Should I Be Worried If My Dog Killed a Rat?

Last Updated on July 5, 2022 by admin

One of the first thoughts that normally is in your mind when you see the carcass of a rat next to your dog is “Oh my god, my dog killed a rat!”

The second thought that comes to mind is whether or not the pet’s overall health may be in danger.

The answer is yes. Your dog could be at risk if you’ve killed the rat.

There is a myriad of parasites and diseases that can be passed from rodents to your dog via bites, contact, and exposure to bodily fluids. This includes ailments such as plague and fever and the known roundworm.

These diseases aren’t only detrimental to your dog but they can also be transmitted to you as well! It is therefore essential to get rid of the rat and wash your dog in a proper manner while making sure that there are no further attacks by rats to occur in the future.


Rodents can Directly Transmit these Diseases:


Based on the Centers for Disease Control & NCBI, Rats, as well as rodents, can transmit the following ailments that could be transmitted to dogs: rat-bite fever and plague, salmonellosis, and leptospirosis.

Roundworms and toxoplasmosis can be transmitted to dogs by killing a rat.

Rat-Bite Fever:

Rat-bite fever can be spread to dogs directly in contact with rats in addition to the contact with their saliva, urine, and urine. In the event that your dog kills a rodent and then eats it, it can contract the disease because it enters through mucous membranes inside the nose and mouth.

Infected animals can carry the disease and spread it throughout their lives without showing any signs. Research has shown that dogs who have been near wild rats have the RBF bacteria inside their mouths.

Rat-bite fever is a serious human illness, accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, fever joints, joint pain, and itchy rashes. Typically, symptoms last between one and three weeks before the show. RBF can lead to infection in the lungs, heart, and brain as well as in the liver. If left untreated the condition can lead to death.


The genus that is parasitic Yersinia pestis is the cause of the plague. The most frequent outbreaks of the plague occur within the Southwestern states from May to October.

Although they naturally have a strong resistance to this specific organism, they contract plague when they come into contact with a rodent that is infected or when the infected flea bites them. The plague can be spread by dogs to humans, and it is best not to take a bite and take their saliva.

The disease causes lymph nodes to be chronically affected and inflamed. This can be extremely painful for dogs.

The symptoms of the disease are:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Anorexia

The treatment of dog plague could require hospitalization and antibiotics. Regular treatment for fleas will be necessary. If a dog isn’t treated promptly, the disease can quickly turn fatal.



Rats carry the salmonella bacteria that causes salmonellosis. Your dog could contract salmonellosis following the killing of rats. Salmonellosis-infected dogs may suffer these conditions including gastroenteritis, septicemia as well as spontaneous abortions.

Salmonella can be transmitted by dogs to humans.

Salmonellosis-infected dogs often exhibit these signs:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Shock
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Skin disease

Treatment for less severe cases of salmonellosis may include rehydration as well as antimicrobial medications. If a dog is diagnosed with salmonellosis, a vet may recommend a 48-hour fast. In the case of severe cases, it might be necessary for dogs to undergo an injection of blood.


Leptospira in rats, a bacterial illness, is one that is prevalent among dogs. It can be spread by contact with rodents drinking water from streams, lakes, or rivers, and contacts with wild animals like raccoons and squirrels.

If your dog killed rats, they can be infected by leptospirosis after eating the affected tissue. The spread of leptospirosis can be spread by dogs to individuals.

Leptospirosis symptoms are different for each dog. Some can be unaffected however, others could be severely ill.

Leptospirosis symptoms in dogs are:

  • Fever
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Dehydration
  • Shivering
  • More thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Reluctance to make a move
  • Eye inflammation
  • Bleeding disorders

Leptospirosis treatment typically includes supportive care, including the administration of IV fluids, as well as antimicrobial treatment. Although early treatment is generally successful, there could be permanent damage to kidneys or livers.



The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii can cause toxoplasmosis. If the dog kills a rodent and then becomes infected with the disease. The cat is more likely to exhibit clinical signs than dogs.

However, dogs who have weak immune systems or pups whose immunity systems are not yet fully developed are susceptible to getting this condition.

Toxoplasmosis-infected dogs may exhibit the following signs:

  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Problems with the brain
  • Breathing problems
  • A loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Complete or partial paralysis
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If a dog exhibits symptoms of toxoplasmosis vet might prescribe antibiotics. If additional symptoms, like dehydration or seizures, are present, they can be treated separately.



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If the dog kills a rodent that is infected by roundworms, it could be infected. Roundworms are an intestinal parasites. ascariasis is the condition that roundworms are responsible for. According to research the dog that is who is already suffering from toxoplasmosis may have an increased risk of contracting roundworms.

Roundworms in dogs can be passed on to humans.

The symptoms of roundworms in dogs are:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Colic
  • Difficulty nursing (female dogs)
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal feces
  • Crouching (when roundworms are found in the lung)

The majority of these ailments originate from contact with an infected rodent. So should your dog have killed a rat with the mouth of its pet, there is an opportunity that it’s affected by one of these illnesses.

A visit to a vet is at the very top of your list agenda in the event that your dog kills rats. By killing a rodent, you put the dog in danger of illnesses and diseases. A vet can tell if your dog is suffering from an infection and offer prompt treatment.

My Dog Killed a Rat. Why?


Hunting is a natural instinct in dogs. Numerous breeds of dogs have been bred over the years specifically to hunt rodents as well as other rodents.

You might have been awestruck at how proud your dog was to show you the fish he caught. The socialization and domestication of dogs are the reason we rarely see prey-like behavior. However, the instinct to hunt is present in all dogs.

Certain breeds tend to prey on rats more than others. Certain breeds of dogs feature “ratter” in their name meaning they were specially developed to hunt rats.

Terriers are a breed of working dogs that are bred to hunt and eradicate pests, such as rodents, rats, and others. If your dog belongs to a breed of terrier do not be surprised to find it out hunting insects all day long.

Other breeds that are known for their ability to hunt rodents include miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, and German pinschers.

Rat Terrier


Rat terriers were originally bred in order to kill rats. They are considered to be hunting as well as a working dog.

The legend has it that President Theodore Roosevelt named this breed the rat terrier because it wiped out an infestation of rats at The White House.

In the past, they were vital to farmers, assisting them to rid themselves of rodents. The terrier doesn’t have lost his instinctual drive to hunt rats.

Every terrier is a potential killer. You can teach your dog to hunt rodents in a safe manner.

Other terriers that are famous for their ability to hunt rats include:

  • Norfolk Terrier from Norfolk
  • Cairn terrier
  • Jack Russell terrier
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier from Lakeland


A common household pet is Dachshunds, also known as the ratter dogs. They were originally bred to hunt, and they continue to have this hunting instinct even today.

The body shape that is long and short is perfect to dig into rodents. They are not as aggressive as other types of ratter dogs. But, considering their fondness for hunting for vermin, don’t get amazed if they do kill the rat.

Disinfecting Your Dog’s Mouth After It Killed A Rat

It is essential to wash and disinfect the pet’s mouth after having killed a rodent to eliminate any harmful parasites or bacteria that may be lurking in its mouth. The earlier you clean your mouth the faster.

A side benefit: your dog won’t smell like the dead smell of a rat!

The most efficient method of disinfecting your pet’s mouth is by using an animal mouthwash. Simply mix a little of mouthwash into its water and get that it drinks up as much water as is.

If you’d like to get more thorough, soak a soft towel or toothbrush in toothpaste for dogs and go over the dog’s teeth until you can see sparkling clear. Be sure to make use of toothpaste designed for dogs, however, since human toothpaste isn’t safe for dogs to consume.

For a thorough explanation of the many methods for cleaning the dog’s mouth after having taken something unpleasant (like Poop) go to our blog here.

My Dog Killed a Rat: Avoiding Repetition

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Your dog is able to be trained. Ideally, you should start training your pet from the moment it joins your family. Hunting is a natural instinct, however, you can teach your dog to not kill rats. Instructing your dog not to pursue small objects is one method to curb this behavior.

Toys that are stuffed with toys are beneficial to aid in training. It is important to ensure that your dog is on a leash to keep it from following the prey while you’re away from your home.

Muzzles provide a good security measure, reducing the chance that your dog could be capable of killing and attacking the rat. Through proper training and socialization, the dog will be taught to live with smaller animals.

It is equally important to eliminate the rat in a proper manner, so as to ensure that your pet doesn’t come back to it and be exposed to it.

After you have put on gloves, clothing, and mask, put the rat inside an individual plastic bag, then close it securely. Then, place the bag inside a larger trash bag, and then secure it with a tie. After that, you can throw it into the outside trash bin and ensure you have the lid securely closed.

Related Article: Why Japanese Maples Are Poisonous To Dogs?


In Summary:

  • It’s actually an admirable accomplishment when your pet kills the rat. Rats can be a pest and are also well-known carriers of a range of deadly illnesses, so the fewer number you have in your house the more beneficial.
  • You should be concerned about the health of your dog after it kills rats. There is a reason for this because certain rodents’ parasites and bacteria carry are easily transferred to dogs and later on passed to you.
  • If your dog killed a rodent It’s worth a visit to the vet to ensure that it’s not infected with any dangerous illnesses such as salmonella roundworms or leptospirosis.
  • Sometimes, dogs do not show symptoms at first glance or in the ear, making it more crucial to obtain an accurate diagnosis by a vet by examination.
  • Be sure to maintain a close eye on your dog during the coming hours and months, observing for any signs like vomiting, fever and muscle weakness, weight loss and diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding.
  • If you are alert by being alert, you’ll be able to protect your dog and yourself too!

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