Letter Re: Feeding Your Dog in Hard Times

I was feeding my dogs last night when it hit me; what am I going to do for them if I were in a situation where I could no longer acquire more dog food? I know they love scraps from our food, but I try to keep that at a minimum for various, obvious reasons to us dog owners. As for a substitute to commercially obtained kibble, what sort of foods are best used to feed man’s best friend?
I thought about this a bit, and figured jerked meats mixed with dried grains to cover the basics. As for nutrients, I thought that cooked liver from any animal used for meat would suffice. Are my thoughts going in the right direction? Please advise when convenient.
Thanks in advance, – Steve G.

JWR Replies: Yes, you are on the right track. A few brief points: Dry kibble stores longer that other dry dog food, since it is low in fat. (It is the fat in dog food that causes it to go rancid, shortening its useful shelf life.) Supplementing kibble with table scraps–such as beef trimmings and chicken skin–will compensate for the fat deficiency. Consider raising extra small livestock (such as rabbits or chickens) and setting aside some chest freezer space to provide fodder for your dogs. [The Memsahib adds: We plan to put our traps from Buckshot’s Camp to good use, in part to feed our little lap warmers. The plan is to follow the example of some Alaskans that we know and boil carcases in an outdoor cauldron.]

Store commercial dog food in newly-made galvanized steel trash cans. (If you store it in the original paper sacks you will end up feeding mice, rats, and squirrels instead of your dog.) Rotate your stored dog food consistently through use, just like your other storage food, to insure freshness.

Lastly, prepare yourself psychologically for the absolute worst case, when you might end up starving and have to euthanize your dog(s). Turning a dog loose to fend for itself is cruel and will only serve to build the inevitable packs of feral dogs in the event of a worst case collapse.