We all love our dogs, and many people forget that our cute furry friends can harm small animals like rabbits. Certain dog breeds were originally bred to hunt small animals such as rabbits. This might leave many dog owners wondering: do dogs kill rabbits?
Yes, dogs do kill rabbits. Many dogs will kill both wild and pet rabbits if they get the chance to, especially if the dog in question has a high prey drive. Proper socialization and monitoring can help protect rabbits from dogs.
In this article, we will be exploring the question: do dogs kill rabbits? We will also be answering some other commonly asked questions and providing you with some additional things to consider about this topic. Let’s get right into it!
Why Do Dogs Kill Rabbits
Dogs will kill rabbits because it is instinctual for them to do so. They are natural predators, after all, even if most dog owners forget about this fact. Dogs with a high prey drive are more likely to kill a rabbit than dogs who do not.
However, you should always be cautious and keep any pet rodents away from your dog, even if your dog’s breed has a reportedly low prey drive. This is because a dog can still kill a pet rabbit by accident through things like play, even if they technically do not mean to harm the animal.
Do All Dogs Kill Rabbits
No, not all dogs will necessarily kill rabbits, especially not on purpose. There are dogs out there that have been bred to have a low prey drive, especially herding dogs and flock guarding dogs. This is because they have been bred to work around farms where there are many small, vulnerable animals like chickens and baby animals.
We will go over what dog breeds can do well around rabbits and what dog breeds you should definitely keep away from rabbits later on in this article.
However, you should still always be cautious if you have pet rabbits and dogs of any breed type. This is because accidents can happen, even if you do not think your dog will actively hunt a rabbit. If you have rabbits, it is recommended that you keep them in an enclosure away from your dog. In addition, you should never leave your dog unattended around your rabbit enclosure, especially if you have one in your backyard.
Can Dogs Live With Rabbits
Some dogs can live with rabbits without bothering them; it just goes down to the type of breed of the dog and if they have gotten early training and socialization. For some dogs, this early socialization and training them to leave rabbits alone from an early age is highly effective.
This is especially true for dogs with a very low prey drive, such as Golden Retrievers and Labs. However, you should always supervise your dog when around free-roaming rabbits, even if they have been adequately socialized and trained. This is just for the rabbit’s safety, and it gives you the ability to stop an accident before it occurs.
Can My Dog Get Sick From Eating A Rabbit
Yes, dogs can get sick from eating a rabbit or even from just catching one without eating or killing it. Although rabbits are a normal part of a wolf’s diet, this is not true for most pet dogs. As a result, dogs can often get sick from ingesting raw rabbit meat if they are not used to a raw diet. This means that a dog can get an upset stomach even if the rabbit wasn’t carrying any parasites or harmful bacteria.
Rabbits commonly carry fleas and ticks, which can be transmitted to your dog even if they do not eat the rabbit. As a result, you should prevent them from getting close to that random wild rabbit in the yard if your dog is not protected against these kinds of pests.
In addition, bacterial infections and parasites can easily be passed to dogs when they eat a rabbit. This can make dogs very sick. As a result, you should always take your dog to the vet immediately after you have found that they have eaten a rabbit to make sure that they haven’t picked up any potentially harmful bacteria or parasites.
What To Do If Your Dog Catches A Rabbit
You should always call your dog away from a rabbit and give the “leave it” cue if your dog goes to catch a rabbit, but they haven’t yet. Similarly, you should always give the “drop it” cue if your dog has just caught a rabbit. This will prevent your dog from eating the rabbit and even possibly killing it in some instances.
This is why these two commands are so important to teach your dog, especially if they spend a lot of time off-leash. If your dog has caught a rabbit and you suspect that he is in danger of developing some illness or infection, then you should take them to the vet immediately. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Rabbit
If your dog eats a wild rabbit, then it is recommended that you take them to the vet as soon as possible. This is because wild rabbits commonly have parasites and potentially harmful bacteria. Taking your dog to the vet after eating a wild rabbit will help ensure that they have either not contracted these kinds of things or that they will get early treatment.
Things To Consider
There are some other things to consider when it comes to dogs killing rabbits. These include what dog breeds can be rabbit friendly and what dog breeds you should steer clear of if you have pet rabbits. Here are the things that you should consider about dogs killing rabbits.
Are There Rabbit Friendly Dogs
Some dog breeds have the potential of being great rabbit-friendly dogs with early socialization and training. These dog breeds usually include herding dogs, flock guarding dogs, and a few retrievers. Some dog breeds that can be trained to be around rabbits include but may not be limited to:
● The Golden Retriever
● The Labrador Retriever
● The Great Pyrenees
● The Maltese
● The Old English Sheepdog
● The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Dog Breeds To Steer Clear Of If You Have A Rabbit
However, some dogs lie on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to being good with rabbits. Dogs with a naturally high prey drive may not be the best choice for those with pet rabbits and other kinds of small pets.
These dogs usually lie within the scent and sighthound groups. However, many kinds of terriers and spitz breed dogs also have a high prey drive. Some dog breeds to steer clear of if you have pet rabbits include but may not be limited to:
● The Siberian Husky
● The Alaskan Malamute
● The Beagle
● The Greyhound
● The Jack Russell Terrier
● The Yorkshire Terrier