My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned?

Dogs are natural hunters, so killing other animals is part of their instinct. If you are wondering: “my dog killed a rabbit should I be concerned?”, the answer is yes. But not because of the killing  there is something else!

Dogs make adorable pets, but we shouldn’t forget that they come from wolves, and are natural-born hunters in the wild. So, it would help if you didn’t worry about your dog killing a rabbit because it is mostly just their instinct. 

However, you must be concerned about your dog catching unwanted diseases and infections that can be transmitted to its body once he bites on the skin of the rabbit.

So, what are these diseases and how should you take care of your dog once it has killed a rabbit, and how it must not repeat it? This article explains it all. Read on! 

My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned

Is It Normal for Dogs To Kill Rabbits?

It is their natural instinct to hunt and kill.

Rabbits are quite fast runners, and on the other hand, dogs, especially when domesticated, cannot match their speed. Also, it is highly unlikely for pet dogs to attack rabbits or other small animals, let alone eat them. Small animals like rabbits do not seem like a threat to dogs, but they might seem intriguing to them. 

Even so, dogs evolved from wolves and even after thousands of years of evolution, they still carry hunting instincts somewhere in their bones. Thus, if your dog killed a rabbit, you might not have to worry about it because it is normal for them to kill.

What should I do to stop my dog from hunting bunnies?

However, if you want to stop your dog from killing any other animal, you can train them accordingly with the help of a professional dog trainer. Additionally, below are some more ideas to keep your dog in check.

  • Learn where your dog finds its prey usually and try to avoid taking it there,
  • Do your best to take their attention away from the animal if spotted by your furry friend.
  • Reward them with positive enforcements, so they know that they are doing something right by choosing not to kill the animal.
  • Ensure that your dog is leashed in case its instinct to kill other animals is unusually high.
  • Train your dog harder every day but remain gentle and compassionate towards it. 
My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned

My Dog Killed a Rabbit; Should I Be Concerned?

No, it doesn’t mean your dog misbehaved. You should be more concerned about the diseases like Rabies and Tularemia that might have been in the rabbit.

If you are concerned about the killing, talk to a vet

The first thing you need to learn about your dog killing a rabbit or any other animal is that it won’t turn into a beast. However, if you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, perhaps the best thing would be to take him to a professional dog trainer. The trainer will help your furry friend learn about many behaviors, including not attacking.

Check your dog’s rabies vaccination immediately

While you have a solution to fight the fear of your dog attacking another animal, it is 100% a point of major concern whether your dog is vaccinated up-to-date. 

It would help if you learned about it because the rabbit or animal that your dog has attacked already might have rabies, which, unfortunately, can be transmitted to your pup.  Rabbits are, in fact, highly susceptible to rabies.

For those who don’t know, rabies is a virus found and grows in the muscle tissue of certain animals, including rabbits. Another bad thing about your dog attacking a rabbit with rabies is that the virus takes months to show up in the body (three months, approximately). 

However, by the time the symptoms show up physically, the virus already spreads in the animal’s body and finally attacks the brain, which can be excruciating, especially for animals since they cannot convey their pain or feelings verbally. 

My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned

Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs

If your dog has attacked a rabbit, you should be concerned about its health and keep a check on the following symptoms – 

  • Your dog might show extreme aggression, especially if this behavior isn’t its first nature. One of the first of a dog with rabies is a 180-degree change in its behavior. 
  • The craving to eat food more than usual can also signify that your furry friend might have caught rabies.
  • It may chew on an infected wound and has an increased tendency to bite people around it, even the owners.
  • If your dog acts like it has no energy or seems tired out of nowhere, especially when its usual nature is to be active in and around the house, it is a cause of concern.
  • If your dog has rabies, it is likely to have a fever, and the temperature is usually quite high.
  • Even though it is a symptom related to many other problems and medical issues, if your dog starts vomiting out of nowhere after attacking and killing a rabbit, you must take him to the vet, for it is also a sign of rabies in its initial stages. 
  • A healthy dog is known for drooling all day, but in the case of rabies, your dog will drool excessively. To separate slobbering from excessive drooling, you can notice that the latter is more like frothing near the mouth in the case of rabies. 

Some other issues that direct rabies in dogs include hypersensitivity, hallucinations, not eating or drinking anything, disorientation, irritability, and more. 

Check for Tularemia as well.

As a pet owner, it is your utmost duty and responsibility to get your pet vaccinated to prevent rabies because, sadly, there is no cure for the disease, and it will be fatal for your furry friend. 

However, rabies isn’t the only disease that rabbits carry. 

Tularaemia, also known as rabbit fever, is another bacterial infection that can be transmitted to your dog if it is unvaccinated and bites directly on the rabbit’s skin. However, dogs are less susceptible to this disease

Some of the visible symptoms of this infection include chills, fever, muscle pain, etc. However, the good thing is that Tularaemia kills only 5% of untreated cases. Thus, if you notice any symptoms of the infection, you must immediately seek medical assistance for your dog. 

My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned

Can a Dog Eat a Rabbit’s Bones?

Bones should always be given uncooked to dogs.

The short answer to this question is yes and no – allow us to explain further. You can feed rabbit’s bones to your dog in its raw form, frozen-dried, or boiled form. However, before feeding your dog, make sure that you do not cook them, especially with spices and salts. 

If needed, you can boil them or cook them plain without adding anything else and give them to the dog. However, if we are talking about eating bones directly from the skin of the rabbit it has attacked, we think it can eat them but remember that this is how infections like rabies get transmitted to dogs. 

So, rabbit bones are safe to eat by your dog as long as you don’t cook them. The reason why cooked rabbit bones aren’t recommended for the dogs is that when they are cooked, they become extremely brittle and thus can easily splinter and damage the mouth, throat, and stomach of your dog, and it can hurt your dog the minute it starts chewing on it. 

What can happen if my dog eats cooked bones?

Some of the many problems that eating a cooked rabbit bone can cause your furry friend are blockages, choking, intestinal obstruction, gastronomical problems, wedged bones in the tooth, gums, throat, or digestive tracts, etc. 

All these problems can lead to serious issues such as diarrhea, constipation, sore throat, and irritability in your dog as well. It is important to dispose of the bones after cooking and take the trash out of the house before reaching your dog. They love the taste and smell of rabbit bones, and this is all the reason why you should give them raw and not cooked bones. 

There are certain benefits of feeding rabbit bones to your dog too. The bones contain high nutritional composition consisting of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium

Your dog can thoroughly chew the bones, which makes its teeth stronger. Another reason for giving bones to your dog is that it truly makes them happy and keeps them entertained for a good amount of time. If you can think of any other advantage of giving bones to your furry friend, let us know as well!

My Dog Killed A Rabbit Should I Be Concerned

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I need to worry if my dog killed a rabbit?

Yes, you do need to worry, not because your dog killed a rabbit, but because of how diseases like rabies will affect it if carried by the rabbit killed by your dog. 

Yes, it is possible that the parasites and infections carried by the rabbit transmit to your dog the minute he puts his teeth on it. So, yes, you should be worried and immediately seek medical assistance for your dog and the rabbit, for you can learn whether it has any infections or transmittable diseases. 

However, if your dog is vaccinated, it has a 90% chance of being immune from the infection. However, if you see early signs of rabies, you must also know that no cure for rabies has been found until today. 

What does it mean if your dog killed a rabbit?

Nothing much, it’s just a natural instinct. You can try to train it out of the dog.

If your dog has killed a rabbit, it will likely continue getting more aggressive unless you take him to a dog trainer. On the other hand, it is unusual for a domestic dog to chase a rabbit, let alone kill it. If it did, the chances are that it wasn’t intentional, and your pup considered it a game or something like that. 

However, if your dog is accustomed to eating raw meat regularly, it is possible that it did it on purpose to eat the bones and flesh of the rabbit. In any case, you shouldn’t need your pet animal to bring carcasses of other animals and thus, should do something about it – we would recommend you take your pet to good dog trainers, so they learn how not to attack other creatures.

What should I do if my dog kills a rabbit?

Immediately get him checked by a vet.
The first thing you should do is take the rabbit to the nearest medical assistance and look if there is still a way to save it. If not, you can learn about the transmittable diseases that it can pass to your dog. 

Your attention should also be on your dog, and pray that it doesn’t catch the high fever, which is often the result of rabbit fever or Tularaemia. It is also a brain-threatening disease and quite uncomfortable. It also means that the dog won’t be able to move around for a long time if rabbit fever is infected. 

If your dog isn’t vaccinated, there are chances for him to have rabies as well, whose symptoms and effects have already been discussed in this article. Thus, you must get your dog hospitalized immediately or within 24 hours of the appearance of symptoms and tell your vet about the exact condition of the dog. 

Also, if the rabies symptoms come out after a few weeks, explain to your vet about your dog killing a rabbit and what you think has changed in your furry friend’s behavior, even the subtle changes. And finally, pray that it recovers from the infection since there is still no full treatment for rabies. However, if your dog is already vaccinated against rabies, you shouldn’t have to worry. It will come home soon.

Can dogs get rabies from killing a bunny?

Yes, and unfortunately bunnies are highly susceptible to rabies.

If bitten, killed or eaten by a bunny, there is a complete chance that your dog is infected with rabies. However, you shouldn’t worry if you have already been vaccinated against the infection. 

Suppose you haven’t, and it shows rabies-related symptoms, such as excessive drooling, changed behavior, aggression, loss of appetite or eating more than usual, high fever, vomiting, etc., a few days or weeks after killing a bunny. In that case, it may have caught the infection. 

In this case, you should take medical assistance as soon as possible and discuss the entire situation with your vet, and they will guide you further about the actions you should take to take care of your furry friend. Even though there is no complete cure for this infection, you must not leave any stone unturned to get your dog healthy and happy again.

A Few Final Words

One thing is clear, your dog needs to be vaccinated all the time to avoid catching life-threatening diseases, which come as a price for killing rabbits or other animals. Once it is vaccinated, you can leave a sigh of relief for at least it is out of danger, even if it bites, kills, or eats a rabbit. 

However, you must also make sure that your furry friend doesn’t follow its instincts to kill an animal again and train it harder and better than yesterday. 

Thank you for reading this article thus far! We hope we answered all your queries about dogs killing rabbits. If there is more you wanted to know, just drop it below in the comment box!

We have written about other things that you should be careful about with your dogs such as earthworms, heartworm, and even stuff like A1 sauce, smoked turkey necks, and more! Do read up and be prepared to keep your dog safe!