Is It Normal For Dogs To Chase Rabbits

While it’s uncommon for dogs to eat bunnies, doing so is part of the natural life cycle. Dogs also love to chase rabbits for fun as it enables them to release pent up energy. To prevent this, you’ll need to train your dog as a puppy to ignore bunnies or distract them by using treats and commands.

Why do dogs chase rabbits?

Bunny chasing is motivated by a strong prey drive. Many dog breeds were bred to chase bunnies and other animals that move. A prey animal’s instinctual response is to run, and dogs can’t resist but to give chase.

Dog breeds that kill rabbits

To keep your rabbit safe, avoid dog breeds that are historically bred for hunting, such as Huskies, Greyhounds, Beagles, German Shepherds, or Dachshunds. Although a few big dogs can be mild natured and friendly, such as Basset Hound or Bernese Mountain Dogs, it is best to steer clear of most of these breeds.

My dog killed a rabbit should i be concerned about rabies

You should be more concerned about rabbit fever or tularemia which will cause an extremely high fever.

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How to stop dog chasing rabbits

Keep your dog on a long line and when they look in the direction of a rabbit, before they start to run, call, “toy” and play the game in the opposite direction. Do not at this stage wait until your dog is in full flight; remember they close down senses they don’t need, like hearing, when they are chasing!

Is it illegal for my dog to kill a rabbit?

If you are giving a live rabbit to your dog to watch it kill the rabbit, yes, that is animal abuse and it is illegal, and I hope somebody reports you.

How do I stop my dog from chasing bunnies?

Keeping the same distance from the rabbit, step to a new spot, and again get the dog’s attention. Reward him and then step away from the rabbit and give the dog lots of praise. The aim is to break the link between rabbits and chasing, and instead focus on you.

Why do dogs catch rabbits?

Not all dogs have the urge to kill bunnies, but many dog breeds have a strong hunting instinct. A canine’s hunting behavior stems from its time in the wild when dogs needed to hunt and catch their prey to survive.

Will a dog harm a rabbit?

Some can, some can’t. Some dogs are very calm around rabbits, and show no prey drive whatsoever. The two animals can be friends, even curl up and nap together. But some dogs DO have an instinct to hunt and potentially hurt a rabbit.

What should I do if my dog killed a rabbit?

As always, if your dog killed a rabbit, it would be best to take it to the vet and have it checked. 

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Can my dog get sick from killing a rabbit?

In North America, tularemia cases are scattered around the continent. It is most commonly seen in the late spring and summer. Tularemia is an uncommon infection in dogs, but dogs can be exposed if they kill or eat an infected rabbit or rodent or through insect bites.

What do you do if your dog attacks a rabbit?

If you come across a cottontail caught by a dog or a cat, especially if there is the appearance of injury, the rabbit should be taken immediately to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Should I worry if my dog kills a rabbit?

If your dog kills a baby rabbit, it’s because its hunting instinct is strong and it’s merely giving in to its natural behavior. While unpleasant and relatively uncommon in pets, it’s quite normal for dogs to eat baby rabbits.

How do I train my dog not to chase animals?

How to Tame Prey Drive in a Dog

  1. Keep Them Safe and Secure. 
  2. Do the Behavioral Work. 
  3. Exercise 1: Encourage Eye Contact. 
  4. Teach Your Dog “Watch Me” 
  5. Teach “Check-In” to Tame Prey Drive in a Dog. 
  6. Exercise 2: Drop Down. 
  7. Exercise 3: Come Away. 
  8. Handling Emergencies.

How do dogs kill rabbits?

Many dogs will kill both wild and pet rabbits if they get the chance to, especially if the dog in question has a high prey drive.

Can a rabbit survive a dog attack?

As small, fast animals, most bunnies can escape a dog’s clutches. But not all dogs will kill the bunny it manages to catch.

Can rabbits get sick from dogs

Tularemia is an uncommon infection in dogs, but dogs can be exposed if they kill or eat an infected rabbit or rodent or through insect bites.

What should I do if my dog finds a baby rabbit?

Recreate the nest as best you can, in the exact same spot it was originally in. Use any remaining nesting material. If you need extra you can use some dried grass. Tuck the babies back in the nest and make sure they are covered up with nesting material.

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Can a dog get a rabbit pregnant?

Dog-rabbit hybrids are very rarely reported. Indeed, there seems to be but a single, brief notice on record, and even that single alleged hybrid died soon after birth. Such a cross would, of course, be extremely distant and no picture was provided. So this cross is poorly documented indeed.

How do rabbits bond with dogs?

Domestic rabbits and dogs can live together. However, this requires bonding the two animals through consistent exposure in a safe environment. This will train your canine to resist its hunting instincts when around the rabbit. If possible, you should also choose a dog with a low prey drive.

Are bunnies territorial with dogs?

Rabbits are very territorial animals, so if they feel the dog is encroaching on their home territory, they might attack. Rabbits can also lash out and scratch or bite if they are afraid. If the rabbit feels cornered by the dog, even if the dog is just being curious, the rabbit might attack.