How Bad Is It For My Dog to Eat a Rabbit?

There’s a reason we call my rescue dog Burt “The Bone Collector.” When we walk in the woods, he easily finds bones and all kinds of animals. Most of the time he finds deer bones and carries them around on our walks. Sometimes I let him chew on them for a little while.

But this Spring a bunny rabbit decided to make her nest in my backyard. She built a nest with at least 5 baby rabbits in the raised garden bed in my backyard. I knew this was going to be bad news for the bunnies!

I immediately thought, “How bad is it if my dog eats a bunny?” It seemed like the mama rabbit was asking for trouble!

my dog at a rabbit

Health Concerns with a Dog Eating Rabbit

I supervised backyard potty breaks for Burt and Lucy for weeks to make sure the bunnies were safe. Somehow, the dogs didn’t sniff out the nest for a long time.

But as the bunnies grew, they became more active and ventured out of their nest. The raised bed gave them a semi-protected playpen to hop around in. They were so cute!

One morning after the dogs’ supervised potty break I turned my back for one minute and Burt turned the bunny nest into a breakfast buffet!

He ate one of the baby bunnies and went in for a second one! I was totally horrified because I had watched these babies grow for weeks!

I managed to get the second one out of Burt’s mouth. It was still alive but didn’t end up making it.

I felt so bad for the bunnies. But I also worried about my dog eating a live rabbit. Is that safe?

dog eating live rabbit

Seeking Veterinarian Advice

At our last vet appointment, I asked my veterinarian for her honest opinion. I told her I never encourage Burt to eat bones or little animals that he finds, but it’s nearly impossible to prevent this from happening. Of course, in an ideal world, he wouldn’t eat rabbits and other things. But since he already does, how bad is it really?

Our veterinarian advised that I always monitor Burt’s behavior after he eats a rabbit or other animal bones. If he acts lethargic, doesn’t eat or drink normally, or has abnormal poops I should contact the vet’s office.

If your dog acts abnormally after eating a live rabbit or another wild animal it’s possible they have worms or another kind of parasite. This is usually treatable with the right antibiotics.

One dangerous thing that could potentially happen is an intestinal blockage. In that case, your dog might need surgery to remove the foreign objects.

Sharing Advice with the Dog Parent Community

I recently met a woman walking her dog in the woods the other day. She shared that she found her dog eating a live baby bunny recently, too. I shared the advice from our vet and she said she felt so much better. The answers she found while searching on Google had her really stressed out and she appreciated my sharing our advice.

So, if you’re in the same situation – your dog is a little bit of a murderer – I hope this post can help you not feel so bad.

Always supervise your pets as best you can. But we have to be real and honest that sometime accidents happen.

The good news is that it’s really not that bad for your dog if they eat a live rabbit.

The Silver Lining: Benefits of Animal Fur for Dogs

In fact, animal fur can actually help your dog’s digestion! I often buy premium dog chews with the hide still intact because the hair acts as little scrub brushes going through your dog’s digestive system.

If you want to give your dog the benefits of a fur-on chew without the backyard murderingcheck out Farm Hounds! I love to buy their fur-on cow ears and boar ears. There’s also a rolled cow hide with fur on that is good for 2 or 3 chewing sessions!

Rolled Beef Hide Dog Chew

Key Takeaways if Your Dog Eats a Live Rabbit

As pet lovers, we never want harm to come to any animals, even rabbits. But I have to admit, the bunnies in my yard don’t make the best choices. Burt caught another one the other day and before I knew it he was eating it whole.

I really wish the bunnies would get the message that they shouln’t hang out in the yard where Burt “The Bone Collector” lives!

Since this situation seems to be pretty common, here are the takeaways I want to share from our experience:

  • Nature’s Call: Dogs like Burt, with their innate instincts, might sometimes go after small animals. Always do your best to supervise them, especially in areas where small animals are likely to be found.
  • Safety First: If your dog ends up eating a rabbit, monitor their behavior closely. Look out for lethargy, changes in eating or drinking habits, or abnormal poops. These could be signs of worms or other parasites.
  • Vet’s Wisdom: Always consult your veterinarian for advice on how to deal with situations like a dog eating a rabbit. They can offer the best guidance and treatment if necessary.
  • Community Sharing: Don’t hesitate to share your experiences and advice with fellow dog parents. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not alone, and your shared wisdom could help someone in a similar situation.
  • Fur Benefits: Animal fur can aid your dog’s digestion. Dog chews with the hide still intact can be a great alternative to let your dog enjoy the benefits without hunting small animals. Try Farm Hounds and use my code “tmistick” for a discount.
  • Be Realistic: Accept that dogs will be dogs, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents do happen. Keep an eye on them, keep them safe, and continue to create a loving environment for your furry friends.

Remember, the ultimate goal of my blog is to help you live your best life with your dogs. That means that both you and your dog need to be happy and healthy! I hope this post helps you stress less. Burt’s is always teaching us a lot!

Here are some more helpful blog posts:
What to put in a dog first aid kit
24 Hour and emergency vets in Pittsburgh, PA
The Best All Natural Chews for Aggressive Chewers
What to do if your dog chokes





  1. Britt Kascjak

    This is good to know! Living in the woods, there is no shortage of wildlife around here, including some bunnies that keep coming and going right up to the house. We’ve kept them safe from all 3 dogs so far – but there’s always a chance that will change!

    • Tori

      I really wish the bunnies would stay away, but they keep hanging out in my yard. I guess it’s a little bit of darwinism… I hope your dogs leave your bunnies alone! 🙂


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