Can Dogs Eat Groundhogs

Can Dogs Eat Groundhogs?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Groundhogs?“.

It can be difficult to keep our dogs from eating harmful items that are dangerous to their health and well-being when we have them at home.

Often dogs do not understand how dangerous a situation is so they may attack and consume other animals putting them at risk for serious health issues.

Can Dogs Eat Groundhogs

Dogs are at risk of getting sick and dying if you engage in these behaviors so they need to be eliminated.

Dogs attacking groundhogs is one of the most common causes.

Since many people do not realize just how dangerous and harmful these rollers are many people are unaware of the risks that their dogs may face if they attack one of them.

Because of this we will address the question of whether dogs can eat groundhogs. Lets first discuss what a groundhog is.

What is a groundhog?

In essence groundhogs are ground-dwelling squirrels. They belong to the marmot family.  In America there have been many complaints about this “giant squirrel” species. 

It is not necessary to confuse the names marmots and groundhogs since groundhogs are in many ways marmots. 

There are 14 marmot species in the United States and some of them are common around yards such as the groundhog and yellow-bellied marmot.

There are many similarities between marmots and groundhogs but they also have various differences. 

Where in the US do they live? 

Most groundhogs live in North America and the lower parts of Canada.

What kind of habitats do they like? 

Mountainous regions and low-level grasslands are suitable habitats for groundhogs.

You can find marmots in Europe for instance in the alps or the Pyrenees.

The Rocky Mountains and grasslands of the United States are home to groundhogs. 

Almost all of Canada and the United States (including Alaska) are home to this species but tundra zones the southern Rocky Mountains desert areas as well as marshy and subtropical areas of the Gulf of Mexico are absent.

Deforestation a result of which additional cool-temperate grassy plains have expanded since North Americas first European settlers reached the continent has resulted in large numbers of groundhogs. 

Despite being a very popular animal it has been found in populated areas of the United States on a regular basis.

How big do adults get?

This rodent has a typical length and weight of 40 to 65 centimeters plus 15 centimeters in the tail.

If there are abundant food sources and no predators specimens can grow to 80 cm long and weigh up to 14 kilograms. Wild animals have an average lifespan of 6 years while captivity animals live 10 years.

What are they also known as?

Many groundhogs are called “Whistle-pigs” or “Land beavers” however “Woodchuck” is the most common name.

What diseases and parasites might groundhogs carry?

Groundhogs are known to carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to dogs and people. Some of the diseases groundhogs transmit include:


As well as carrying tularemia groundhogs are hosts to insects that transmit the disease to them.

By coming into contact with an infected groundhog or its feces humans and pets can contract tularemia.

Ulcers appear on the skin where bacteria have entered the body. The nodes that surround the wound are swollen.

As a result you may experience shortness of breath coughing and chest pain over time.

Canines may be at risk of serious injury or death if this occurs.

rabies disease

Rabies is known to be transmitted by groundhogs. Pets that have been bitten by an animal should seek veterinary attention immediately and be vaccinated against rabies.

Lyme and Powassan disease

Ticks transmit these diseases to groundhogs making them carriers. It is especially vital to be vigilant since these diseases attack the human body or animal body.

What are the symptoms of the most common diseases?

A groundhogs most common diseases can be identified by the following symptoms:

Tularemia symptoms

A person or an animal exposed to tularemia for up to 21 days will usually become ill after getting it but it can happen sooner.

Lymph nodes may be swollen and painful and you may have a fever shaking chills headache and fatigue as symptoms.

symptoms of rabies

In some pets when exposed to light and noise they become restless and skittish.

A dog who is usually more reserved can go from being aloof to being attentive and affectionate at a moments notice. Another symptom is excessive salivation which makes swallowing difficult.

Lyme symptoms

Lyme disease can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tick bites commonly cause an erythema migrans rash on the skin. These rashes are solid in nature.
  • Tick bites usually cause it.
  • As it grows larger the rash develops into a solid red “bull’s eye”.
  • The symptoms generally appear within three days to a month after the tick bite.
  • It ranges from two to six inches in diameter.
  • The process usually takes three to five weeks.
  • The surface can be hot or cold when touched.
  • Pain and itching are not common symptoms.
  • It is possible to develop multiple rashes.

Powassan symptoms

Most of the time this virus does not cause any symptoms but when you do you will have fever vomiting disorientation headache and loss of coordination.

Can Dogs Eat Groundhogs? Will a groundhog attack a dog?

Groundhogs have a territorial nature. These animals construct their burrows so that they can escape any situation or predator that manages to enter but before fleeing they will attack those who try to enter.

Are groundhogs dangerous to dogs? Can a groundhog injure a dog?

A groundhogs claws which can be sharp and dangerous can easily harm dogs. In addition to their teeth groundhogs have four incisors.

Animals can bleed from these teeth which can reach a height of 1.5 mm with great force.

What do groundhog bite marks look like?

Groundhogs have 4 incisor teeth that are 1.5 millimeters in length making their bite extremely damaging.

This bite can reach the level of a deep wound meaning that the bite broke the skin causing deeper damage.

As long as you do not dig your incisors too deeply you can avoid leaving visible marks from these bites. Unfortunately if the mark is too deep it can bleed.

Why do dogs kill groundhogs?

It is often a mystery why dogs attack and kill groundhogs for no apparent reason.

Their ancestors passed down this instinct to them.

Instinctively we are driven to catch anything that moves. This is known as the “prey drive”.

An object to be chased moves signaling the dogs prey drive which causes the dog to investigate chase jump on grab drag and eventually kill the prey then carry it to a safe and eat it.

Can I train my dog not to kill groundhogs?

A dogs hunting instinct comes from their ancestors the wolves which was a survival instinct. These days dogs do not hunt for their own food so hunting instinct is unnecessary.

In dogs this prey drive is extremely difficult to remove but there are many ways to calm their anxiety. A belt is often used to calm anxiety in dogs.

You’ll notice that your dog will want to run less if you get him used to being calm at your side.

Likewise breeds differ greatly in this regard. This instinct can be suppressed through training however.

What breeds of dogs are more likely to kill groundhogs?

We will show you the breeds of dogs that are more likely to attack groundhogs instinctively based on their aggression.

1. Pitbull terrier

Pit bulls are the offspring of bulldogs and terriers and originated in the United States in the early 20th century.

Bull-baiting an activity that consists of locking a dog and a bull in a well increasing their chances of being killed was the objective. Terriers were the test dogs while bulldogs were the athletes.

2. Staffordshire bull terrier

Despite its size the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an active and energetic pet. Dogs of this breed are also medium-sized and muscular with short hair.

Despite its robustness it is also an agile and active dog so daily exercise is necessary for it.

4. Rottweiler

Guard dogs and police dogs are examples of this breed.

Due to their slender and strong body a fearsome appearance along with their serious temperament and high leadership level this breed is considered potentially dangerous by Spanish legislation.

Pit bulls are faster but rottweilers bite better. The behavior of these dogs depends largely on their treatment.

How do I stop groundhogs from coming into my garden?

You have a lot of ways to stop groundhogs from coming into your garden but here are a few of the best.

When used around small gardens and other areas fences can sometimes help to reduce groundhog damage. Despite this they can easily climb over fences as they are excellent climbers.

A 90-degree angle should be maintained between the underground portion and the garden to discourage digging.

It is often considered the best method for getting rid of them to catch groundhogs.

It is possible to bait wire mesh traps with apple slices or carrots and place them near burrow entrances (within 5 to 10 feet).

It is also common for them to be hidden with items like grass.

If you catch a groundhog you should check on it regularly in the mornings and afternoons and then move it or humanely dispose of it.

Fumigation is another common way of controlling groundhogs using poison gas.

The label contains instructions for use that must be carefully followed. Rainy cool days are best for spraying.


Many US families face a problem with groundhogs because in addition to causing damage to the foundation of their homes it can have serious health implications for their pets.

Due to the vast number of illnesses that groundhogs carry a dogs life is at risk if it attacks the groundhog or kills the groundhog.

Follow the advice for caring for and training your dog very carefully to ensure that it does not attack these animals without reason.

And you also have to protect your home very well with the different methods to prevent groundhogs pests.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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