Why My Dog Ate Dead Rabbit?

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Why My Dog Ate Dead Rabbit?“.

You can only wait and see if your dog ate a dead rabbit if you discover it ate one.

Even if your pet ate a dead rabbit crawling with maggots its not a medical emergency.

Although there are a few kinds of parasites your dog might be infected with the chances of him contracting a serious disease are slim.

Go to a vet and get him treated if he has gastrointestinal symptoms which might indicate he has worms.

You should also ensure that your dog wears a flea collar if rabbits are present in your area and your dog may come into contact with them alive or dead.

Furthermore catching your dog eating rabbit poop can be pretty disgusting but those yucky pellets are actually helpful for your pets digestive system as we’ll discuss later.

Why might a dead rabbit be a threat to a dog?

It is only natural for a dog to eat a dead rabbit or any other small animal for that matter.

Although we treat them like cute house pets dogs are predators at heart even if we no longer see the wolf in them.

The dog found the rabbit dead so its not much of a feat but still the rotting carcass can be quite appealing to your quiet house-trained pet.

Theres nothing revolting about the smell; its just something humans do.

The following are a few of the health problems your dog might get after eating a dead rabbit. 


Heres the grossest image of all – your adorable dog devouring a dead rabbit crawling with maggots. You’d be ill if your dog ingested it but fortunately they would not be sick.

Dogs are not harmed by maggots and they’re an excellent source of protein.

Maggots are fly larvae and they are busy obtaining nutrients from dead rabbits.

Your dog might be able to catch some parasites from the dead rabbit but it will still get them once it begins eating the rabbit anyway.

It is possible however for your dog to get indigestion if he eats too many maggots.

Maggots that feed off of another animal are not a problem but if they feed on your dog you should be concerned.

During the warm season when flies are abundant an open wound can become infested with maggots. However that has nothing to do with the dead rabbit.


The disease is caused by the poxvirus and kills 99% of the rabbits that contract it.

North and South American rabbit populations are susceptible to this virus.

It was deliberately introduced in some parts of the world to control rabbit populations.

It is possible that the rabbit your dog ate had myxomatosis since it almost always kills the rabbit. The virus does not affect dogs or humans so there is no need to be concerned.


Animal bites are the most common way Rabies is transmitted but your dog might get infected while eating a dead animal.

Dogs may also contract rabies by eating rabbit pellets contaminated with rabies.

However this is extremely rare and if your pet has received his rabies shots you should not worry.


In addition to flea larvae tapeworms can be transmitted to dogs by eating dead animals carrying the parasite.

A tapeworm is a flat segmented intestinal parasite that attaches to the lining of the small intestine.

It is certainly something you do not want to see crawling out of the rear end of your pet when it is an adult tapeworm. They can grow up to 11 in (30 cm) in length.

You can also find tapeworm segments or eggs in the feces of your dog.


Tularemia or rabbit fever is a luckily rare disease. The disease is caused by Francisella tularensis a bacteria that produces toxins in the animals’ blood once they become infected.

This bacteria can be transmitted to dogs by eating dead rabbits contaminated water or flea and tick bites.

The disease is only mild in healthy dogs but is very dangerous for older or immunocompromised pets.

Fleas and ticks

When summer comes most rabbits will get fleas or ticks and if the dead animal had them they’ll happily hop into the fur of a living host like your dog.

The reason you want to prevent this is not only because fleas and ticks can be so miserable for your dog but also because they can transmit various diseases.


Yes we are talking about the bubonic plague the terrible disease that killed half of Europe during the 14th century.

Rabbit fleas can carry Yersinia pestis the bacteria that causes this disease. Fortunately it is a very rare condition nowadays.

In the United States there are fewer than 15 cases per year. As long as there havenot been any recent outbreaks in your area you need not worry about your dog getting the plague.

What are the symptoms of a dog that has eaten a dead diseased rabbit?

Since there is relatively little risk for your dog to get a disease from the dead rabbit it is tapeworms that might be of concern.

The following are the most common symptoms of tapeworms in pets:

  • Itchy skin around the anus can be relieved by scooting on rough surfaces
  • Weight loss as the worms consume vital nutrients
  • Vomiting
  • In addition to relieving itching he licks his lips
  • Eggs or white flatworms in the stool

A dog can be dewormed with an intestinal parasite-fighting dewormer prescribed by your vet. Tapeworms are not a major health threat.

The following symptoms are associated with tularemia:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Lymph nodes are swollen from dehydration
  • There are white patches on the tongue
  • High fever
  • Enlarged liver and jaundice

A course of antibiotics can easily cure any of these symptoms of a serious illness.

What diseases do live rabbits carry that might harm a dog?

Live rabbits are capable of carrying all the diseases listed above. As a dog can live with tapeworms in its intestines so can a rabbit.

Especially if your dog just had a wonderful day and hunted down a rabbit its likely the animal was infected with worms fleas ticks or some bacterial infection.

If you notice any of the symptoms above take your pet to the vet.

Why might eating a dead rabbit be a choking hazard for a dog?

Theres a high likelihood that your dog will choke on a dead rabbit but its not impossible. The raw bones would not cause a problem for a healthy dog.

A bit of skin with or without hairs should not pose a choking hazard to your dog. Your dog might have a problem eating too much fur which can cause bowel obstructions.

Your dog should chew its food instead of gulping it down unless he is accustomed to gulping it down rather than chewing it.

If rabbit fur gets stuck in the dogs throat he will cough and make gagging sounds to let you know.

To help the fur move to the stomach try feeding your dog soft food like bread or banana slices if you cannot reach in and get it out.

Why might eating a dead mouse or rat be much more dangerous for a dog?

Its more serious to catch your dog eating a dead rat or mouse than a dead rabbit.

Rodents that are dead are much more likely to have been poisoned. When there is a rodent problem on a property people will do their best to poison the area with poisoned treats.

Rodenticides are dangerous for dogs and can cause secondary poisoning if a dog eats a dead rat. Often they can be lethal so you should seek medical attention immediately.

What breeds of dogs are most likely to eat dead rabbits?

If the opportunity arises all dogs will eat a dead rabbit as such behavior is ingrained in them.

Nevertheless hounds are much more likely to eat dead animals especially small things like rabbits and badgers since they have been bred for this purpose for hundreds of years.

There are several breeds of dogs that are more likely to eat dead rabbits including basset hounds Dachshunds Jack Russell terriers and beagles.

Is eating rabbit poop dangerous for a dog?

No not really.

You as a pet owner find it revolting but dogs seem to love eating rabbit poop quite a bit for reasons that experts cannot really explain.

The thing you need to know is that rabbit poop comes in two varieties.

A rabbit will eat cecotropes repeatedly in order to get all of its nutrients which are soft and dark-colored droppings. Dry pellets on the other hand are mostly indigestible fiber.

Dogs are more likely to find fecal pellets since the rabbit eats the cecotropes whereas rabbits eat the cecotropes.

Vitamin B and digestive enzymes are abundant in these pellets. Fiber is not all indigestible to dogs so it can even help regulate bowel movements.

Obviously your dog is at risk of parasites so be on the lookout for telltale signs of tapeworms.

A parasite called coccidia may also be found in rabbit pellets but it would not harm your pet. It is a species-specific parasite meaning the type found in rabbits can only infect rabbits of the same species.

Having a dog come into contact with or eat another dogs poop is the only way to get coccidia. 

If you want to read more about dogs’ daily tips read here: Dog Daily Tips and Tricks.

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