My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried?

One of our regulars asked us: “my dog killed a groundhog should I be worried?” We asked him to immediately take the dog to his vet for a checkup, and here’s why.

Having a pet in the house will make your life full of joy and happiness. Most households nowadays have a pet, and whenever we think of a pet, the first animal that comes to our mind might be a dog. When you bring a dog into your house, you have to be more responsible from that moment. 

My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried

For the first few weeks, you have to monitor every single movement of your dog. If you have a backyard and rodents like groundhogs move in and around it, then there is a high chance that your dog can attack it, and this can also happen when you take your dog out for a walk. And yes, you should be worried if your dog has killed a groundhog. 

In this article, we will discuss what can happen and what you should do if your dog killed a groundhog.. 

Can a Groundhog Hurt a Dog?

Yes, even though they are herbivores, they have very sharp teeth.

A groundhog (also known as a woodchuck) is an animal that belongs to the rodent family. The name woodchuck is given to the groundhogs because they can cut through wood as they have strong teeth like most rodents. 

They almost look like squirrels but are bigger in comparison to a squirrel. They are herbivorous animals and usually eat grass, leaves, and selective fruits. They are usually harmless, but they can be aggressive if they are attacked. 

Groundhogs are smaller in size compared to dogs. As they are rodents, groundhogs possess large incisors to bite through hard surfaces in front of the mouth. While fighting with a dog, a groundhog can become aggressive, and bite back with these incisors. 

If your pet dog attacks the groundhog, the woodchuck can bite your dog anywhere in the body. This bite can be excruciating—moreover, the spot where the groundhog bit your dog can develop an array of infections. 

My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried

My Dog Killed a Groundhog Should I Be Worried?

Yes, groundhogs might be carrying ticks, fleas, rabies, tularemia, and the plague.

The answer is that you should be worried if your dog killed a groundhog. These rodents carry diseases, and the diseases are mentioned below.

Ticks and Fleas

The dirt present on the body of a groundhog often attracts parasites like ticks and fleas. While fighting with the groundhog, these parasites can jump onto the dog’s body. Any of the ticks and fleas can lead to an itching sensation in your dog’s body, and along with that, rashes and infections can also develop in the body of your pet.


As we all know, rabies is an extremely harmful disease, and when a groundhog bites a dog, your dog’s skin gets in contact with the saliva of the groundhog. Moreover, if a groundhog bites your dog, this fatal disease can also be transmitted from the groundhog’s body as these rodents are known as the carriers of rabies.


Tularemia is a contagious disease known to be a bacterial infection. This can occur in both humans and animals. The pathogen can infect groundhogs, and then when a dog comes in contact with an affected groundhog, your pet will also get affected by the bacteria causing the disease. Symptoms of this disease are lack of energy, headache, fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a few others. 


As mentioned earlier, groundhogs carry the plague bacteria Yersinia pestis. If your dog killed an infected groundhog, it is very much possible that the infection passed on to your dog.

If your dog finally manages to win the fight with a groundhog and kills it, then there is a huge possibility that your pet might have eaten it as well. Once your pet calms down, take your pet far away from the dead groundhog. 

You can avoid any kind of infection if your dog is properly vaccinated. If that is not the case, take your dog immediately to a veterinary clinic for vaccination and all the necessary treatments your dog needs after the fight. You can also treat your dog’s wounds at home by rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. 

My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Bit by Groundhog?

Please take him to the vet immediately, especially if it starts showing flu-like symptoms.

Groundhog bites can prove to be fatal for your pet as they are equally dangerous for animals as they are for humans. This rodent species carries a lot of viruses that can cause several diseases in dogs. 

Initially, your dog might develop flu-like symptoms. These symptoms will soon develop into something more serious, and your pet will start to hallucinate, and they can also experience insomnia and delirium. 

Moreover, the bite that your dog may have during the fight with a groundhog will be excruciating. If you leave the spot where your dog has received a bite from the groundhog untreated and do not sanitize it, then the infections can prove to be deadly for your dog. 

How to Get Rid of Groundhogs?

No one wants a groundhog around their house. The following are some of the ways in which you can keep all the groundhogs away from your home as well as your dogs.

  • Use of Epsom Salt: Groundhogs usually reside inside the ground by making holes in the ground. Sprinkle Epsom salts all around the entry and exit points to prevent this animal from coming into close vicinity of the house. 
  • Pouring Castor Oil: Another way to keep the groundhogs away from your pet is to destroy the places where these animals live. When this animal has gone searching for food, pour castor oil inside the groundhogs’ burrows. 
  • Traps for Catching: Catching traps are available in the market by using which you can catch the groundhog that is bothering you. You can use carrots, sweetcorn, and other food items that a groundhog eats as baits.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for a dog to kill a groundhog?

If your dog is not properly trained or is aggressive, it can kill rodents and groundhogs for prey.

There are different breeds of dogs that you can have in your home as a pet. Some of the breeds are small, whereas some others are quite large. Dogs have not always been domesticated animals. Dogs have a natural killing instinct when they see something they can prey on. Groundhogs fall in the category of prey. 

Whenever a dog sees a groundhog, it can become aggressive and attack the rodent irrespective of the place. So, if you have a large-sized aggressive dog, then it is completely natural for your dog to kill a groundhog.

What should you do if your dog attacks a groundhog?

Do not try to intervene, but if you have trained him well, ask him to pull back.

Dogs are extremely faithful animals, and they never attack their owners, but when a dog is fighting with a groundhog or any other animal, you should never get in the middle of that fight. Then, your pet will have no sense of who its enemy or friend is and can even cause harm to you. 

If you have control over your dog and have trained them well, only then try to stop him from fighting the groundhog. If not, just let your dog do what it wants to do. Once the fight is over, do a health inspection of your dog and if you notice something unusual, take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic.

What diseases can a dog get from a groundhog?

A groundhog can cause rabies, tularemia, and even the plague.

Groundhogs mostly live in filthy places and, because of that, carry a lot of microbes with them. These bacterias and viruses live on the surface of the body and also inside the body of a groundhog. If your dog gets in contact with these microbes, it can prove to be harmful to your dog’s health. 

In most cases, groundhogs carry parasites such as fleas and ticks, transmitting to the dog’s body during the attack. A groundhog can cause rabies, tularemia, and even the plague.

Can my dog get rabies from a groundhog?

Yes, it is possible to get rabies from a groundhog, if it bit your dog.

Rabies can prove to be harmful to all mammals. This disease is spread through the saliva of an animal. It can be a bite, and there are also several other means by which this disease can spread. The chances of a groundhog causing rabies in a dog’s body are rare, but the chances are not null. 

Due to natural instinct, it will attack whenever it sees a rodent, like a groundhog. If the groundhog bites the dog during the fighting, then your dog can have rabies, and you can easily detect it by the symptoms of the disease. If your dog has been vaccinated with the rabies vaccine, then your dog will not have any problem even if a groundhog bites it.

Final Words

As we have reached the end of this article, we hope that now you know what to do if your dog kills a groundhog. It is ideal for taking your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic as you might be harmed while attacking the groundhog. 

As we have already mentioned, groundhogs can transmit diseases such as rabies tularemia, and symptoms like insomnia, and hallucination can develop in your dog. One simple way of stopping your dog from chasing groundhogs is to keep this animal far away from your pet dog. 

Thank you for reading our article. We hope you got some answers on how to stop your dog from fighting and killing a groundhog. You can read about other animals that you need to be wary of with a dog in the house, such as My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned?. Sometimes, your dog can be the problem too: Why Do Dogs Kill Kittens?