There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking out into your backyard with a bag full of fresh-smelling rabbit poop, but what happens when your dog eats it?
Can dogs get sick from eating rabbit poop?
And what does this have to do with rabbits?
Can dogs get sick from eating rabbit poop?
The short answer is yes.
A dog can get sick from eating rabbit poop if the rabbit has a disease that can be transmitted to dogs.
The risk is low, and there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of your pet getting sick.
But first, let’s look at exactly what’s in the rabbit poop.
Rabbit poop contains bacteria
All mammals produce feces.
When we talk about “poop,” we’re talking about the solid waste produced by an animal—whether it’s human or nonhuman.
It comes in three basic forms:
- Feces—the solid waste material from digestion.
- Urine—liquid waste created during urination.
- Pellets—a mixture of fecal matter and urine.
Rabbits produce pellets.
As any dog owner knows, dogs will eat everything they can get their paws on.
So the question becomes whether or not a dog can get sick after ingesting rabbit poop.
To find out, we need to understand what’s actually in the rabbit poop.
In addition to the normal waste products mentioned above, rabbit poop can include things like:
- Nematodes (roundworms)
While these items may sound scary, they don’t pose much of a danger to dogs unless they have a preexisting medical condition.
For example, roundworm eggs can cause intestinal worms, which in turn can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.
But because most dogs don’t have these worms naturally, they won’t suffer any ill effects from them.
So what happens when a dog eats rabbit poop?
Dogs can get sick from eating rabbit poop
If a dog eats rabbit poop, it can become infected with one of several diseases:
Infection with toxoplasmosis viruses
As you might expect, all of these conditions can cause various symptoms in dogs.
Some are more common than others, so it’s important to know how to recognize signs of illness if you suspect your dog ate rabbit poop.
Symptoms of bacterial infections
Bacterial infections can vary widely depending on the type of bacteria involved.
For instance, Campylobacter and Salmonella are two types of bacteria that commonly infect dogs, though the symptoms of each differ.
Campylobacteriosis usually causes diarrhea in dogs.
This isn’t necessarily an unpleasant experience for your pet, as it could simply mean he or she is having a bowel movement.
However, if your dog is experiencing bloody diarrhea, then it’s time to seek veterinary care immediately.
This symptom indicates that your dog has developed colitis, a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.
Salmonellosis, meanwhile, can affect both puppies and older dogs.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.
If left untreated, this condition can progress to kidney failure or even death.
Symptoms of parasitic infections
Some parasites are relatively easy to spot.
For instance, Giardia lamblia, found in dog poop, causes diarrheal symptoms similar to those caused by Campylobacteriosis.
While some parasites may require special testing to identify, others are obvious once they’ve been identified.
Toxocara canis is another parasite that affects dogs.
This organism lives in the intestines of cats, dogs, and other animals.
Once ingested by a dog, it travels through the bloodstream, lodging itself in organs such as the liver and lungs.
Here, it reproduces and can cause organ damage.
Finally, the tapeworm Taenia spp.
is known for its ability to grow in the intestines of dogs.
These parasites can be easily identified by an experienced veterinarian.
They cause severe gastrointestinal problems, including abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Because these symptoms are so uncomfortable, many owners choose to euthanize their pets before they develop any serious complications.
Viral infections are less common than bacterial ones, but they still occur.
One common virus is canine distemper virus, which can cause neurological problems.
Other viruses, such as rabies, can cause seizures, paralysis, and coma.
Fortunately, these viruses are rare, and all dogs receive vaccinations against them.
How to tell if your dog got sick from eating rabbit poop
Once you identify the problem, it’s important to determine whether your dog needs antibiotics or other medications.
Depending on the symptoms, he or she may benefit from medication to treat the specific infection.
What are the risks of a dog eating rabbit poop?
While there is no evidence that any particular diseases or parasites are transferred from rabbit poop to dogs, there are several ways in which a dog could become sick after eating some.
Rabbit feces contains worms and other parasites
Rabbits have been known to transmit parasitic infections to humans, such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and others.
These can lead to serious medical conditions, including diarrhea, liver problems, and anemia.
If your dog ingests rabbit poop, he may pass those parasites on to himself.
This is especially true if he licks his mouth after eating the poop, since many of these parasites live in saliva.
If not treated, they can cause serious health issues for the pet.
Rabbit poop can carry salmonella bacteria
Another danger of eating rabbit poop is that it can harbor harmful bacteria, including salmonella.
This is one reason why people should never feed their pets raw eggs — the yolk contains bacteria that can contaminate food and spread illness.
Salmonella is extremely common among wild animals, so it’s possible that your dog will encounter some while he explores his yard.
If not treated quickly, it can produce symptoms similar to those of a stomach flu, including vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.
In severe cases, it can even lead to death.
Rabbit poop can be toxic to dogs
Finally, rabbit poop can actually be poisonous to dogs.
There are two reasons for this:
First, rabbit poop is high in phosphorus.
It’s often used as fertilizer by gardeners, but it’s not good for plants.
Instead, it’s best used for soil amendments.
Second, rabbits eat lots of grains, which are rich in carbohydrates.
When these foods are digested, they release glucose (a type of sugar) into the bloodstream.
The body then uses that glucose to generate energy.
When a dog consumes too much of this sugar at once, it can lead to hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia causes the blood to become very acidic, which can damage organs and tissues, including the kidneys and pancreas.
It can also lead to seizures, coma, and death.
How can you tell if your dog has eaten rabbit poop?
If your dog is acting sick or acting strange after eating rabbit poop, then there may be a good reason for concern.
Rabbits and dogs are closely related animals, so it is possible that a dog could get sick from eating rabbit poop.
However, there are many other reasons why a dog might be acting strangely.
To determine whether your dog ate rabbit poop, it’s important to consider the symptoms that you see in your pet.
If your dog seems to be suffering any of these symptoms after eating rabbit poop, then you should probably take action.
Sudden loss of appetite
A sudden loss of appetite may indicate that your dog has eaten something toxic.
The most common cause of this type of problem is poisoning by household chemicals.
These include cleaning products, pesticides, and rodenticides.
In addition to being toxic, some of these substances can also be harmful to pets.
This is especially true of flea and tick treatments, which can cause serious health problems if they are ingested by a dog.
Fleas can carry a variety of diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease.
Other causes of sudden loss of appetite include stomach upset caused by food poisoning or an illness such as diabetes.
In these cases, your dog may eat less than usual, lose weight rapidly, or vomit.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of many different illnesses, but one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs is an infection known as canine parvovirus (CPV).
This virus can spread easily between dogs and usually starts with an infected puppy.
Once it makes its way through the entire pack, it becomes very difficult to prevent.
The only way to protect against CPV is to vaccinate all puppies at least 14 days before they go home.
It’s not uncommon for owners who fail to vaccinate their dogs will find themselves dealing with an outbreak of CPV.
Some kinds of poison can cause vomiting.
Common examples include antifreeze, rat poisons, and insecticides.
However, there are also several types of medications that can cause vomiting in dogs.
Some of these drugs are used to treat heart conditions, while others are used to treat pain.
It’s not unusual for dogs to accidentally swallow pills or chew on a pill container.
Other medications that can cause vomiting include antihistamines and over-the-counter cold medicines.
One of the most common symptoms of poisoning is lethargy, but it can also be a symptom of other medical problems.
For example, a lack of energy is often associated with kidney failure, liver disease, or cancer.
Lack of energy can also be the result of certain medications, including those used to treat seizures and anxiety.
Dogs with kidney disease will usually show signs of decreased stamina, weakness, and fatigue.
They may also experience nausea, vomiting, and bloody urine.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should you do if you think your dog has eaten rabbit poop?
If you think that your dog ate rabbit poop and he is now showing signs of illness, there are things you can do.
First, contact your vet immediately.
If you don’t know where to find one, check online for a list of local veterinarians in your area or call your local animal hospital and ask them for recommendations.
Second, keep an eye on your pet after consuming the poop.
If he looks ill, take him to the vet right away.
And don’t try to treat him yourself.
Many diseases can be treated with antibiotics, but some diseases require special attention.
Third, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise while you wait for his appointment at the vet.
This will help flush any toxins that might still be lingering in his system.
Fourth, give your dog a good bath.
You can use a shampoo specifically made for dogs or just plain soap and water.
But whatever you choose, make sure you rinse all the shampoo off of him before you put him back outside.
Fifth, don’t let him lick himself.
He may not feel like it, but licking himself could cause him to swallow more of the poop than he intended to.
Finally, there is no need to worry about your pet getting sick.
Unless the rabbit had a disease that can be transmitted to dogs, your pet isn’t likely to catch anything from the poop.
How can you prevent your dog from eating rabbit poop?
The short answer is “no.”
While there are certain diseases that can be transferred between animals, including rabbits and dogs, there are no known diseases that can be passed through rabbit poop.
Rabbits and dogs are both carnivores – they eat meat and their digestive systems work similarly.
However, there are still a few differences between how the two species process food and digest their meals.
For example, while dogs have four stomach chambers, rabbits only have one.
In addition, dogs have an organ called a pancreas that helps them break down proteins and fats, whereas rabbits produce enzymes that help with digestion on their own.
This means that even though rabbits and dogs share similar digestive systems, their diets are processed differently because of these factors.
While it’s possible for a dog to become ill from eating rabbit poop, there are also several ways to avoid this problem altogether.
What are some other things to keep in mind about rabbit poop and dogs?
Rabbits are small mammals that eat vegetation and insects.
They aren’t herbivores (animals that eat plant matter), but omnivores (they will eat both plants and animals).
This means they can transmit diseases to their predators such as dogs.
Dogs are carnivores (they eat meat) and can sometimes get sick from eating rabbit poop.
But there are many factors to consider before making the leap that eating rabbit poop is going to cause your dog harm.
The first thing to remember is that most rabbit poop doesn’t look all that different than dog poop.
The same goes for the smell, which isn’t very strong at all.
But that’s not the only consideration.
Rabbits have been known to carry diseases like salmonella and campylobacter, so it’s important to know how these bacteria and viruses spread.
In addition, it’s possible for a dog to ingest a parasite while eating rabbit poop.
Parasites can infect an animal’s digestive tract or bloodstream, causing illness or even death.
It’s best to avoid any type of animal feces.
Rabbit poop vs Dog poop
So now that we know that eating rabbit poop isn’t necessarily going to hurt your dog, let’s talk about why dogs would want to eat it in the first place.
Rabbits are naturally smaller than dogs, so they don’t produce nearly as much waste.
As a result, a rabbit may leave its poop where it lands, rather than taking care to clean up after itself.
If this happens, then the poop will likely end up somewhere near your home.
Because of this, you might find rabbit poop right outside your door.
However, if a dog is interested in the scent, he may try to eat it.
This is especially common around garbage cans, since the stench attracts dogs.
Dogs can become infected from eating rabbit poop if they lick it off themselves or another animal.
In fact, it’s possible for a dog to contract salmonella poisoning from licking a rabbit.
If you think your dog ate some rabbit poop, contact your vet immediately.
You should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling rabbit poop.
Washing your hands helps limit the chance of spreading germs to yourself.
Resources for more information on dogs and rabbit poop
Rabbit Poop Safety Tips for Dogs
You’ve probably seen those videos online where someone shows you how to prepare rabbit poop
for your dog to eat.
They say it’s good for them because it helps their digestion.
The problem is, there isn’t any scientific evidence that actually supports this claim.
It is true that some people feed their dogs rabbit poop because they think it will help them heal, but
there is no proof that eating rabbit poop will make your dog healthier.
Instead, there are several reasons why it’s better not to give your dog rabbit poop.
First of all, just like any raw meat, it could carry germs that could harm your pet.
Second, it may cause your dog diarrhea or an upset stomach.
In fact, according to the ASPCA website, “poisonous plants, chemicals, and pesticides can affect
your dog’s digestive system and lead to diarrhea and vomiting.”
Thirdly, there’s the risk that your dog might accidentally ingest a parasite from the rabbit poop.
This is especially concerning if the rabbit was previously infected with any diseases.
If your dog ate the poop and then got sick from it, he could contract the same disease as the
This is why it’s important to know what kinds of diseases can be carried by rabbit poop and how these diseases can spread to your dog.