Dogs are natural hunters and are often fascinated to kill small animals like rabbits, birds, etc. Dogs have an impulse to chase the rabbits and eat them whenever they get a chance.
They find the meat of the rabbit extremely tasty, and the experience of chasing them very thrilling.
But, such behavior is often concerning for the dog owners as they care about their beloved pets’ safety and health.
Is it safe for a dog to eat a rabbit?
It is not very harmful to your dog to eat a rabbit. It is just a source of protein for them, and there have been very few reported cases of diseases or toxicity caused by the consumption of rabbits.
Dogs love the taste of rabbit meat, and they can chase and eat them as soon as they get a chance.
However, the meat of a wild rabbit is not entirely safe for your dog. Pet dogs are not accustomed to having raw meat.
It contains a lot of pathogens and other toxins that might bring diseases to your dog and might even get transmitted to other members of the family. Parasites can cause a variety of ailments in your dog. These include:
There is a good chance that the rabbit your dog consumed was infected with tapeworms.
They are long, flat, and segmented worms known to be present in particular wild animals, including rabbits. The head of the tapeworm attaches itself to your dog’s intestinal wall and infects the digestive canal.
If your dog has tapeworms in its digestive tract, you will start to notice small white segments in your dog’s stool.
These particles contain a large number of eggs and often resemble grains of rice. It also causes anal irritation, which might compel the dog to scratch its butt on rough surfaces or drag its lower body on the floor or the carpet.
Severe infestation of tapeworms might cause diarrhea and vomiting and leave them weak and lethargic.
Fleas and ticks
Wild rabbits have a lot of fleas and ticks that they carry with their fluffy coat. These parasites are dangerous as they can quickly transfer from one body to another.
If your dog consumes a rabbit with fleas or ticks on its body, it might have moved to their body when they were enjoying the meat.
Fleas and ticks are known to carry several bacteria and other pests that might harm your dog.
Fleas are infamous for harboring tapeworm eggs that might get transmitted into your dog’s body. It enters the bloodstream as larvae and later wreaks havoc.
Ticks also carry bacteria called tularensis that is known to cause a disease called rabbit fever in dogs.
Fleas and ticks cause excessive irritation and loss of patches of hair from the coat. It might also cause scabs or rashes as a result of excessive scratching.
Some rabbits are infected with a bacterium called tularensis, which is contagious and can pass from the rabbit’s body into your dog.
It causes a disease commonly known as rabbit fever. Although the cases of dogs contracting the disease are rare, there is always a possibility involved.
Another risk involved with these bacteria is that it can easily be transmitted to humans. Common symptoms of the disease include a high fever, stomach pain, and discharge from eyes.
There is a possibility that your dog might contract rabies if it consumes an already infected rabbit.
The virus that is responsible for rabies usually transfers through blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids.
It is a deadly yet rare disease and includes fever, headache, excess salivation, paralysis, and mental breakdown.
If your dog is up to date with its vaccines, there is very little need to worry about contracting this disease. It can only attack dogs who have not been administered the appropriate vaccines on time.
Should you be concerned?
If your dog consumes a rabbit without your supervision, there isn’t much to worry about. If your dog has good metabolism, it is likely the rabbit’s digest easily without any stomach problem.
But, if the dog is not accustomed to raw meat, there is a possibility that it might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.
Some dogs might also develop an allergic reaction to the meat or rabbit hair. You must keep a watchful eye on the dog to notice any symptoms associated with dog allergies.
You should not worry much about your dog consuming a rabbit until you start to notice any apparent symptoms related to a particular disease.
These symptoms might appear within 24 hours or might take some more time. Signs of discomfort and decrease in the dog’s activeness and energy are evident if they have any reaction from the rabbit.
Eating a rabbit might not be harmful to the dog, but you should never encourage such behavior. There is always a hint of risk involved, as uncooked rabbit meat is not the safest protein source for them.
You need to teach the dog not to chase these fluffy animals and eat them. You need to train your dog in a way that they obey your commands.
What to do if your dog ate a rabbit?
In case your dog eats a rabbit, you must keep it under close supervision for at least 24 hours. You should monitor their health and overall energy and note down any apparent changes in their behavior.
You should also look into their appetite and examine their stool, if possible. If you doubt that your dog might have contracted a severe ailment, you can also keep track of its heart rate to be safe.
You need to consult a veterinarian if your dog eats a rabbit. If mild symptoms related to an upset stomach appear, you can call the doctor for advice.
They would recommend you appropriate medicines that you need to administer to the dog on time. You should never buy drugs without the approval of your vet, as it can lead to further complications.
It is also essential to feed them a healthy diet if they have an upset stomach. Stomach ailments only last for a few days and are curable with medicines and a proper diet.
However, if severe symptoms begin to appear in your dog, including unstoppable diarrhea and vomiting, you need to rush them to the hospital.
The doctor would have to run some tests to detect the exact ailment. They might also take stool and urine samples to determine if they have a tapeworm or other pathogens in their alimentary canal.
Once your dog’s condition is detected, the vet can recommend required medicines and suggest appropriate ways to take care of the pet for the upcoming days.
You should also look up the vaccines that had been administered to your dog. It will help you eliminate any doubt about your dog contracting rabies from the wild rabbit.
Rabbits are a common animal to prey for your dog. They love the taste of their tender meat. You should never encourage them to feed on any wild rabbit they come across while they are outdoors.
You can provide your dog with the store brought rabbit meat or kibble with bits of rabbit meat to help them overcome the urge to kill the animal and eat it.
Wild rabbits are not entirely harmful to your dog, but it sure has many risks involved.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.