My Dog Licked a Dead Rat What Should I Do?

By Kyoko •  Updated: 08/11/21 •  3 min read
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Dogs are sometimes attracted to dead things, such as dead rats. Why? No one knows for sure. It may be out of curiosity; a dog may be hungry, and more. But what happens if a dog licks a dead rat?

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Has your dog licked a dead rat? Are you worried the dead rat could make your dog sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog does something like this.

Can My Dog Be Lactose Intolerant?
Can My Dog Be Lactose Intolerant?

In this article, we’ll take a look at dead rats and whether or not they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

What are Rats?

Rats are rodents that are larger than a mouse. There are over 60 species of rat found all around the world. And they come in various sizes. There are rats that are about five inches long, while some rats can be as large as a cat!

Rats are usually nocturnal, which means they’re more active at night. They look for food, mate, and take care of their pups. A couple of rats can soon create several hundred rats! Some rats can have up to 2,000 babies each year, with up to 22 pups at a time. However, most rats have about six pups in a batch. What’s more, they tend to live in packs.

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Rats are omnivores, which means they eat protein (meat), as well as plants. They even eat grain, insects, and other animals (such as snails, small birds, and even reptiles).

When they’re alive, rats can be dangerous to dogs; however, what happens if a dog licks a dead rat?

Dead Rats & Dogs

If your dog licks a dead rat, chances are he will be OK. However, there are instances where a dead rat could make a dog sick.

Rats carry something called toxoplasma. This can cause an infection in the dog, with symptoms that include diarrhea, pneumonia, liver disease, and more. What’s more, rats may also be infected with other organisms such as parasites, bacteria, and more.

And if the dead rat was poisoned, it’s possible the dog could also ingest the poison. However, this usually doesn’t happen if your dog has just licked the outside of the rat. If the dog eats the rat, or the rat had open wounds, then it’s possible the dog could be exposed to the poison that killed the rat.

What to Do If Your Dog Licks a Dead Rat

Most of the time, your dog should be just fine. However, it’s important to monitor your dog for any symptoms that indicate he’s sick. The symptoms are too many to list here. So, if your dog has licked a recently and becomes sick, then call the vet right away. Let the vet know what’s happened and explain your dog’s symptoms. This will help the vet decide the best course of action for your dog.

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Kyoko

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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