Dog Swallowed Baby Rabbit Whole: Understanding the Situation and Necessary Actions

Dog ate baby rabbit  

As surprising as it may sound, dogs, being natural predators, sometimes get the opportunity to catch and swallow small animals whole. One such instance is when a dog swallows a baby rabbit.

While it’s not something you expect to witness, it can pose potential health risks for your beloved pet. In this article, we’ll discuss what could happen when your dog swallows a baby rabbit whole, and the steps you should take in order to mitigate any potential harm.

Swallowing a baby rabbit whole can lead to various complications for your dog. One of the primary risks is the possibility of intestinal blockages. The bones of the rabbit could become lodged in your dog’s intestines, causing severe discomfort, pain, and even becoming life-threatening if left untreated.

Another concern for dogs who eat entire rabbits is the risk of tapeworm infection. These parasites can latch onto your dog’s intestinal walls, causing troubling symptoms and requiring prompt treatment.

Understanding the potential risks associated with dogs swallowing baby rabbits whole is important for pet owners, as it allows for quicker intervention and treatment if necessary. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into these risks, what signs and symptoms to watch out for, and the practical steps pet owners can take to help their dogs stay healthy and happy in such a situation.

The Act of Eating Rabbits by Dogs

Predatory Behaviour of Dogs

Dogs, as descendants of wolves, have innate predatory instincts. These instincts drive them to hunt, chase, and sometimes consume small animals such as rabbits. Although domesticated dogs have been tamed for generations, their ancestral hunting instincts can still be triggered by certain stimuli, such as the sight or sound of a small, fast-moving animal.

Domestic dogs may not necessarily need to hunt for survival, but they can still exhibit predatory behavior depending on factors like breed, training, and individual temperament. For some dogs, catching and consuming a rabbit may be an expression of their natural instincts.

Rabbits as Potential Prey

Rabbits are common prey animals for many predators, including dogs. They are small, fast, and often found in areas where dogs are likely to roam, such as gardens or wooded areas. Due to their size and vulnerability, rabbits can become easy targets for dogs that have the motivation and opportunity to catch them.

If a dog manages to catch and swallow a baby rabbit whole, it is essential to monitor the dog closely for any potential complications. Swallowing a whole rabbit poses risks such as gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, or diarrhea. There is a low risk of rabies transmission from a live, wild rabbit, but as long as the dog is up-to-date with vaccinations, this should not be a cause for concern.

It’s important to recognize that, although dogs have the capacity to digest bones and meat, the size and structure of a whole rabbit may make it difficult to pass through their digestive tract. In some cases, medical treatment may be required to address potential intestinal blockages or other complications.

Health Risks for Dogs

Dog ate a rabbit, what do I do?

Dogs swallowing baby rabbits whole can pose several health risks. One potential risk is intestinal blockages. As dogs can have difficulties digesting the size and structure of a whole rabbit, it might result in blockages in their intestines, leading to serious illness or even death if left untreated.

Another concern for dogs that swallow baby rabbits whole is the potential for contracting tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. Tularemia is a rare but serious bacterial infection that can affect dogs if they kill or eat an infected rabbit. Although uncommon in dogs, this infection can also spread to humans.

In addition to tularemia, it is important to recognize the highly unlikely, but still present, risk of rabies transmission. While it is very rare for rabbits to carry rabies, the possibility cannot be completely ruled out. If a dog swallows a rabid rabbit, the infection could potentially spread to the dog.

If your dog has swallowed a baby rabbit whole and appears to be fine with no symptoms after 2-3 days, it is likely that the rabbit has passed through their digestive system without causing harm.

However, if your dog shows signs of distress, pain, vomiting, or other concerning symptoms, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian for guidance and potential medical intervention. Proper attention and care can help reduce the health risks and complications that may result from your dog swallowing a baby rabbit whole.

Signals of a Swallowed Object by a Dog

When a dog swallows an object, such as a baby rabbit whole, it is essential to identify the symptoms and react accordingly. In this section, we will discuss the behavioral changes and physical symptoms that may indicate your dog has swallowed a foreign object.

Behavioral Changes

  • Distress: Dogs may show signs of distress, such as pacing, whining, or repeatedly licking their mouth after swallowing a foreign object.
  • Gagging or vomiting: Dogs might try to dislodge the swallowed object through gagging or vomiting. Monitor these actions, as excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration.
  • Loss of appetite: If your dog’s appetite suddenly decreases or they refuse to eat, they might be experiencing discomfort from an ingested object.
  • Restlessness: Ingesting a foreign object can cause a dog to be restless and unable to settle down.

Physical Symptoms

  • Choking: If your dog is choking, they might create a coughing or gagging sound, indicating that the swallowed object is obstructing their airway.
  • Abdominal pain: Your pet may show discomfort when you touch their abdomen or display an arched-back posture due to internal pain.
  • Visible outline of the animal: In some cases, you may see an outline of the swallowed object in your dog’s throat, particularly if it’s a larger or hard object.
  • Changes in stool: Your dog’s stool may contain hair, bone fragments, or other indigestible parts of the swallowed object. However, not all objects will be visible in their poop, as some may be broken down during digestion.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to contact your veterinarian for guidance. Although dogs can digest some objects, there are potential risks and complications when ingesting foreign objects, especially whole animals. Your veterinarian will be able to provide the best course of action to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being.

What to Do If Your Dog Swallowed a Baby Rabbit

In the event that your dog swallows a baby rabbit whole, it is crucial to take immediate action. The first step is to remain calm and assess the situation. Although dogs have the ability to digest bones and meat, the size and structure of a whole rabbit can pose challenges and risks in their digestive tract.

Seek Veterinary Care: Time is of the essence in this situation, so it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Veterinarians can identify and treat any potential blockages in your dog’s intestines and address any possible bacterial infections that may have occurred due to ingesting the rabbit.

Monitor Your Dog: Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior for any signs of discomfort or distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. This can indicate that your dog may be experiencing difficulties digesting the rabbit. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian for further advice.

Prevent Future Incidents: To prevent your dog from swallowing small animals in the future, consider implementing measures such as closely supervising your dog while they are outdoors, or utilizing a basket muzzle that allows them to pant and drink water, but prevents them from eating unintended objects.

Remember, prompt action is key when your dog ingests a whole baby rabbit. While it’s essential to remain calm, seeking veterinary care and closely monitoring your dog’s condition can help ensure their safety and well-being.

Possible Treatments and Medical Procedures

When a dog swallows a baby rabbit whole, it is important to act quickly and seek veterinary assistance. There are a few possible treatments and medical procedures that can help your dog, depending on the severity of the situation.

Inducing Vomiting

In some cases, a veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting as a first step. This should only be done under the guidance of a professional, as doing so improperly can cause harm to your dog. Inducing vomiting can help expel the rabbit from the dog’s stomach before it progresses through the digestive system.


An endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where a thin tube with a camera attached is inserted through the dog’s mouth and into the stomach. This allows the veterinarian to:

  • Assess the location of the rabbit
  • Determine if there are any blockages or potential problems
  • Possibly retrieve the rabbit using specialized tools attached to the endoscope

Endoscopy is generally a safe procedure, but carries some risks and may not always be successful in removing the ingested rabbit.


In situations where other treatment options have not been successful or the dog is experiencing severe complications, surgery may be necessary. Some possible scenarios that would require surgery are:

  • Blockages in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines
  • Internal injuries caused by the rabbit or its bones
  • Signs of infection, such as from tapeworms

Surgery can be a more invasive and higher-risk option, but is sometimes the most suitable treatment in order to ensure the dog’s overall well-being.

Remember, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian in order to determine the most appropriate course of action for your dog.