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“My Dog Killed A Rabbit, What Should I Do?” 5 Vital Tips

My Dog Killed A Rabbit What Should I Do

Here comes your dog with a…dead rabbit?

“Fido…did you do this?”

And they just look at you.

Regardless, you know the answer to that question was yes.

So what should you do? Both with the dead bunny and your canine?

Let me help you out.

Continue reading to discover:

  • Why your canine is acting weird after killing a bunny.
  • Whether a dog can get sick from slaughtering a rabbit.
  • 5 quick tips for you if your dog killed a rabbit (#1 is a must-read).
  • 3 concerning diseases that rabbits carry (which they can transmit to your dog).
  • And many more…

My dog killed a Rabbit, what should I do? 5 tips

#1: Monitor their behavior and health

Dogs came from ancient wolves, who are predatory carnivores.

And those canines didn’t need any human care back then. 

So, they had to hunt to get themselves some dinner. Their prey includes animals smaller than them.

Now, canines have evolved through the years…

Take it from this research:

In the Bronze Age, dogs ate less raw meat. Instead, they consumed more cereal. 

That’s because most of the areas changed into a more agricultural economy.

However, even though that happened and we domesticated dogs…

They still have the urge to hunt. 

And we call it prey drive.

So, your dog will continue to chase and kill animals like rabbits.

Moreover, some puppers will eat a chunk of the rabbit. While others might only bite into the bunny to kill them.

Regardless, both can pose a threat to the dog’s health.

According to AVMA, raw meat exposes dogs to many diseases.

So monitor Fido for any signs of illnesses or behavioral changes. You can read further into this article to find out the specifics.

#2: Ensure their vaccines are updated

Ensure Your Dog's Vaccines Are Updated If They Killed A Rabbit

Zoonosis isn’t something you hear every day…

But we can all be victims of it.

First of all, zoonosis is any disease that an affected animal can transfer to another.

In this case, it’s from a rabbit to your dog.

Now, that’s why vaccines exist. 

And vets emphasize their importance in fighting zoonotic diseases. With them, your pooch will get immune to zoonosis.

So when Fido kills a rabbit…

Immediately look for their records and see whether their vaccinations are current.

Otherwise, they’re more prone to getting different diseases. I listed the specific ones in this section:

“Can a dog get sick from killing a rabbit?”

In the same part, you’ll also find precise scenarios when you must call a vet.

But don’t skip to that part just yet…

The following tips are a must-read.

Read also: (11 Vital Tips) Dog Behavior Change After Vaccination

#3: Countercondition and desensitize

VCA Hospitals define these methods as:

Gradually exposing a dog to their stimulus

This aims to lessen fearful reactions from them. Which can remove unwanted behaviors after said exposure.

Now, counterconditioning and desensitization are often confused with each other. 

Although they have the same aim, the methods are different. 

With counterconditioning, you change your dog’s reaction by using a positive experience. Most of the time, it’s associating the stimulus with a treat or praise. 

Then, desensitization works on getting your dog to ignore the stimulus. 

Without these training methods, Fido might keep killing rabbits whenever they see one. 

And not just bunnies…

But every small animal that catches their attention can be Fido’s next victim.

“What should I use between the 2, then?”

Why choose when you can use both?

That’s right. The 2 are often interchanged because they’re usually used together.

So, watch this helpful video on how to desensitize and counter-condition your dog:

Continue reading: 5 Tips To Train A Dog Not To Attack Rabbits

#4: Control their prey drive

If you ever wonder why your dog’s easily distracted…

Especially by fast-moving objects…

It’s because of their innate prey drive. Which makes them chase objects, like cars, as well as hunt and kill smaller animals.

Now, there’s no way to remove this instinct from your doggo’s system.

But you can somehow bury it or lessen its influence on your dog. And here are ways to do that:

Spay/Neuter them

Your dog’s behaviors are influenced by their hormones.

But spaying or neutering can help with that. Here are their differences:

ProcedureWhat goes on
Spaying or ovariohysterectomyA female dog’s ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes are taken out.
Neutering or orchiectomyA male dog’s testes are removed.

Now, spaying and neutering aren’t the easiest or direct fix for this issue. 

However, it can help you achieve your goal of having a more well-behaved dog.

According to ASPCA, here are the behavioral benefits of the procedures:

A spayed female dog won’t go through heat cycles anymore. That means fewer unpredictable behavioral changes.

As for male dogs, they’ll be less aggressive due to the decrease in testosterone.

Reading tip: 9 Dog Breeds That Get Along With Rabbits + 5 Dangers

Reward them for good behaviors

Reward Their Good Behaviors

As I said, chasing and killing animals is a natural urge for dogs. That’s why it’s satisfying for them to do it.

Now, you can still make your dog happy. Even when you’re lessening their urge to hunt.

All you need to do is reward Fido.

Since the dead animal feels like a prize…

Replace it with treats and praises. Which can also help you with your pupper’s training. 

That said, this method is called positive reinforcement

Many vets and professional trainers recommend it. And I stand behind it as well.

#5: Get help from a professional dog trainer

Training a dog starts at home. 

For example, you can try watching dog training videos on YouTube. Or going to the dog park and asking fellow parents for advice.

But if you have trouble getting rid of Fido’s urge to kill rabbits…

It might be time to add a professional into the mix.

They can assess your dog’s problematic behavior. 

Then, find out its roots. Which can help them create a plan to handle it. 

If you don’t know any dog trainers, you can ask your dog’s vet for a referral.

You might also want to know: 27 Best Dog Trainers In The World

People also ask:

My dog killed a rabbit and is acting weird, why?

Your dog killed a rabbit and is acting weird because you got mad at them for it. To be clear, MSDVM says punishment isn’t just physical, like hitting your dog. Shouting at your pooch also counts.

Now, punishment is considered an aversive training method. 

And many studies tell us why dog parents must not use it.

For one, punishment can make unwanted behavior worse. Contrary to your goal of getting rid of it.

Then, this research says that aversive training methods endanger your dog’s welfare. 

The dogs that they studied showed the following stress-related behaviors:

Moreover, dogs who receive punishment are more pessimistic.

So, they lose their confidence in themself and you.

That’s why they’re acting weird.

For further reading: Will My Dog Forgive Me For Hitting Him? 13 Vital Tips

“But I didn’t hit my dog or even shout at them. So, what’s going on?”

Unfortunately, you’re not off the hook just yet.

There can be something going on inside your dog, health-wise. 

So what you consider acting weird might be clinical symptoms of an illness.

To know more about that, read on to the next section.

Can a dog get sick from killing a rabbit?

A dog can get sick from killing a rabbit. The latter carries many zoonotic diseases. That means bunnies can transmit illnesses to other animals like your dog and even you.

So, here are 3 concerning diseases your dog could get from killing a rabbit:

#1: Rabies

As I mentioned, you must check whether your dog’s current in their vaccines. Especially rabies.

If not, Fido’s in danger of getting rabies from the bunny.

So if that prey is infected, they can pass it to your pup.

When that happens, PetMD warns us of these symptoms of rabies:

  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Hypersalivation.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Decrease in appetite.
  • Paralysis in their legs.
  • Sudden (and extreme) aggression.

Reading tip: ​​17 Alarming Side Effects Of Rabbies Vaccine In Dogs

#2: Tapeworms

Although these are intestinal parasites…

Dr. Teresa Hershey says tapeworm cysts cling to a rabbit’s muscle tissue.

Usually, a dog can get sick from eating tainted rabbit meat. 

Moreover, VCA Hospital says canines can get tapeworms from ingesting infected fleas. 

And since rabbits can have tapeworm-carrying fleas too…

Once Fido bites and kills a bunny with the parasite, your pup will eat the flea. 

Then, the tapeworm egg is released into the intestinal tract. 

That’s where the worm clings to Fido’s intestinal lining. 

From then on, they’ll show these signs of illness from tapeworms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Licking or biting their rear end.
  • Scooting their bum on the floor.

Warning: You’ll also see small tapeworm segments crawling out of your dog’s anus. Or you’ll also spot them on your canine’s fresh stool.

#3: A variety of infections

As I mentioned, your pooch might bite into the rabbit to kill them.

And that’s dangerous. 

It exposes Fido to the many bacteria and parasites inside the rabbit’s body.

Now, based on research, 3 pathogens are prevalent in rabbit meat:


This is one of the most deadly pathogens out there.

To give you an idea:

The CDC reveals salmonella cause 1.35 million illnesses per year in the US.

What makes it more dangerous is its zoonotic nature.

So if the rabbit that Fido kills is infected with salmonella…

Your dog will get sick from it and have salmonellosis. PetMD says these are the signs of the disease:

  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Mucus in their stool.
  • Not drinking any water.
E. coli

When your dog gets E. coli, the illness they’ll face is called colibacillosis.

Warning: If left untreated, colibacillosis can lead to septicemia. At that point, your pooch experiences blood poisoning. Which is from the abnormally high count of E. coli in their body.

With that, you must treat the initial condition immediately. 

Part of achieving that is knowing the symptoms of colibacillosis. Those are:

  • Lethargy.
  • Vomiting.
  • Depression.
  • Dehydration.
  • Watery diarrhea.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Blue gums, nostrils, lips, ears, and/or anus.

This disease comes the same way to dogs and humans:

Through contact with infected raw meat.

That’s why dogs with a raw diet are more prone to listeriosis. Which is a disease caused by the bacteria listeria.

Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Weakness.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

When to consult a vet

If you see even 1 symptom of any of the diseases I mentioned…

Don’t hesitate to bring your pooch to the vet.

Remember: Most of the diseases your dog can get from a rabbit is transmissible to you. With that, you must be well aware of your dog’s health to protect yours.