Dogs are carnivorous animals and are widely domesticated; in fact, you will find them in almost every continent of the world. You might be wondering if dogs eat squirrels?
Dogs are excellent hunters and tend to hunt a couple of animals, especially in the wild. It is a fair concern knowing what food your dog can eat and what to avoid. You do want to know if dogs can eat squirrels and whether they should be allowed to eat these critters.
Further in the article, you will get to know much about squirrels as dog food and if there is anything of concern when your beloved dog munches squirrels.
Do Dogs Eat Squirrels?
Dogs are meat-eaters, and they eat a variety of animals, including squirrels. Dogs can digest raw squirrels in your backyards or cooked squirrels.
So, when a squirrel is busy collecting food from our backyards, it can meet a dog. If your dog is hungry, then there is no chance for the poor squirrel to escape, and this happens mostly with hunting dogs.
But that doesn’t mean that other dogs won’t eat a squirrel; they do. But most of them just enjoy chasing squirrels.
Dogs can also eat dead squirrels. Dogs, naturally eat meat in any form, when cooked or raw. But dogs eating dead squirrels may raise a lot of concerns.
For instance, you don’t know what the cause of the squirrel’s death was. Perhaps it died due to a disease or poison, and such meat can be toxic to dogs.
What Happens If My Dog Eats Squirrels?
What happens when dogs eat squirrels is a pretty common question.
Of course, extremely important to all dogs’ owners. Many people want to know if their dear dogs can get sick by eating squirrels.
Let’s say squirrels are toxic. Would you still allow your buddy to eat them? Of course not!
Your pet’s health is something to be cautious about at all times. Fortunately, your dog should be fine after eating a squirrel.
The dog’s digestive system will work, as usual, digesting meat. Sometimes, you may notice some changes like diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach upset, but the dog will be fine. Now you know that it’s okay for dogs to eat squirrels.
That being said, there are some instances squirrels become dangerous food for dogs. For example, a squirrel that is dead for a couple of days may have parasites and other organisms that could be harmful to dogs.
Such a carcass could be infected with coccidia and roundworms, and these parasites compete with the dog for nutrients. The dog is getting sufficient nutrients, but roundworms are the ones benefiting. Eventually, your friend becomes malnourished and vulnerable to infections.
Also, a dead squirrel could be poisoned, and you don’t know, which can make the dog sick. Hence, avoiding dead meat is right for your beloved pet.
Can Dogs Digest Raw Meat?
Yes, dogs can eat raw meat, and it’s their favorite. If you have a dog, you know what I’m saying and see how excited they get when eating raw meat. A dog will eat raw meat from squirrels and other animals like mice, hare, rats, etc.
The dog’s digestive system is in a position to digest raw meat and fine bones without any complications. Don’t forget that they are carnivores and are accustomed to eating raw meat from recent times.
But your dog consuming raw meat may pose some health threats. And this is because raw meat could contain bacteria such as salmonella, which can cause foodborne infection or any other illness.
Moreover, dogs can transmit salmonella to humans. Another reason dogs shouldn’t be eating raw meat is that many do not provide complete and balanced nutrition as per the dog’s body requirement.
Also, raw meat may contain strong bones that can crack the dog’s teeth, chock the dog or even cause an internal puncture. Therefore, it’s recommended for dogs to be fed well-cooked meat in addition to carbohydrates.
Can Dogs Eat Live Squirrels Without Any Problem?
Dogs tend to chase squirrels when the two come across. More often, it seems fun, and the dog doesn’t have any intentions to eat the squirrel. But there are times when the squirrel isn’t lucky and ends up being a snack.
Killing and eating a squirrel does not cause significant impacts on your dog, but that does not mean there would not be any effects. There are squirrel diseases that a squirrel can transfer to the dog, though not many.
One of the transmittable illnesses is leptospirosis which attacks the internal organs, especially the kidney and liver. A dog suffering from this disease will show signs such as vomiting and high fever.
The disease requires an immediate medical checkup by an experienced veterinarian for prompt treatment. Dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease caused by Ticks that are sometimes found in gray squirrels.
If you suspect your dog has Lyme, check for symptoms such as anorexia, fever, and joint pains, which can eventually cause lameness. To avoid Lyme infection, you need to vaccinate your dog.
Therefore, you don’t need to trouble yourself when your dog eats a live squirrel. All you have to do is have it checked if it has contracted an infection from the squirrel.
Are Squirrels Toxic to Dogs?
In most cases, squirrels themselves are not toxic to dogs. Rather their parasites, including ticks and fleas, and also their droppings are more dangerous. Ticks in squirrels cause Lyme disease, which is very dangerous to dogs.
Squirrels dropping can be a source of Leptospirosis disease that mainly affects the internal organs, including the liver and kidney.
Squirrels are the leading wild carriers of this disease since it survives in a wet environment where most squirrels live.
What Are The the Good Things You Should Do?
Although squirrels are not toxic to your dog, their parasites and droppings can cause your dog health problems. Squirrels can also injure your dog in rescuing themselves, which can cause severe wounds to the dog.
On the other hand, squirrels are beautiful and exciting creatures that deserve better treatment and care.
They do play a significant role in the ecosystem as well as dogs. Letting your dog feed on them is being unjust to them.
You can keep your dog away from squirrels or train it to avoid squirrels. By doing this, you will save the lives of squirrels and protect your dog from the diseases that come with being in contact with these rodents.
Also, make sure that your dog is well vaccinated against the diseases that squirrels could spread. In case you notice weird symptoms with your dog, see a veterinarian immediately.
How to Train Your Dog Not to Eat or Kill Squirrels?
Dogs that have a habit of chasing squirrels are likely to chase after one in the streets and may end up being hit by a car. Thus, training your dog on how to avoid squirrels is a great favor to you and your friend.
Although we have several methods to train your dog to avoid squirrels, the most effective one is the ‘find it game method.’ It involves different steps, as we are going to see below.
Step 1: Place Treats Around Your Compound
Identify the treats that your dog is fond of eating and hide some around your backyard.
Step 2: Put Your Dog into Hunt
Make your dog smell the treats around your backyard and motivate it to ‘hunt’ the snack instead of searching for the squirrels.
Step 3: Repeat the Whole Process.
Repeat the game up to two times per day. The most favorable times are meal time so that the treats can shift your dog’s mind from chasing away squirrels.
Step 4: Change it
You can change the hides and replace them with something else, such as chew foods or toys. You can be changing to a very new thing every day.
Step 5: Alternative Scent
To make your dog adapt to the game and shift completely from chasing squirrels, change the smell of the hides. You can use game scent on the toys of your dog.
When training your dog on avoiding squirrels, patience is essential because your dog may take time before adapting entirely to the new life after your dog learns the new method, praise and reward it.
If you have squirrels around and find them annoying, there are better and safe ways to remove them. Letting your dog eat the squirrels isn’t the solution, and you might expose the dog to various risks.
It’s not new to you that dogs do eat squirrels, either when dead or alive. But whether alive or dead, these rodents can put the dog at risk of parasites and sometimes bacteria.
The dog may contract a bacterial infection or other illnesses. Also, squirrels’ droppings may transmit the spiral disease to dogs, and this infection is dangerous.
During the process of catching, squirrels may injure your dog. Squirrels’ bones may damage the internal organs of the dog or cause teeth cracking.
To avoid all these, you can prevent your dog from being in contact with squirrels and make sure that they are well vaccinated. In addition to that, you can train your dog on how to avoid squirrels.