In a way, dogs are like toddlers. Both eat things they aren’t supposed to eat. Dogs do have the habit of eating whatever they see in front of them. Eating a foreign object and eating an animal will have a completely different reaction.
Now, dogs can eat animals, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe for them! Now, chipmunks often appear in our backyard, so who knows when your dog may end up eating one. In this situation, there are a few steps you need to take if your dog ate a chipmunk. So, read on.
What Can You Do If Your Dog Ate a Chipmunk?
If your dog has eaten a chipmunk, then there are few things that you really need to do:
1. Command The Dog To Drop It or Leave It
If you see a chipmunk, dead or alive, in your dog’s mouth, your first step is to command them to either drop it or leave it.
Use the command ‘drop it’ or ‘leave it .’ If your dog is trained before the incident, they will drop the chipmunk. However, if your dog doesn’t know these commands, it’s better to teach them if this situation arises. The ‘leave it’ command is easy to teach using a few tricks.
2. Dispose of the Chipmunk
By the time you see the chipmunk in your dogs’ mouth, it’s probably dead. So, if you have a yard, bury the chipmunk in your yard or any clearing that you think is suitable.
Additionally, make sure that your dog doesn’t see and choose an area where it doesn’t go frequently. You need to do this so that your dog doesn’t dig it back up.
If you don’t have a yard, cover the chipmunk in two layers of a plastic garbage bag and call the vet clinic or animal control. The disposal of the chipmunk should be done quickly as they carry diseases that can be harmful to both you and your pet.
Also, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve come in contact with the chipmunk or its feces.
3. Contact a Vet Immediately
If your dog killed and ate the chipmunk, chances are the chipmunk didn’t go down without a fight. So, the dog might have bite marks and possibly got infected with ticks.
If your dog spends more time in the garden, the chances of them getting infected with ticks are more common. Hence, make sure that your dog is given preventative tick treatment as Ticks are dangerous and cause Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy
- Stiffness, discomfort, or pain
- Swelling of joints
If you suspect that your dog has Lyme disease, take them to the vet clinic. If the test turns out positive the dog will be given antibiotics and the treatment will last up to 30 days.
Another disease rodents like chipmunks carry is called leptospirosis. It is a bacterial infection that affects internal organs like the kidney and liver. Your dog would have caught it through the chipmunk’s urine especially if it urinated while dying.
Although rare, rabies is also something you should be worried about. Most rodents die before they get a chance to spread the disease but still, you should be careful.
In short, if your dog has had any contact with a chipmunk, including them eating it, then you need to take them to a vet. Your vet will give you advice on what to do next and also, to avoid any mishap from taking place.
4. Get Your Dog Checked For Roundworms
If your dog eats an already dead chipmunk, it might get food poisoning or diarrhea. These are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of appetite
Note that consumption of dead animals can infect your dog with parasites like roundworms. However, this is not something to worry about if you catch the issue quickly. All you need to do is consult your vet and let them prescribe some over-the-counter deworming drugs.
Why Do Dogs Kill Chipmunks?
As you may already know, dogs are descendants of grey wolves. Their natural instinct is predatory. So, when they see small animals they would chase them and sometimes kill them. This doesn’t make your dog aggressive. In fact, it’s just their natural instinct!
Here are some reasons why your dog might be chasing or killing chipmunks:
- Because of their natural predatory instinct
- The chasing is seen as an exercise or something fun for the dog
- Some breeds of dogs have a stronger predatory instinct, like Terriers
- Even though domesticated, some dogs still have the instinct to grab, kill, and eat
The above-mentioned reasons in no way make your dog aggressive. A dog that killed a small rodent won’t be a danger to you because you’re seen differently by the dog. A chipmunk is its prey whereas you’re its master and companion.
Can My Dog Get Sick From Killing a Chipmunk?
The short answer is yes; your dog can get sick from killing a chipmunk. Of course, it all depends on probability, but rodents like chipmunks, dead or alive, carry millions of diseases that can get dangerous to both humans and domesticated animals.
Chipmunks can cause a lot of diseases and, some of them are due to:
- Parasites like roundworm or tapeworm
- Infections like leptospirosis
- Rabies, although it is very rare
- Disease carrying insects like ticks that cause Lyme disease
Hence, your dog can get sick after killing and consuming a chipmunk. But you don’t have to panic, as most of these diseases are curable if caught on earlier.
Just try to take your dog to the vet, especially if you notice symptoms like loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Killing Chipmunks?
Dogs will eat small animals. They will hunt them and chase them because it’s in their instinct. There is only so much we can do to prevent our dogs from killing small rodents for their own safety and the rodents!
One of the most helpful ways of stopping the dog from killing the chipmunk is to teach it the ‘leave it’ command. You should train your dog to obey the command ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it.’ Here are some other methods:
1. Put The Dog on a Leash
Train your dogs to not chase them after animals by taking them for walks on a leash. Also, command them to sit or stop every time they feel like chasing something. You can also encourage your dog by bringing along treats on your walks and reward them when they listen.
2. Allow Your Dog To Chase Them
This is a counterintuitive exercise. Let’s see what you need to do:
Step 1: Remove the Leash and Let Your Dog Catch The Prey
Just try to remove the leash from your dog and allow it to chase the chipmunk but do not let the dog catch it. Now, when they are close enough to catch the prey, command the dog to stop.
Make sure your yard is filled with trees so that the chipmunks can escape. The dog will sit under the tree the chipmunk ran into, and here is when you distract it. Make sure you have the leash in your hand.
Note: Only do this if you have trees in your yard.
Step 2: Distract Your Dog
While the dog waits for the chipmunk, hide food that smells in your hand to distract the dog. Once the smell gets the attention of the dog, it will come to you. Give him the food and while it’s eating, put the leash on the dog!
Step 3: Walk Dog Back Into the House
With your dog distracted, walk a few feet away from the tree. If your dog is not sitting, command it to sit. Then, take the dog back home on its leash.
Doing these steps a few times will make the dog understand that it can control its predator-prey instincts. Lastly, reward your dog with treats every time they avoid chasing an animal.
Is Chipmunk Dangerous for Dogs?
Chipmunks aren’t really dangerous for dogs unless they carry any disease. But that doesn’t make it okay for the dog to chase them and kill them. If it becomes a habit, chipmunks will not be the only animal your dog will attack. Now, this would anger people, especially neighbors with small pets.
Apart from the behavioral problems, chipmunks also carry multiple diseases, which are not good for you or your dog.
Hence, chipmunks aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can become life-threatening if you’re not careful enough.
Conclusion: Can a Dog Eat a Chipmunk?
Dogs can eat chipmunks, but at the same time, they shouldn’t because, as we mentioned earlier, chipmunks carry multiple diseases. Moreover, allowing your dog to kill chipmunks and other small rodents will awaken its predator-prey instincts, which is not a good thing.
So, if your dog has eaten a chipmunk, it’s best to take them to a vet. This way, you can get your little furry friend checked for any diseases, like food poisoning or tick-borne ones.
Lastly, try to teach your dog not to attack any prey by following some of the valuable techniques mentioned above. We hope that this article helps you in figuring out what to do!