My Dog Keep Going After Squirrels (Can He Get Sick?)

Our family owns a maltese/poodle mix (moodle) we call Moots, and he gives joy to anyone he meets. There are a lot of things he is determined to do, like driving the delivery man away and grabbing all the chance that he gets playing with the kids. One more thing, he will definitely not let his best pal (Marshy, our cat) chase the laser pointer. He is very serious about his commitments and only means business.

If there’s something that gets Moots’ determination in full bar, that would be killing all of the squirrels in our yard. Although his attempts are still unsuccessful, he hasn’t given up all year. Moots has a strong prey drive and will not stop until he finally gets his first squirrel.

So if you need to get rid of squirrels, a dog is often your best bet. Even the best squirrel trap will only catch one squirrel and sometimes the squirrels will simply avoid it. But a dog in your backyard is always on duty, looking for more.

What is it with squirrels that dogs cannot help themselves and start chasing when they see one? Will killing a squirrel get a dog sick?

Why Squirrels?

When killing rodents, a lot of people trusts their cats to do the job. After all, cats are one of the most efficient in killing rats and other rodents. Why would dogs such as our moodle and cats have the same enemy? It turns out, poodles have something to their DNA that makes them experts in killing mice and rats. Moots may be a bit leary around water, but squirrels don’t scare him one bit!

A long time ago, the need for dogs arose when rats started an infestation in farms. The rodents will eat grains and contaminate the other grains in the storage. They would even kill baby chicks, and to stop this, dogs who can kill rats were bred and became a great asset to the farms. And for rodent hunting breeds, squirrels and rodents are not different.

The Odds of a Squirrel Killing A Dog

One squirrel vs one dog, and we know what the likely outcome of this fight would be. Dogs have a size advantage and can be as fast as their counterpart. Although squirrels compensate with technique, if the dog can catch it, then the fight is over. But what are the chances of the dog getting all the disadvantages in a fight?

According to a BBC report in 2005, a dog in a Russian park was killed by a pack of squirrels. This happened because the stray dog started barking at the squirrels. The pack killed the dog and ran away with chunks of dog flesh. There is no footage of the said attack, so we don’t really know if squirrels are capable of this. All kidding aside, can a dog get sick by successfully killing a squirrel?

Squirrel Danger: Ticks And Fleas

Are you wondering if your dog can get fleas and ticks from running around and catching squirrels? According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, squirrels do not carry fleas. However, grey squirrels are able to carry ticks, which is a danger to dogs because of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorfer and is transferred via tick bite. The bacterial will travel from the bloodstream and will affect other parts of the body.

Its symptoms include fever, lameness, joint pain and loss of appetite. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics over the course of 30 days. But it wouldn’t be a problem if the owner practices preventive tick treatment.

Transmittable Diseases

Lyme disease can be transferred to dogs by ticks, in which they can get from somewhere else other than chasing a squirrel. Fortunately, when it comes to diseases that are specifically transmitted from squirrels, our canine friends doesn’t have a lot to receive. Squirrels don’t carry rabies, which is good news for owners who have a high prey drive pet like Moots.

However, in some parts of the United States, squirrels can transfer a deadly disease to dogs. Some squirrels carry leptospirosis, in which dogs can be susceptible. Leptospirosis can be a threat to your dog and to you, as it is also transferable to humans. It is recommended for owners who had contact with their affected pet to wash their hands and keep the pet away from those who are easily infected to the bacteria.

Chances of this happening from a squirrel encounter are very rare. However, if your dog manifests symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, and convulsions after killing a squirrel, it is likely that it is infected by the bacteria. Call a vet immediately so your pet can be treated with antibiotics and fluids.

The Most Lethal Squirrel Danger

If the dog encountered a dead squirrel and ate it, now THAT we can call a danger. A living squirrel is one thing, a dead squirrel is another. If a dog ate a dead squirrel, it can become susceptible to diarrhea and food poisoning.

The reason is that even if it is banned, a lot of people use poison to get rid of squirrels that invade their home. If a dog ate a poisoned dead squirrel, some of the toxic can be transferred, and your dog can be poisoned too.