If you have ever wondered, “Will my dog eat my dead body?” this guide will help you answer that. The prevalence of dogs consuming deceased owners remains largely understudied in science. Historical references abound regarding dogs consuming human bodies. However, they predominantly involve outdoor settings and do not specifically involve pet dogs consuming their owners within indoor spaces.
Do studies suggest dogs will eat your dead body?
No studies exist about tracking the frequency of pets scavenging their dead owners, as per Psychology Today. In the absence of systematic data, an effort was made to collect reports from first responders to investigate this question.
A woman from the SPCA frequently rescues pets after the death of their owners. She stated, “The dogs guarded their owner’s body even if they are normally gentle dogs. They often were quite aggressive when guarding the body, but they didn’t eat it. I believe many dogs will starve to death before eating their owner.”
In addition, a paramedic shared their findings. “From what I’ve observed, cats tend to start chewing on the body once it cools. For dogs, it seems to depend on circumstances, but generally, dogs seem to regard the corpse as if it is still their owner, and it looks like they will not readily eat them.” Continuing, they said, “But of course, I don’t know what happens if the body has been there for a long time and the dog is starving.”
A retired police officer provides further insight into the matter. During their 20 years of service, they encountered several cases of a person dying alone with only their pets present. They said that upon recent death, dogs would typically show restraint, staying near them and sometimes attempting to protect them.
However, they add that sometimes dogs have consumed part of the decaying body once the decomposition begins. They believe that the cause of this dog behavior is that with decay setting in, they are not able to identify their owner’s scent.
In the absence of conclusive data, it is safe to say that upon an owner’s death, their cat would likely consume them sooner than their dog.