Killing wildlife is not something all dogs take to immediately, being well-fed critters. But those that do can cause their human parents much distress when presented with a bloody carcass first thing in the morning.
Rabbits, especially baby buns are prime targets for most dogs because they just sit there and don’t move. Their tactic is to lay low and disappear into the background. They know as soon as they bolt, that bunny tail will flash like a headlight on high beam, breaking their cover and alerting all those around.
So there’s a good chance your dog could kill a rabbit, but don’t be alarmed. Your dog hasn’t been possessed by the soul of Cujo; it’s purely natural, though horrifying all the same. So what do you do?
What to do if your dog kills and eats a wild rabbit
Check your dog’s medical record to make sure he is up to date with his rabies vaccinations.
Wildlife often carry fleas and some may transfer ticks too. A pest infestation is bad enough, but if your dog catches a disease from these bugs, it’s a whole other story. So make sure your pup is also immunized against fleas and ticks. If you don’t like the thought of dosing your dog with chemicals, try some natural alternatives like essential oils – bugs hate the smell of lemon. Lavender oil works especially well and also helps to calm your dog.
If your dog eats the rabbit he killed, you want to make sure he’s been dewormed. Eggs can live deep inside the rabbit’s muscle tissue and if ingested will incubate in its host, your dog. You’ll want to make sure Fido doesn’t lavish big, wet kisses on you at this time!
Observe your dog over the next few days and watch for signs of infection like loss of appetite, fever and lethargy. If he does show changes in behaviour and health, take him to the vet right away.
To prevent this incident from happening again, it would be a good idea to rabbit-proof your backyard. This will also keep the rabbits from pooping in your yard and tempting your dogs with a tasty, potentially harmful treat.