My Dog Caught A Baby Bunny (What Should I Do?)

dog caught a baby bunny

When your dog has unexpectedly caught a baby bunny, you must know how to handle the situation immediately.

If your dog interacts with a baby bunny, immediately separate them to protect both animals.

Assess the bunny for injuries, handling it minimally to avoid stress, and if injured, contact wildlife rehabilitation.

For your dog, clean any wounds from the encounter to prevent infection and watch for signs of distress.

Be aware that consuming a baby rabbit can pose health risks to your dog, including intestinal parasites, infecitons and blockages.

This guide will show you how to safely help your dog and the baby bunny with the necessary steps to take.

Secure Your Dog Away From The Bunny

The first step is to gently remove your dog from the bunny. This prevents further stress to the bunny but also protects your dog from potential harm or diseases.

If your dog is still carrying the bunny in its mouth, get your dog to “Drop it” or “Leave It”.

Leash your dog to a secure place or get it to stay while you assess the condition of the bunny.

Asses The Bunny’s Condition

baby bunny

Once your dog is away from the bunny, assess the condition of the rabbit to the best of your ability.

If possible, try not to handle the rabbit any more than necessary. Stress can be very bad for rabbits.

Look out for any signs of injury such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Limping
  • Difficulty breeding

If the bunny is uninjured and moving about fine, you can return it to its nest if you know where that is. If you do not know where the nest is, you can release it back in a safer area.

However, if the rabbit is unable to fend for itself, it would be best to call your local wildlife rescue center or rehabilitator for the next best course of action.

Caring For An Injured Bunny

It can be a challenging task trying to care for an injured bunny due to its size and wildness.

Gently wrap the bunny in a soft, clean cloth to keep it warm and secure. Avoid trying to feed it or give it water, as improper feeding can cause harm.

Hold the bunny gently yet securely, with one hand under its body and the other hand supporting its backside.

Please do not pick up the rabbit by its ears or the scruff of its neck.

That is very painful for them and can lead to more stress and injury.

If there’s bleeding, try to apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth but be careful with the amount of pressure that you are exerting on the bunny.

Prepare a small, ventilated box with soft bedding for the bunny to temporarily rest in. Place the box in a warm, dark and quiet area to reduce stress.

Your local vet may not be able to attend to the bunny but could provide you with contact information for the proper resources.

If the bunny passes do not be mad at your dog, rabbits are prey species after all. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after interacting with wildlife.

It is common for dogs to chase after small critters due to their prey drive. Some dog breeds such as hounds or terriers have a much higher drive.

Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety

Seemingly harmless baby rabbits can become defensive and potentially harm your dog if they feel threatened.

Baby rabbits can be surprisingly feisty, and capable of clawing or biting your dog’s face. Look for scratches or little puncture marks around the mouth, nose and eyes.

If your dog has scratches or bites from a baby bunny, follow these steps to ensure proper care:

Clean The Wound: Gently wash the affected area with mild soap and warm water to remove any dirt and bacteria.

Apply Antiseptic Cream Or Solution: After cleaning, apply a pet-safe antiseptic to the wound to further reduce the risk of infection.

Monitor For Signs Of Infection: Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, which can include redness, swelling, heat, pain, or discharge.

Visit the Vet if Necessary: If the scratches or bites are deep or if you notice any signs of infection, get your dog to the vet right away.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Ate A Baby Bunny?

If your dog eats a baby bunny, there’s generally low risk to its health thanks to its robust immune system.

Truth be told, ingesting a rabbit isn’t as bad as your dog ingesting a dead mouse which can be more dangerous.

More concerning are intestinal parasites like tapeworms, which dogs can contract from eating infected rabbits. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and scooting.

Deworming medication from the vet will be able to resolve this issue.

Another parasite called Coccidia, affects younger rabbits and can cause similar symptoms in dogs. However, Coccidia is treatable with specific medications such as sulfadimethoxine.

Tularemia, or ‘Rabbit Fever‘ is a bacterial infection presenting as weakness, fever and loss of appetite, requiring antibiotic treatment.

Monitor your dog closely for 1-2 days for any signs of distress or illness.

Large dogs may easily pass the rabbit without issue but smaller dogs could face intestinal blockages from rabbit fur or bones. This can lead to canine bloat which is life-threatening.

Symptoms of bloat include a bloated stomach, drooling, panting and gagging. Some dogs will even stretch their necks and look up to relieve the pressure in their stomach.

Immediate veterinary attention is necessary which usually requires surgery to remove the blockage. More commonly though, a dog may develop transient gastrointestinal signs that may or may not require a trip to the vet.

If your dog is acting normally and still has an appetite, continue to monitor for prolonged vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy. Check your yard for any additional signs of bunnies to try and prevent this incident from recurring.

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