October is upon us, and the countdown to trick-or-treating, costumes, and candy has begun. A host of horror movies will be offered to chill us to the bone, and these days it seems—from The Walking Dead to World War Z—that zombies are the scare du jour. But where are our canine companions in the brain-munching mayhem? George Romero gave us Dawn of the Dead, but where’s Dog of the Dead?
Resident Evil has been one of the few film franchises to feature zombie dogs:
The question is, how would you know if your four-legged friend, or the neighbor’s dog, contracted the Z-virus? We’re identifying the warning signs in these 13 real dogs to help you prepare for a possible pooch-pocalypse.
That Vacant Stare
You catch them staring off into empty space, nostrils flaring, no blinking. Something’s come over this canine that might just spell the end of the world, and it begins with that undead gaze.
Eyeing Your Cranium
That vacant, unblinking visage stops staring at nothing and finds a target for intense looks, even a curled lip. Those are hungry eyes, craving a different sort of dog chow: medulla oblongata flavor.
Numb to Former Cravings
You offer them familiar foods, treats, and sweets they usually can’t resist, holding out hope. Sadly, this doesn’t work, as those hollow eyes tell you nothing will satiate that zombified hunger…except the contents of your skull.
In The Walking Dead, everyone’s protective of baby Judith, but who’s looking out for this little tyke? Don’t let that adorable puppy form fool you. Those teeth and jaws may not be capable of cracking cranium yet, but that pup looks like it’s practicing for zombie prime time.
Auditioning for “Thriller”
The lolling head, the paws limp and held out in front, that awkward swaying: these are all signs of a shambling psycho straight out of a chilling Michael Jackson video. You can hear the music and Vincent Price laughing. Don’t walk through the cemetery!
Your Tongue Becomes Appetizer
If a dog’s too small to start on the main course, he’ll go for that tender tongue. This also limits your ability to cry for help while his infected friends join the feast. Whatever you do, don’t give this little guy any lip.
Do they even know what’s happened to them? It’s hard to say, as this little tyke tries to taste some toilet tissue and doesn’t find it quelling his hunger. That’s when he realizes the tissue he really wants is inside the cameraman’s cranium.
Crazy for Cabbage?
Fortunately zombie dogs drop several levels on the intelligence quotient, so you might momentarily distract them with brain-shaped offerings like cabbages. It’ll only take a few bites for them to realize their mistake, but that may be the precious seconds you need to make your escape.
At first, we’re not even sure this Chihuahua has a lower jaw, gums receded to show ferocious teeth. That zombie snarl wells up into a sudden snack attack when you get too close. They smell fresh brains, and the chase is on.
Let Me In (I Just Want a Taste)
Once they have your scent, there’s no giving up. In true zombie film fashion, you find a house, or a mall, to hole up and hide. But they start amassing outside, pressed up against the glass—moaning and snapping for what’s under your hat.
The Importance of Head Protection
Just in case a zombie dog gains access to your sanctuary, don’t leave that cranium uncovered or the rabid pooch will have easy access. A helmet, hat, or thick hoodie might be the only thing keeping your brain off the menu.
World War D
Sooner or later, of course, you have to go out for supplies. The dog-zombie hordes swarm your vehicle. Don’t get stuck, keep those windows up, and hope for the best. Good luck!
If brain-eating dogs ever became a reality, we might find out it started with this resurrected canine. This tragic tale has a happy ending, however: although 1-year old Theia was hit by a car, then struck with a hammer to put her out of her misery, this bully breed mix literally rose from her grave and was found wandering at a nearby farm. Thanks to a successful follow-up surgery funded by concerned dog lovers, Theia made an amazing recovery. Assuming, of course, she doesn’t start showing any zombie-like symptoms.
Cue the eerie music and keep watch for signs of a four-legged, brain-eating feeding frenzy. After all, it might not just be your own hide you’re protecting: if undead dogs come prowling about this Halloween, dog lovers don’t want their best friends to get infected.