When your dog’s out in the backyard playing, he may find a rabbit all of a sudden! When this happens, the rabbit may try to escape as fast as he can. Most dogs, even those without a strong prey drive, may give chase. This is a fun activity for most dogs! The dog may have no intention of eating the rabbit. But sometimes, the dog may catch the rabbit and eat it. But what happens if a dog eats a rabbit?
Has your dog eaten a rabbit? Are you worried the rabbit will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve gathered information about rabbits and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is a Rabbit?
Rabbits are small mammals that hang out in gardens, forests, grassland, and other areas. They have two long ears, long hind legs, and are usually colored brown (though they can also come in other colors). They hop rather than walk and can lope (hop fast) when scared.
There are wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits; however, in this article, we’re discussing wild rabbits.
What happens if a dog eats a rabbit?
Rabbits & Dogs
Rabbits are not toxic to dogs, which is great to hear! In addition, they usually won’t make a dog sick. Dogs and their wild cousins need meat protein to stay healthy and energetic.
However, wild rabbits can carry pathogens that may make a dog sick, including:
- Fleas & ticks (can also carry other diseases)
- Tularemia (rabbit fever)
So, it is possible for a dog to get sick from eating a rabbit. However, it’s not always the case that a dog will get sick.
So, if your dog has eaten a rabbit, it’s best to monitor him for any symptoms that may appear in the next week to 10 days or more. If you’re worried about this, it’s best to call the vet and let them know what’s happened. They’ll have the right advice and guidance on how to help your dog.
Symptoms of Rabbit Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten a rabbit:
- Distended abdomen
- Hair loss
- Pale gums
- Flea droppings in dog’s fur (may look like dirt)
- Enlarged lymph nodes & pain
- Eye discharge
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms of Rabies:
- Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles
- Foaming at the mouth
- Lack of coordination
- Paralysis of the hind legs
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these or other concerning symptoms, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Treatment of Rabbit Ingestion in Dogs
Treatment will depend on the vet’s diagnosis. The vet will treat all symptoms related to the diagnosis. And in some cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized for a time until he’s in stable condition.
As you can see, it’s best to keep your dog from eating rabbits. For dogs that have a strong prey drive, it may be necessary to train them to leave rabbits and other small animals alone. This is the best way to avoid potential health issues in the future!