My Dog Ate A Rabbit Or Bunny What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 01/07/23 •  3 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate A Rabbit Or Bunny

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Our domesticated dogs are related to their wild cousins, wolves. For this reason, dogs (especially certain breeds) have a prey drive. That means a dog, including your fur baby, could see a rabbit or bunny as prey. Oh no! But what happens if your dog catches and eats a rabbit or bunny?

Has your dog eaten a rabbit or bunny? Are you worried that the rabbit or bunny could make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats things like this.

We’ve put together information about rabbits and bunnies and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What are Rabbits & Bunnies?

Rabbits (also called bunnies) are small mammals that have long ears, short tails, and legs that help them hop and run fast! There are many varieties of wild rabbits & bunnies, as well as domesticated bunnies & rabbits.

There are many breeds of rabbits, with some raised to be pets or raised for meat. They were first domesticated in Medieval times.

While rabbits and bunnies are adorable and cute, what happens if a dog eats one? Can a rabbit or bunny make a dog sick?

Rabbits/Bunnies & Dogs

When your dog is out in the backyard and suddenly spots a rabbit or bunny hopping, he may go directly into predator mode. Dogs are predators and still have the natural instincts to hunt. So, a dog’s natural response is to chase the critter.

Your dog may not really want to eat the rabbit/bunny. However, if he happens to capture the critter, he may eat the animal. This doesn’t mean your dog is a brute or bad. He’s only following his natural instincts, like his wild cousins, the wolves.

But can rabbits or bunnies make a dog sick? The answer is yes.

Rabbits and bunnies can carry certain pathogens, including:

Each of these pathogens can cause serious health issues. But we’ll focus on tularemia. Tularemia is a bacterial infection that is sometimes referred to as rabbit fever. This bacteria is commonly found in rabbits and bunnies. It resides in masses and abscesses that may appear as tumors in the rabbit’s or bunny’s liver. This disease is found in North American rabbits & bunnies.

Tularemia can be passed to a dog by:

Finally, tularemia is a zoonotic disease, which can be passed on to other animals, including humans.

Symptoms of Tularemia Infection

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has been infected with tularemia:

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Treatment of Tularemia in Dogs

The good news is that dogs infected with tularemia can be treated with antibiotics. Some dogs may need to be hospitalized for a time with supportive care.

So, if your dog likes to chase critters, it’s best to train him to leave rabbits & bunnies, and other animals alone. It’s also helpful to keep an eye on your fur baby when he’s out in the yard. Be sure he’s not after rabbits, bunnies, or other critters!

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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