My Dog Ate A Squirrel

My Dog Ate A Squirrel

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

The vast majority of dogs that kill and eat a squirrel will be fine. Dogs are not poisoned by squirrels. Your dog may suffer from a little sickness and diarrhea at worst. There is a potent mix of fur, meat, and bones after a squirrel!

In this article you will know the answer to the query “My Dog Ate A Squirrel“.

Golden Retrievers get excited at the sight of squirrels in trees and enjoy chasing them.

My Dog Ate A Squirrel

Since she does not possess the speed of the drive to catch one she hasnot ever caught one.

I do not think she would kill it if she did catch one. Her behavior would probably be more like sniffing and licking!

There are many dogs out there who catch and kill squirrels which must upset some owners.

What should you do if your dog eats a squirrel?

The vast majority of dogs that kill and eat a squirrel will be fine.

Dogs are not poisoned by squirrels.

Your dog may suffer from a little sickness and diarrhea at worst.

There is a potent mix of fur meat and bones after a squirrel!

Heres a little more proof for you. 

This discussion about dogs eating squirrels appeared on a forum

In spite of feeding my dogs raw food they have occasionally eaten whole squirrels (including their fur) without suffering in any way.

I may have noticed some excess fluff or fur coming out of their stool a few days later but that was it.

A dog who is fed a raw diet is likely to do better than a dog who is fed a dry diet if he eats a wild squirrel.

The digestive system of dogs fed raw food is used to “process” a mixture of fur meat and bones.

The digestive system of dogs fed kibble might be shocked by a whole squirrel!

Why do dogs chase and kill squirrels?

There are many dog breeds bred to hunt and kill squirrels because it is in their DNA.

Almost all of us consider our dogs to be cherished companions regardless of what breed they are.

150 years have passed since this change took place. 

However for most of the thirty thousand years that they have been domesticated their primary role has been to work for and with humans. 

A number of breeds of dogs were bred specifically to catch rats and mice to protect the grain and other crops on farms. 

Terriers are one of the best breeds for killing rodents.

5 ways that eating a live squirrel can be dangerous

It is impossible to guarantee that a squirrel will be safe for your dog to eat.

Infections and diseases can be carried and transmitted by any animal (including humans). 

Squirrels are no different. 

I will examine the threat posed by live and dead squirrels separately.

What are some of the potential diseases that live squirrels might carry?

Four diseases that squirrels carry that may threaten your dog

Here I will describe the four most common diseases associated with live squirrels.

Compared to these four squirrels carry more diseases.

However it is important to realize that your dog is extremely unlikely to catch any of these diseases. 

Lyme disease

Grey squirrels carry Lyme disease one of the most serious diseases. 

A tick is an insect that transmits Lyme disease. 

They are carried by squirrels deer and sheep. 

Dogs and humans are both susceptible to Lyme disease which is a devastating illness for both. 

Fever lameness and swelling of the joints are some of the symptoms in dogs. Fever lameness and swelling of the joints are some of the symptoms in dogs. 

Dogs cannot get Lyme disease from eating squirrels they need to be bitten by ticks on squirrels.

What are the chances of that happening? I do not think it is likely at all. 

I do know however that approximately 12% of grey squirrels in the UK carry the disease.

There are no statistics available for the US unfortunately.


There is a bacterial infection known as leptospirosis that can affect dogs although it is rare.

The disease is transmitted to other animals by squirrel urine or by being eaten by another animal (for example a dog).

I find it quite worrying how varied the symptoms are and the severity with which this can affect dogs.

Some dogs will catch it and display no symptoms and will recover completely.

In addition other dogs will show symptoms such as increased thirst changes in urination frequency and jaundice.

It will then cause them to die. 

Tapeworm and Roundworm

US squirrels seem to be affected more severely than UK squirrels.

From eating squirrels dogs can contract a very nasty form of roundworm that they catch from raccoons. 


Coccidiosis is a parasite carried by squirrels but it seems to be a species-specific parasite.

Therefore a squirrel usually only passes coccidia to another squirrel.

Dogs (particularly puppies) are susceptible to coccidia but they do so by ingesting their mothers’ infected feces. 

Four threats that dead squirrels might pose to your dog

Your dog might not eat live squirrels on the menu instead of dead ones if he has the prey drive of a teddy bear but the scavenging instincts of…a dog.

Even when it is dead a squirrel can pose a threat to your dogs health. Perhaps I should say particularly when it is dead. 


The real danger from your dog eating a dead squirrel is that the squirrel had been poisoned. 

For several reasons squirrels are considered pests and vermin. There are also health risks associated with them as well as potential property damage.

It is also possible to target grey squirrels in the UK since they are responsible for the extinction of beautiful red squirrels.

The website of your local pest control company will tell you that one of the animals that they will help you get rid of is a squirrel. 

The poison used on a squirrel will be very toxic or even lethal to your dog.

The symptoms may not appear for a few days afterward by which time it might be too late for your dog.

Bleeding and breathing difficulties are among the symptoms. 


When I discussed the threat of eating live squirrels I mentioned tapeworms and roundworms.

Tapeworms and roundworms however can also survive for weeks and months in carcasses (such as squirrels) and their eggs can survive for similar periods of time in the ground. 


The third danger a dead squirrel poses to your dog is that the carcass might be infested with maggots.

Maggots are not toxic to dogs but they might increase the likelihood that your dog will vomit back up the carcass in disgust. 

Choking hazard

In addition my last threat could have been placed either in the live squirrel section or the dead squirrel section. 

Squirrels pose a choking hazard when eaten.

There are a number of items that are choking hazards for dogs not just squirrels.

Because squirrels are a certain size and have a certain texture dogs have a hard time eating them.

Can you explain texture to me?

I can imagine the fur and the fluffy tail.

You also have all of those bones which could pose a choking hazard in addition to the fur.

My dog ate squirrel poop- should I be worried?

You should not let your dog eat squirrel poop or drink squirrel urine.

As discussed earlier squirrel urine can transmit leptospirosis (a bacterial infection).

It is possible for any animals waste to contain parasites and this includes squirrel feces which can contain thousands of tiny worm eggs. 

My dog ate a squirrel’s tail- should I be worried?

There is very little chance that your dog will suffer any harm from ingesting a squirrels tail.

As a result it can be quite a challenge to swallow it without vomiting it up again.

If there was fecal matter on the squirrels tail then a dog could choke on it.

A parasite or two may be present in the feces. 

Is squirrel safer if you cook it?

I find this question to be very interesting. 

I mentioned at the beginning of this article that my dogs had been fed raw squirrels before squirrels that I purchased from a raw food shop. 

The cooking of certain meats kills off potentially harmful bacteria.

Lets take chicken as an example. 

Cooking kills various bacteria found in raw chicken including salmonella. 

There is no information on whether squirrel meat contains bacteria and whether it is killed when it is cooked which is not surprising.

Moreover cooking squirrels in your own kitchen comes with a certain risk.

Can the process of preparing and cooking possibly cause harmful bacteria to grow in your kitchen?

Cooking a squirrel in my kitchen is not something I would be brave enough to do.

We should not forget that whenever you cook meat for dogs you should take out as many bones as you can.

A cooked animal bone becomes brittle and easily splinters when its cooked.

Additionally splintered bones can act as daggers within a dogs body!

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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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