasonal or climatic change is an annual occurrence, but can stray dogs survive winter? How? This section will discuss that in detail.
Generally, some dogs were specially bred to become more tolerant to cold weather, hence, they are usually equipped with long hair and thick coats, such breeds include; huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates.
However, as a rule of thumb, no pets should be kept outside for a long time in cold weather.
Also, Puppy owners usually provide; blankets, jackets or raincoats and a soft bed for their pup during winter, this helps to keep them warm. Though some stray dogs may also get fresh clean food and water from humans, even though they aren’t their rightful owners.
And this can help them survive the winter as they will need less energy to scrounge up their dinner. Nevertheless, many others are left to survive on their own.
Luckily, dogs can keep warm in very cold weather by temporarily reducing their metabolic rate. This lowers their body temperature and reduces the difference between their body temperature and the air temperature, which helps to reduce the amount of heat lost from their body. Hence, their survival.
How cold is too cold for stray dogs?
Since stray dogs are usually the same breeds as domesticated dogs, hence, temperature below 35 degrees Fahrenheit is considered too low for dogs.
However, the exact temperature that will be considered too cold for a particular stray dog, depends on its breed.
We’ve explained all that will most likely happen if a domestic dog is released into the wild. However, we recommend you shouldn’t think of abandoning your dog in the wild for any reason. Take care of your pet and let it remain your companion.